"Worst day of my life in a Tipp jersey" - Shane McGrath and Tommy Walsh relive the rivalry


Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

18.27 13 Aug 2019


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As Kilkenny and Tipperary prepare for the All-Ireland hurling final, their match-up brought to mind their rivalry from the late 2000s and early 2010s.

The two counties met regularly in finals and tonight, two protagonists of the era joined us to reminisce.

So, Tipp's 2010 All-Ireland winner Shane McGrath and Kilkenny nine-time champion Tommy Walsh teamed up to look back.

McGrath did touch on one painful memory from that rivalry. It was Nowlan Park in 2013.

"Worst day of my life in a Tipp jersey and not just because we lost," he said.

Ballinahinch

"I'll tell you why. I'm from Ballinahinch, a small place and I was captain of Tipperary that day. Ballinahinch might never have another captain of Tipperary and that's with all due respect to every hurler from Ballinahinch.

"I had the honour of being captain and I just let everything get to me, to be honest. I let the pressure get to me and got taken off at half-time.

"And I just felt so bad in the second half looking on. As Tommy [Walsh] said, Lar [Corbett] was our go-to man that day and when the hamstring went on him that day, you see the shoulders nearly drop.

"'Oh no, Larry's gone'. He was just going so well. I never experienced an atmosphere like it in a ground like Nowlan Park. It was just unbelievable. Even when they were calling out the panel to say that Fennelly and Shefflin were going to be involved, the roar that went up. It was just unbelievable.

"So it was obviously disappointing for me from a personal level and for ourselves. It was a very tough few weeks after it."

McGrath detailed what may have impacted him at the start of that game that he couldn't get into.

"It was probably a mental block. I'm a bit older now and I can look back and say that's what it was. Mentally I wasn't right for the game and I put way too much pressure on myself as captain," he explained.

"The captaincy thing just didn't suit me. But I came back the following year then and hurled really, really well and got an All-Star. On a personal level, I was delighted with that. It was a bit of redemption because I can tell ye, if you don't hurl well as captain of Tipperary or Kilkenny, you have to take a lot of slack personally."

You can watch the full Tipp-Kilkenny rivalry chat and preview above via YouTube.


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All-ireland Hurling Kilkenny Off The Ball Shane McGrath Tipperary Tommy Walsh

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