Interprovincial hurling glory for Munster

“]Munster captain John Mullane lifts the M Donnelly Interprovincial Hurling Cup at Croke Park last Saturday.       [Sportsfile]

There was mixed fortunes for Munster teams in last Saturday’s Interprovincial series played under lights at Croke Park, the footballers failing to arrest a losing trend now stretching back to 1999, when they had to give best to Ulster, who in the process picked up their 28th title win on a final score line of 1-12 to 1-8. There was atonement forthcoming in the Hurling decider which followed, when the Southern representatives chalked up a 45th outright victory for their province, by marginally getting the better of a Galway dominated Connacht outfit on a score line of 2-22 to 2-19. Both games played before an attendance in excess of 10,000 , justified the return of the games in question to Headquarters, but at what must be seen as an exorbitant all round cost. Both contests clearly demonstrated the value placed on the competitions by the players involved – each proved competitive, entertaining and considerably enjoyed by all those privileged to be present.

The Football Final in which a widespread Ulster combination, came good in the closing stages to carve out a deserved four points victory, saw one Waterford player Thomas O’Gorman line out along with the fourteen colleagues drawn exclusively from Cork and Kerry to form the starting Munster fifteen but Ballinacourty’s Gary Hurney who starred for the province last season, did come in as a second half replacement for Kerry’s Eoin Brosnan, Somewhat surprisingly, and inexplicably the Nire man was called ashore before the break, in order to make way for a player who was scheduled to start, but due to a transport hiccup was late in getting to Croker.

The Hurling trophy was regained by Munster after a high scoring encounter with Connacht. The winners got off to a terrific start when Dan Shanahan set up team captain John Mullane for a cracking second minute goal. During a free flowing encounter, there was never more than a couple of points separating the teams at any stage, with equality existing on three separate occasions. The Decies Eoin Kelly proved to be Munster’s top scorers ,with ten excellent points to his credit, to add to the goal and ten recorded against Leinster in the semi final. John Mullane helped himself to a goal and two points and had the distinction of raising the famous trophy high after the final whistle, when the presentation was made by G.A.A. President Nicky Brennan. Other Waterford players to share in this 80th Interprovincial Final win, included Tony Browne, Eoin Murphy and Dan Shanahan.

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