Three moments from Semple Stadium proved that hurling is the most skilful game on earth
Where else would you get anything like it?
It's hard to think of anywhere.
Semple Stadium on the last day in March.
Eventually the lights were required to ensure players' vision wasn't compromised. It's tempting enough, however, to believe that the skill on show from 5.00 all the way up to 9.30 would have lit the place up anyway.
Anyone who arrived to the Thurles grounds in time for the Croke Cup final between the famed hurling nursery of St Kieran's College and Presentation College Athenry, and stayed on for the League semi-final will have no hesitancy in agreeing.
With just ten minutes left in a typically topsy turvy school game, the Galway college were ten points behind and looked dead and buried. Three smashing goals and ten minutes later and they were preparing for extra-time. Swings and roundabouts. Drama aplenty.
St. Kieran's, inspired by their effervescent duo of Ireland underage soccer star Ciaran Brennan and Ballyhale Shamrocks' Adrian Mullen, who was operating on a different level to everyone else on the field, kicked on to win by nine.
— Michael Fennelly (@MFennellyKK) April 1, 2018
22 Croke Cup wins for them now. There's something in the water down there, where each student's hurls are blessed by the local priest at the start of each academic year. Go figure.
The men of Tipperary and Limerick had a lot to live up to after that. We didn't doubt them for a second.
They started off at 7.25 and they stayed going until 9.30 64 scores were registered in that period. Some cynics in the crowd gave out about the loose hurling, but when the game is so fast and so skilful, holes are bound to appear.
Some of the skills displayed by both sides during the 80 minutes of hurling were from a different world altogether.
Barry Nash showed he has eyes on the back of his head and a pair of Rolex wrists to boot when he set up Diarmuid Byrnes in that first period of extra-time for the second most delightful score of the night.
Video Credit: TG4.
Cian Lynch's pick up defied everything we've ever believed. The Patrickswell man has the best first touch of any hurler in the country. He will control anything that comes to within reaching distance of his arm and 30 something inch hurl.
Video Credit: TG4.
Ronan Maher's sideline was the most beautiful ten seconds this writer has ever witnessed.
Second of Ronan Maher's sideline scores at tonight's great clash between Tipp & Limerick in #AllianzLeagues semi. Great win for Tipp and a great display by @ronmaher95 @podzo21 and all the team. Congrats! @paulcollinstipp @TippFMSport @NenaghGuardian pic.twitter.com/GFm95sK0Rp
— Sporting Tipp (@sportingtipp) March 31, 2018
It was a feast of hurling. It was a demonstration of everything brilliant about this great game. Many spectators leaving commented on how they got their money's worth.
We got way more than that.