You have to go back to the 1996 All Ireland final where none of hurling’s top three Kilkenny, Cork or Tipperary competed in the last two of the Liam McCarthy. Wexford and Limerick were the teams that day and twenty one years later it’s Galway and Waterford that will battle it out.
No two counties have felt as much heartbreak as these two over the last 20 years. The great Tony Keady in 1988 was the last man to lift the Liam McCarthy for The Tribesmen who beat Tipperary to claim a historic back to back win of All Ireland titles.
Since then the men in Maroon have contested 6 All Ireland finals and ended up on the losing side each time.
The Déise have to go further back to when they last won hurling’s biggest prize when they beat their neighbours Kilkenny in the 1959 replay.
For Waterford getting over the semi final stage has proved to be their biggest struggle with only two further appearances in the final made. Defeat was to Kilkenny on both of those occasions (1963 and 2008).
The last few years this Galway side have been real challengers for the All Ireland competing with Kilkenny and Tipperary and will feel now after past misses that this team is ready to achieve what they desire.
In 1998 Waterford were only a puck of a ball away from an All Ireland final and would go on to be a side tipped by many as the dark horses for the proceeding championships over the next 10 years but each year they would fail in their quest for Liam. After the 2008 All Ireland hurling final defeat there was a transition period in the county which took time but in 2014 Derek McGrath came in with a lot of young talent coming through the ranks and while it wasn’t the greatest year for The Déise lessons were learned and in 2015 this side showed development and have improved every since.
Hurling has been dominated by Kilkenny during the Brian Cody era with only Cork 3 times, Tipperary 3 times and the one year by Clare (2013) breaking the mould so it is very refreshing to see two new teams fight it out and it is very much a final all neutrals will look forward to.
Shannonside reporter Daithí Boland caught up with former Galway hurler Ollie Canning to look ahead to Sunday’s game and began by asking the four time All Star about what the build up around Galway is like
“There’s a great buzz in fairness, the colour is up in the city itself and indeed around the towns and villages”
The week leading up to an All Ireland final is very special especially for players and management and Ollie looked back on the times when he was preparing for that first Sunday in September
“I enjoyed the build up to the games the and the game itself as well as the day”
“It’s different and you have a couple of different factors like getting to the pitch, the dressing room the little bit earlier than normal”
“The week leading up to a game your full focus is on the training schedules you have and meeting up a couple of times that week with the team”
“But you do have to make sure your rest, hydration all the preparation has to be perfect coming up to the game”
It is very much a game everyone in the country is looking forward to and for one of these counties the goal of winning the biggest prize in the game will be achieved while for the loser it will be heartbreak.
To hear the full interview with Ollie and listen to where he thinks the game will be won and lost you can click on the audio below
2017 Hurling Championship Results:
2-28 – 1-17 Dublin, Leinster Quarter Final
0-33 – 1-11 Offaly, Leinster Semi Final
0-29 – 1-17 Wexford, Leinster Final
0-22 – 1-18 Tipperary, All Ireland Semi Final
1-15 – 0-23 Cork, Munster Semi Final
1-35 – 0-14 Offaly, All Ireland Qualifier R1
4-23 – 2-22 Kilkenny, All Ireland Qualifier R2
1-23 – 1-19 Wexford, All Ireland Quarter Final
4-19 – 0-20 Cork, All Ireland Semi Final
Joe Canning 0-37
Conor Cooney 1-14
Conor Whelan 0-16
Pauric Mahony 0-28
Jamie Barron 3-09
Austin Gleeson 1-12
Last 3 Championship meetings:
2011 All Ireland Quarter Final: Wat 2-23 – 2-13 Gal
2009 All Ireland Quarter Final: Wat 1-16 – 0-18 Gal
2006 All Ireland Qualifier: Wat 1-25 – 2-20 Gal
2017 Allianz league meeting:
Allianz HL Division 1 quarter-final
At Pearse Stadium
Galway – C Callanan; J Hanbury, Daithi Burke, A Harte (0-2); P Mannion (0-1), G McInerney, P Killeen; A Tuohy, J Coen; J Cooney, J Canning (1-10), David Burke (0-1); C Whelan (0-3), C Cooney (1-0), C Mannion (0-2). Subs: T Monaghan (0-1) for J Hanbury, N Burke (0-2) for J Cooney, S Maloney for C Cooney.
Waterford – I O’Regan; K Bennett, S McNulty, S Fives; C Gleeson, T De Burca, S Keating (0-1); K Moran (0-2), M O’Brien (0-1); Stephen Bennett (0-1), S Roche (0-3), DJ Foran (0-2); T Ryan (0-2), M Shanahan (0-6), T Devine (2-1). Subs: Shane Bennett for DJ Foran, N Connors for S Keating, M Walsh for M O’Brien, B O’Halloran for T Ryan, P Mahony for S Roche.
Last time either team competed in the All Ireland Final:
All-Ireland SHC final
Kilkenny – E Murphy; P Murphy, J Holden, S Prendergast; P Walsh (0-1), K Joyce, C Buckley; M Fennelly (0-2), C Fogarty (0-1); W Walsh (0-2), R Hogan (0-2), TJ Reid (1-7); G Aylward (0-3), C Fennelly (0-2), E Larkin (0-2). Subs: R Power for R Hogan, J Power for G Aylward.
Galway – C Callanan; J Coen, J Hanbury, P Mannion; A Harte, I Tannian, Daithi Burke; A Smith, David Burke (0-1); C Whelan (0-2), C Donnellan (0-1), J Glynn; J Flynn (0-4), J Canning (1-8), C Mannion. Subs: D Collins (0-2) for A Harte, C Cooney for A Smith, G Lally for C Donnellan, S Moloney for J Flynn.
Referee – J Owens.
All-Ireland SHC Final
Kilkenny – PJ Ryan; M Kavanagh, N Hickey, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan, JJ Delaney; J Fitzpatrick (0-2), D Lyng (0-3); M Comerford, R Power (0-2), E Larkin (1-4); E Brennan (2-4), H Shefflin (0-8, 5f, 0-1 ’65’), A Fogarty (0-3). Subs – TJ Reid (0-4) for Comerford (43 inj); J McGarry for Ryan (61).
Waterford – C Hennessy; E Murphy, K McGrath, D Prendergast; A Kearney, T Browne, K Moran; M Walsh, J Nagle; D Shanahan, S Prendergast, S Molumphy; E McGrath , E Kelly (1-9, 9f), J Mullane (0-3). Subs – J Kennedy for S Prendergast (HT); S O’Sullivan for Nagle (HT); P Flynn for E McGrath (52); T Feeney for D Prendergast (64); D Bennett (0-1) for Shanahan (64).
Referee – Barry Kelly (Westmeath).