Though on the losing side in 1948, Jimmy Kennedy’s performance for Dublin would lead to his selection by his native Tipperary the following year, and his return to Croke Park where he won his first of two All-Ireland medals with the county. Indeed, Kennedy (number 12) was top scorer in a one-sided affair, notching up 2-4 of Tipperary’s 3-11 and is proclaimed ‘hurler of the year’ in O’Hehir’s commentary. This was Laois’s first (and to date last) appearance in the hurling final since their only win in 1915, and they managed only three points in the game, all of which came in the first half. The Institute’s footage here includes further detail on the build-up to the big game, including both Tipperary and Laois training beforehand, and rare footage of Thurles town in the late 1940s. A curious feature of the rain-soaked ceremony before the game is a young boy holding an umbrella over the Tipperary captain, Pat Stakelum (5), as the teams march behind the Artane Boys’ Band. Clearly none of the other players felt such assistance was required. While the footage of the game itself still lacks fluency, more scores are captured including a great Sean Kenny (8) point for Tipperary from a sideline puck in the second half. An interesting development here overall is the increasing focus on portraits of individual players involved in the games, both at the beginning and the end of the piece. Among those featured here are some of the greatest hurling players of the era, including arguably the greatest goalkeeper ever to feature in the game, Tony Reddin, and fellow GAA Hurling Team of the Millennium player John Doyle (4), who won his first of eight All-Ireland medals in ‘49, a record only matched by the great Christy Ring who will feature later in this collection. Laois captain on the day was the exotically named Paddy Ruschitzko (7) indicating that Polish immigration was nothing new to that part of the country.
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