The Premier County can boast of hurling’s premier team once more – and deservedly so.
Defying the critics who overwhelmingly gave Kilkenny the nod in the build-up to last Sunday’s final, Tipperary saw what the Cats had to offer and raised it every single time. That’s how winning is done.
The manner in which Liam Sheedy’s team claimed Liam MacCarthy is what makes this 26th All-Ireland title arguably the sweetest in the county’s distinguished history.
Time and time again, as Kilkenny resiliently refused to capitulate, Tipperary, spearheaded by Padraic Maher, Brendan Maher, Declan Fanning, Eoin Kelly and the outstanding Lar Corbett, dug deep and found an answer.
Unlike last year, when Tipperary were rendered incapable of lifting themselves during Kilkenny’s late and decisive rally, there was little danger of the challengers folding on this occasion.
That they won by combining the modern game’s physical intensity with splendid stick work and a positive-minded approach should send a marker out to hurling’s small pack of contenders.
You don’t win Championships by devoting one’s focus to near exclusive levels of preventing the opposition from playing, thus stymieing many of your players’ natural instincts.
And, as Tipperary demonstrated last Sunday, when a manager gives his attackers carte blanche to do what they do best – attack – your chances of success improve exponentially.
That they hit 3-7 of their 4-17 in the second half was the key to victory, all the more so when one considers their costly failure to raise a green flag last year despite landing 22 points.
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