Curtain set to come down on another spectacular hurling finale in Ireland

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Sunday is a special day in the Irish sporting calendar.

The All-Ireland Hurling Final is one of two national finals held in Ireland, with the Gaelic showpiece taking place in two weeks time which will attract another 82,300 sell-out crowd at Croke Park.

To the uninitiated eye, hurling is a 15-a-side game played with a stick called a hurl and a ball called a sliotar.

It is similar to Lacrosse with the main objective being to hit the ball over the opponents’ crossbar for one point, or under the crossbar into the net for one goal, which is the equivalent of three points.

The Gaelic Games – an amateur sport where players play for the love of the game – may not have the showbiz status or riches of other sports, but it is a fundamental expression of Irish identity.

It captivates summers in Ireland, milks all the limelight in the national press and is the main topic of conversation for many people in their day-to-day life.

For anyone unknown to this magical game, this year’s hurling championship has been the greatest of all time with many of the matches close affairs and little separating the top seven teams.

Gaelic Games is paramount to the Irish people’s way of life and captures the imagination, like art for the Italians and cuisine for the French.

The men or warriors who play the game have normal day jobs and train four nights a week for free. It’s not a sacrifice for any of them, they do it because they love the game and the ultimate ambition is to one day lift the Liam McCarthy Cup – the trophy awarded to the winners of the hurling championship.

And after nine months of gruelling training preparing for that one sunny day in mid-August, the season boils down to 70 minutes in the sporting cathedral which is Croke Park.

Galway will be bidding to win back-to-back titles for the first time since 1988 when they face a young Limerick side, who have not tasted national success since 1973.

Limerick – the home base of Munster Rugby and a city with a population of 195,175 – boast a team with an average age of 23.4, nine of whom were starters in the All-Ireland U-21 winning side of 2017.

These Limerick youngsters may be born to win, but their opponents go into the game as firm favourites as they bid to win their sixth title. And, at times this term, Galway have played frightening hurling, winning most of their seven matches with ease to advance to another through to the final.

What makes them special is Joe Canning. The reigning Player of the Year has been at the heart of the Tribesmen’s exploits for over a decade and has been the tipping point to their success in recent years. The 29-year-old is your Tom Brady or LeBron James figure and shows a real physical presence, neat distribution and keeps the scoreboard ticking with every opportunity.

In full-back Daithi Burke and wing-back Padraic Mannion, they boast two tigerish defenders who have been among the stand-out players in the competition this season – and both of whom are front-runners to win the Player of the Year award.

And if there are points going for dedication then the defending champions will prevail in spades. Their full-forward Johnny Glynn – a quantity surveyor by trade – has been making the 6,000-mile round trip from New York to Ireland on a weekly basis to be part of the set-up. Even though tired legs and insufficient rest from the travelling may affect some, the 25-year-old has been integral to Galway’s run to the decider.

Although Galway may have the experience of winning a final with much of the same panel from last year, Limerick have not won a senior championship in 45 years.

In fact, the Treaty County’s last final appearance was 2007 when they were blown away by a Kilkenny side – considered to be one of the greatest of all time. But with a young squad at coach John Kiely’s disposal, the fearlessness of youth and a confidence of a consistent season could get them over the line.

Their star man Aaron Gillane is just 22 years old and posted 13 points in the semi-final win over Cork. If the Patrickswell man can catch fire, then it could be a difficult day for Galway.

So, Sunday marks the final day of the hurling season and sadly one of the most fascinating sports in Irish culture rides off into the sunset until the league resumes in February.

Whether you’re an Irish person working abroad in Dubai, Melbourne, Boston or anywhere around the world, the GAA finals always prove an important day and provide a real attachment to home.

The final is set up to be the game of the season, but with experience, Galway remains heavy favourites to continue their domination.

Most popular

Related Sections

Daily Digest: Julian Draxler linked with PSG exit

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Good Morning!

David Cooper here with our key sports headlines on Friday.

As ever, get in touch with us via Twitter and Facebook throughout the day.

TOP STORY

Bayern Munich bound? Julian Draxler.

Set to depart Parc des Princes? Julian Draxler.

Julian Draxler could leave Paris Saint-Germain by the end of the month, according to Le10Sport.

We’ll be bringing you transfer news throughout the day, here.

FOOTBALL

Big ambition: Man City right-back Kyle Walker.

Big ambition: Man City right-back Kyle Walker.

Kyle Walker has warned the Premier League that Manchester City are determined to “dominate English football” for years to come.

Read more in our football section.

CRICKET

Stokes had been cleared by the ECB to take part in the third Test.

Stokes is expected to play in the third Test.

India coach Ravi Shastri sees no reason why Ben Stokes should miss the third Test starting on Saturday – and he wants his team to play against him.

Shastri insists India want to test themselves against the “top cricketers”, a category which of course includes Stokes.

Head to our cricket section for the latest news.

REGIONAL

Mohammad Naveed is set to play in Nepal's Everest Premier League

Mohammad Naveed is set to play in Nepal’s Everest Premier League.

UAE’s Mohammad Naveed is close to signing a deal to play in Nepal’s T20 Everest Premier League later this year.

Read Denzil Pinto’s story, here.

SOCIAL MEDIA ROUND-UP

Head to our Instagram page to see our latest graphics!

#OnThisDay in 2003… the @cristiano and @manchesterunited era began! 🙌

A post shared by Sport360 (@sport360) on

WHAT’S ON

Live Tennis: Cincinnati (from 9pm)

Most popular

Related Sections

Daily Digest: Diego Costa nets brace as Atletico Madrid claim Super Cup title

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Hey everyone, David Cooper here giving you a bitesize look at what’s going on today in the world of sport.

TOP STORY

Antoine Griezmann insists Atletico Madrid winning the Super Cup justifies his decision to extend his stay at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.

The 27-year-old was a key target for La Liga champions Barcelona, but announced he would stay at Atletico during the World Cup.

Diego Costa’s superb brace and goals in extra time from Saul Niguez and Koke saw Los Rojiblancos overcome their Madrid rivals.

Read our talking points, player focus and ratings from the game last night.

FOOTBALL

Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne could face a spell on the sidelines after injuring his right knee in training, the Premier League champions revealed yesterday.

The 27-year-old is undergoing tests to assess the seriousness of the injury.

In other news, Lionel Messi says Barcelona will “do everything possible” to win the Champions Leaguefor the first time since 2015.

Arch-rivals Real Madrid have won the trophy in each of the three years since, an unprecedented streak that has rankled at the Nou Camp even though the Catalans won La Liga in two of those three seasons.

CRICKET

Skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri led the proceedings as the Indian cricket team celebrated the country’s Independence Day in London last night.

The team is currently locked in a battle with England in the five-match series and are preparing for the third Test at Trent Bridge which gets underway on Saturday.

As India celebrated its 72nd Independence Day, Kohli and Shastri unfurled the tricolour at the Taj London.

FEATURE OF THE DAY 

Sport360’s Fantasy Premier League coach Brendon Netto thinks you should captain Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah – and brings you more FPL tips ahead of gameweek two.

SOCIAL MEDIA ROUND-UP

Most popular

Related Sections