Unfinished business

Published Sunday, 04 September 2011
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A wounded cat is a very dangerous animal. This time last year Kilkenny went in as over-whelming favourites attempting to win an unprecedented five in a row All-Ireland titles.

Huge pressure, and with no King Henry to pull the strings, the bubble eventually burst.

A goal scoring blitz from Lar Corbett shattered the dream that day, and Tipp had eight points to spare. Tipperary were a hungry young team, well prepared by the astute Liam Sheedy.

In the lead up to this game, I got the feeling that this great Kilkenny side still had some unfinished business to take care of.

A rerun of last year's decider, the script couldn't have been written any better for them. The bookies had them 6/4 outsiders.

A team littered with All-Ireland winners, some going for their eighth title, but all of them seeking redemption for last year's collapse.

Ironically you wouldn't have got even money on Kilkenny winning the All-Ireland at the beginning of last year, yet after their National League defeat to Dublin this year, they were being offered 3/1 in some places to win the Liam McCarthy.

The underdog card suited them so well.

For a team who have been fed on a diet of winning All-Irelands to go in as outsiders was the ideal scenario. After the disappointing football spectacle between Dublin and Donegal last week, this really was heart warming stuff.

The honesty, the intensity and the skill levels were all in the supreme category. Richie Power's goal was an act of genius.

Have you ever noticed the way hurling people seem to use the word savage a lot? Well this was one savage game, with no quarter asked and none given.

Tommy Walsh produced a man of the match performance that would have derived admiration from even the most lukewarm of hurly fans. In fact, he was that good, he even managed to split open the referee with his hurl and get away with it!

And of course Henry Shefflin articulated exactly what the cats missed in last year's decider. On the full time whistle Brian Cody certainly looked like the cat that had got the cream.

And who could blame him? Eight All-Ireland titles in eleven years, he will be purring for quite some time.

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Kevin Madden
Kevin Madden

GAA expert Kevin Madden was one of Antrim's star footballers until his career was cruelly cut short by illness in 2006 when he was just 29.

Since then he has enjoyed a successful career in management.

He was number two to Derry manager Damian Cassidy in 2009 and 2010.

Before that he acted as assistant to former Antrim manager Liam Bradley with Glenullin.

Kevin, who is from Portglenone, now manages another Derry club side The Loup.

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