The breathless finish to the Joe McDonagh Cup that could potentially drag Tipp into the quagmire
There was a breathless finish to the Joe McDonagh Cup group stages on Saturday afternoon and, after all that, it is the hurling folk of Kerry who are exhaling deep and well-deserved sighs of relief. There's guaranteed to be a bit of excitement in there too.
That's because, after a mathematical, permutation-filled, three-way-race of a Saturday, it was Kerry who beat off the challenges of Offaly and Carlow to make it through to the Joe McDonagh Cup final on Saturday June 4. That will be a repeat of the 2020 final, it will be a re-match against the team they beat today to secure their spot there.
Joe McDonagh Cup final, Kerry v Antrim, Saturday June 4.
There was little riding on the game for Antrim, given that their place in the final was already secure, but everything was riding on it for Kerry. And that's why, having made the long journey up to Corrigan Park, having had other results go their way, this was one brilliant afternoon for Stephen Molumphy's team.
As well as beating Antrim, they also needed Carlow to get a result against Offaly and, with Chris Nolan on fire in Tullamore - he scored seven incredible points from play, Carlow obliged with a 0-22 to 0-17 win over the Faithful. That knocked Offaly out of contention but then, in a heart-breaking twist for Tom Mullally's team, Kerry held onto beat Antrim by 0-29 to 2-21 and that was enough for them.
It was Kerry's score difference of +42 that got them there, their 15 point win against Carlow earlier on in the competition standing them in good stead.
What a breathless finish to the Joe McDonagh Cup group stages. In the end, Kerry will face Antrim in the final on June 4. The Kingdom won by two points in Corrigan Park today, and beat Offaly and Carlow to the final on score difference
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) May 21, 2022
And as if that's not enough drama, here's where it gets even more interesting.
Kerry's qualification for the final now drags the likes of Tipperary into the quagmire because, if Kerry are to beat Antrim in the Joe McDonagh cup final, then the team that finishes last in Munster will have to play them to earn their place in the Munster championship for 2023. Tipp have zero points in that table as things stand and, barring a seven point win over Cork on Sunday, they will more than likely finish rock bottom.
In that instance, Westmeath and Laois would be safe in Leinster, regardless of how their game goes tonight.
The drama, the drama!
Kerry progressing to the MacDonagh Cup final means if Tipp fail to beat Cork tomorrow, they'll have to train on in case Kerry win the MacDonagh as then there'll be a relegation playoff, possibly a month away as Kerry are guaranteed an All Ireland Preliminary quarter final
— Shane Brophy (@BrophShane) May 21, 2022