Last week saw order restored to the hurling universe. A Tipperary team liberally besprinkled with Mahers came back from a shaky start to outclass the old enemy Cork. The beauty of Minor hurling is that the players are given time and space to demonstrate their skills, whereas in the Senior game has grown increasingly fast, frenetic and physical - tender blooms and fragile talents do not prosper. Whether this Tipp team will grow into the Senior team we pray for is moot but there are certainly grounds for optimism. Tipp dominated in mid-field through Brendan Maher and McGrath and Carey scored two marvellous goals - the second one kicked in with aplomb as defenders closed in on him. This team are managed by the great Declan Ryan from Clonoulty - just down the road from Ardmayle don't you know. Let's groom him for the Senior job and let him bring along this crop with him.
The Senior final started with an incident that demonstrated Kilkenny's intent. The first time Eddie Brennan got the ball he was tackled by Stephen Lucey - as Lucey grappled with him from behind, Brennan delivered the butt of his hurley sharply into his face, going through the helmet. Lucey collapses with blood pouring from a face wound. Kilkenny judged that Limerick would get physical on them and so decided to get their retaliation in first. It was obvious that on skill alone Kilkenny would prevail, but they also made sure they weren't bullied physically. Even the peerless Henry Sheflin got in on the act. Everyone felt that Limerick's hunger might prove decisive. The Kilkenny camp came up with their own motivational juice - the death of James McGarry's wife. They were obviously told to go out and win it for her. Forgive me for being cynical, but I found all this a bit sick and all the guff about it during the speeches a bit hard to take. I felt particularly sorry for James McGarry who was no longer on the team but nonetheless found himself and his misfortunate son pushed to the forefront of the celebrations.