BORDER towns have always been dangerous places and this year is no different as tensions rise before one of the most fiercely contested All Ireland finals in years. Callan is one of the last Kilkenny outposts before crossing the border and the locals have decked the town out in county colours to remind the Tipperary visitors where they are.
Collins park in the centre of Callan is drowning under black and amber bunting. Kitty Doheney has been hanging flags and bunting outside of her house every year that Kilkenny have made it to the final, except for the two years after her husband Paddy died in 2008.
This year has been no exception for the 80 year old who’s house is amongst the most colourful in Collins Park in Callan. Bunting from the garden to the roof and massive Kilkenny flags, one of which flys all year around, leave little doubt in a by-passrs mind that 58 Collins Park is the home of a true Kilkenny fan.
Kitty has had her flags out since the semi-final, “I put them out at semi-final time so that you can get a few weeks wear out of them. This year we got new bunting. Lets hope we win, I’m a terrible Kilkenny fan.”
Breada Delaney, Collins park and Deirdre Hibbits, Kings Court are both aiming to show their Tipperary neighbours that Liam McCarthy will be returning to its rightful home on Sunday. Breada Delaney said she put out her flags to support Kilkenny she said “I’ve a Tipp woman living next door so we’ve to put the flags out to show her. It’s a great bit of excitement , a bit of fun.”
Non co-operation in Callan Co-Op
A tattered Tipperary flag flies over the gates of Callan Co-op but at the highest point of the sprawling complex a Kilkenny flag crowns the grainstore. This is a divided work place. Amongst the twenty odd staff in the co-op a small but fundamentalist cell of Tipperary natives is operating. In the general office life size card-board cut-out of Donnacha O’Callaghan, a Cork man has been defaced. The cut out which originally advertised a treatment for mastitis now shows O’Callaghan in full Tipperary kit complete with hurley and Liam McCarthy Cup.
“When we brought Donnacha out last year we got a fierce going over from people, We were warned that we’re on Kilkenny ground here,” said Bernie Meaney from Fethard, Co Tipperary who works in the office in Callan Co-op. Last year after Donnacha debuted his Tipperary kit he was kidnapped by some of the Kilkenny staff, but he has been returned in his Tipp colours for this years final.
Rosie O’Halloran Treacy from Poulacapple Co Tipperary who also works in the office of Callan Co-Op said “It’s just a bit of craic but there is an awful lot of ribbing that goes on with the staff and customers.”