Back to ’Park for old rivals

Great rivals Kilkenny and Tipperary look set for what will be the third big hurling clash of the season at Nowlan Park.

Great rivals Kilkenny and Tipperary look set for what will be the third big hurling clash of the season at Nowlan Park.

At the time of writing the venue for the All-Ireland intermediate hurling final between the counties had not been confirmed by Croke Park, but both counties expect it will be played in Kilkenny.

When the counties clashed in the decider 12 months ago they tossed for venue. Tipperary won the toss and enjoyed home advantage in Semple Stadium.

Natural justice would suggest the final will be in Kilkenny this time. After the Cats beat Galway in the semi-final in Thurles, Premier County officials expressed the view that the decider would be in Kilkenny.

Noreside officials have been careful not to jump the gun, because Croke Park usually only fix such matches early in the week of the game. However, they feel the final should be in Kilkenny.

“To have the final in Nowlan Park would be nice for the players,” said Kilkenny manager, Pat O’Grady. “Tipp beat us last year. We have been waiting for 12 months to get another crack at them. Now the chance is there.”

The Nowlan Park pitch suffered damage during the Bruce Springsteen concerts, but it should be okay for the game which is scheduled for Saturday week. Kilkenny and Tipp packed the venue twice this year when they clashed in the National League final and All-Ireland Qualifiers.