In sport, as in other aspects of life, history has a way of repeating itself.
Forty years ago, on June 7 1981 Tipperary played Limerick in the Munster semi-final at Thurles. The famine was still raging but hopes were growing that underage success would eventually turn the tide.
At half time in the game those hopes seemed well founded. Tipperary led 2-10 to 0-3, albeit having played with the wind. When John Grogan added another point on resuming the gap was a massive fourteen points.
What happened thereafter had echoes on Sunday at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Joe McKenna rattled in three goals, Tipperary collapsed and were lucky to emerge with a draw. It was a mere stay of execution, however, because the replay at the Gaelic Grounds went heavily Limerick’s way.
It’s strange how the trauma of that day sticks in the memory. I can still vividly recall a half time conversation and the consensus that a championship win was finally on the way. But the unthinkable happened as it did last Sunday.
In the intervening years we’ve had other collapses too against Limerick, such as the 1992 league final when Tipp led 0-11 to 0-3 at half time but eventually lost 0-14 to 0-13. The 1996 Munster final was another agonising one. A 1-11 to 0-4 interval lead was swallowed up in a wave of second half Limerick points. It went to a replay and goals beat Tipp this time.
You’ll understand then why I wasn’t getting over excited at half time last Sunday. Memory has a way of keeping things in check.
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