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How Tipp Dealt With Weight Of History In Munster Final

How Tipp Dealt With Weight Of History In Munster Final

Going into last month's Munster final against Cork, more weighed on the shoulders of the Tipperary footballers than it being a great chance to end an 85-year wait for a provincial title.

They also had the weight of history on them with the game taking place 100 years since Bloody Sunday, the day on which 14 people were killed at Croke Park by British military forces during a match between Tipp and Dublin.

To mark the day, Tipperary donned a special jersey, a replica of that worn by the county on November 21st, 1920. The green and white colours were those of the Grangemockler club, the Tipp champions at the time. On the shoulder was the image of Michael Hogan, a Tipperary man who was the only player to die on Bloody Sunday.

"We were wearing the jerseys for internal training matches since the previous week," explained Tipp footballer Brian Fox.

"We had that flagged. We knew what the jerseys would look like. Sometimes you can get built up into the occasion. We did deal with it early on.

"I watched the Bloodied Field [documentary] on the Monday night [on RTÉ] and I also watched the commemoration service on the Saturday. I was really taken aback.

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"I learned a lot on the Monday night from The Bloodied Field, about the history of each individual person and what happened. I had a fair knowledge of it already but it was definitely more in-depth. I must say a huge well done to Mick Foley on that.

"It definitely on my mind during the week, what I was representing on the Sunday and how you didn't want to let anyone down on that really special weekend for the GAA and Tipp football."

Tipperary coach Paddy Christie disclosed there were some minor worries about how the occasion could affect the team.

"In hindsight it was great and it was so befitting of the occasion and the weekend that was in it," said Christie at the launch of AIB's 'The Toughest Season' photobook.

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"But at the time, you would have heard people saying 'I don't know about this'.

"We were after getting to a final, and then you had this sort of distraction. In training during the week, we said it was important to respect the occasion that it was, and the time that it was, and we had to look beyond the Munster final. This was such an important part of the GAA.

"Once we did that and addressed it, we just moved on. Because we wore them in training, it wasn't any big deal. It was a big deal obviously, it was very symbolic. But for us, we had put it behind us.

"And what we had said a number of times, the best way to respect this was to play well in this jersey. And if we play well, we don't have to say an awful lot about it. If we go out and do the jersey justice, play well, that might take us over the finish line.

"Imagine winning the Munster Championship against Cork. What a way that would be to respect that jersey and respect the people who died in 1920. We went out and did that. That's the way we looked at it."

When Tipperary face Mayo in the All-Ireland semi-final on Sunday, they will revert to their traditional blue and gold colours.

See Also: 'The Key To Dublin Is Beyond Cluxton Now': How The Kick-Out Is Evolving

PJ Browne
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