Tipperary returned to Croke Park in 1949 to claim their second All-Ireland in a row, though in a much closer contest that they won by the narrowest of margins. This was the final that announced the arrival of John Doyle as one of the greatest defenders of the hurling game, but also a game that Kilkenny could easily have won had they been more clinical in front of the posts. A recurring feature of these highlight packages is the focus on the crowd from the beginning. While compensating somewhat for the lack of clear footage of scoring during the game, these shots also emphasise the growing popularity of Gaelic Games in a decade in which record-breaking crowds would enter the gates of Croke Park, reaching over 80,000 for All-Ireland hurling finals by the middle of the 1950s. As in the Senior game, Tipperary and Kilkenny also contested the Minor game, briefly featured here, though with the Cats taking home the Irish Press Cup. As in previous years, the camera positions remained in the Hogan Stand and behind the Canal End goal, restricting what could be captured during the game. Prominent Kilkenny players include the flat-cap wearing Jimmy Heffernan (number 10) and Jim Langton (12), chosen at left wing-forward on the GAA Hurling Team of the Millennium. While Kilkenny markmanship, as O’Hehir tells us, was ‘not at its best’, Tipperary’s stout defence of their lead in the second half in particular is impressive, with players such as Pat Stakelum (6), Tommy Doyle (7) and Jimmy Finn (5), as well as John Doyle (4), all prominently featured here. Though the game had a thrilling finish with two late goals by each team, the limitations of camera placement and movement meant that the goals themselves are captured in long shot and difficult to distinguish. However, O’Hehir’s commentary brings these moments to life and instills energy, and sometimes humour, to the occasion.
The GAA Collection is available on the IFI Player and suite of apps for a limited time only.
The DVD boxsets can be purchased from the IFI Film Shop.