There is something special about the club championships.
Seeing the best club sides from around the country take each other on on a national stage makes for a brilliant spectacle. Of course, it always helps to have a few top class inter-county players on your side.
Tipperary hurling champions Loughmore-Castleiney are a prime example. They are blessed with some wonderful players, with their contingent of McGraths chief amongst them.
They would take on Waterford's Ballygunner this afternoon in the Munster semi-final, hoping to reach the final in the competition for the first time since 2007.
Ballygunner would have the better of the play in the opening period, with Loughmore-Castleiney's task made all the more difficult by a controversial refereeing decision.
Noel McGrath was given his marching orders for barging an opposition player off the ball. It seemed a very harsh call, even more so when you consider the Tipp man was retaliating to having been hit with a shoulder first.
— D O'Ceallaigh (@Doceallaigh85) December 12, 2021
It was a big decision that was always going to have a major impact on the remainder of the contest.
There was a general consensus among those watching the game that McGrath had been very hard done by.
No bias here…that is a joke of a decision on Noel McGrath there. Anyone who thinks otherwise shouldn’t play or watch hurling @AIB_GAA
— Shane McGrath (@Shaneytweet) December 12, 2021
Joke of a red card for Noel McGrath. Yellow at most.
— Shane Brophy (@BrophShane) December 12, 2021
Standard of referees has to looked a big time from the Gaa. Outrageous decision from the ref to send off Noel McGrath. This is the very reason refs are needing escorts off the field because of these insane decisions
— Aidan Tallis (@AidanTallis) December 12, 2021
Absolutely disgraceful decision to send Noel McGrath off, clearly gets done off the ball first, shoulders him back and your man makes a meal of it, linesman completely carried away with himself #catrefereeing
— Nicky potterton (@NickyPotterton) December 12, 2021
Is it time for var in these top club/county games where there is access to replays, just for sending off decisions would be a start, Noel McGrath sent off for absolutely nothing from a linesman who obviously doesn’t no the game 🤡
— Des mythen (@desmythen) December 12, 2021
Horrendous call from the ref against Noel McGrath there
— Sarah O'Dwyer (@SarahODwyer1) December 12, 2021
Jake is clearly watching the Loughmore-Castleiney game, and Noel McGrath's sending off.
A disgrace is right Jake. https://t.co/zWsUT884vt
— Lee Costello (@sitelee) December 12, 2021
Noel's younger brother John would also be sent off in the final ten minutes after picking up two yellow cards.
Loughmore-Castleiney would put up a spirited fight over the remainder of the game, but they just couldn't keep pace with the opposition and would eventually to a 2-11 to 0-12 defeat.
While there is no guarantee that they would have won against a very good Ballygunner team even with 15 men, the task was a lot more difficult after this call.
A tough way to go out.