It’s much repeated but the story is worth recalling again and again as far as Tipperary supporters are concerned. Even Brian Cody recalls the day with much admiration.
With twenty five minutes to go in the All-Ireland semi final against Wexford prospects of reaching an All-Ireland final didn’t look very good.
John McGrath had just received his marching orders and the next few minutes had Wexford increasing their lead to five points thanks to a goal by Lee Chin.
It didn’t make life any easier to see two goals disallowed up to that juncture but the situation needed to be remedied. What happened after that is stuff of legend. The subs bench arrived and provided fresh legs with Mark Kehoe, Willie Connors, Ger Browne and Jake Morris answering the call.
They mattered and with Brendan Maher, Ronan Maher, Noel McGrath and Seamus Callanan leading the way in defence, the scores arrived. Jason Forde held his nerve also. He needed to when Tipp had their third goal disallowed in the later stages. His resulting free put Tipp in front for the final time and when Jake Morris scored a spectacular point on the wing and it was Tipp’s day. In total Tipp outscored the Model County 0-11 to 1-2 in that last 25 minutes in Tipp’s best performance since winning the All-Ireland final three years ago.
There have been many changes since that success. Liam Sheedy took over from Michael Ryan as manager this season. However the one constant is the performances of Seamus Callanan. The Tipp captain, who hopes to be the first Drom Inch man and the first Mid Tipp man to receive the Liam McCarthy since Declan Carr in 1991, served up a man of the match performance that day in 2016. His brilliant return of 0-13, including nine points from play, helped pulverise the Kilkenny defence with class and poise. He is one of five players on the team (including Patrick Maher) to be in search of their third Celtic Cross along with Noel McGrath, Padraic Maher, Brendan Maher and that quintet, if successful would join a group of many great names from the past including Declan Ryan from the recent past.
With 7-16 scored so far this season, Callanan is Tipp’s top scorer from play this year in a forward line that has increased their scoring rate throughout the season. In their seven games they have scored 13-168 which is an average of 0-29 much better than last year’s return of 7-77 which is an average of 0-24 from four games. What is a