21 Jan 2022

Opinion: Not a ticket to be got for the All-Ireland hurling final - Jerome O'Connell

Donegal to put Croke Park motion again after groundswell of support this week

Croke Park Stadium in Dublin

NOT in our wildest dreams could we ever have imagined a world where Limerick would play in the All-Ireland senior hurling championship final in an empty stadium.

There isn’t much very normal about this 2020 All-Ireland SHC final but one similarity is that there isn’t a ticket to be got!

For all that is absent, the 2020 championship will never be forgotten – akin to Kerry v Cavan in the Polo Grounds in New York in the 1947 All-Ireland SFC Final or Cork v Offaly in Semple Stadium in Thurles in the 1984 All-Ireland SHC Final.

What a special All-Ireland title this will be to have on a roll of honour.

For all that will be different about All-Ireland Final Day 2020, the record books will still determine Limerick or Waterford the champions.

There won’t be any Artane Band parade, no greeting with the President Michael D Higgins on the red carpet in front of the Hogan Stand – the only razzmatazz will take place between the white lines once referee Fergal Horgan throws in the sliothar at 3.30.

And, what a cracker it promises to be – the third meeting of Limerick and Waterford this season. Both previous ties won by four points by Limerick.

John Kiey’s side arrive into Croke Park on a 12-game winning streak that has already seen the Munster League, National League and Munster SHC honours returned to Limerick.

The record books get patchy as the years pass-by but it appears to be Tipperary in 1961 since the last unbeaten run to win League and Championship. The Oireachtas Cup was the third competition in that era but Tipp’s winning run didn’t extend here.

Without doubt Limerick are the standard-bearers across the last three seasons and for me there is no question they are the better team in this final but one more almighty performance will be needed on to deny a Waterford side growing in stature with every outing.

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