While 1951 saw Tipperary win their third All-Ireland in a row, it also announced the arrival of Wexford, after a 33-year hiatus, to the All-Ireland final stage. Wexford would go on to be one of the dominant forces in hurling later in the decade, driven on by the powerful presence of the Rackard brothers, Nicky (at number 14 captain, and top scorer on the day with 3-2), Billy (7) and Bobby (6), left corner-back on the GAA Hurling Team of the Millennium. A further formidable presence in the team was the great Nick O’Donnell (3), also chosen on the Team of the Millennium at full back, and featured in this footage. If not for the formidable skills of Tipp keeper Tony Reddin between the posts, ably assisted by the ever impressive Tipp defence particularly Seamus Finn (5) (who at 19 was the youngest ever captain to lift the Liam MacCarthy cup), Pat Stakelum (6) and Tommy Doyle (at number 7 who won his fifth all-Ireland winner’s medal here), Wexford may well have taken the day. But despite a flying start from the men of the Model County, Tipperary ran out winners by the somewhat flattering margin of 7-7 to 3-9.
Due to the similarities between the team’s colours (Tipperary: Blue and Gold; Wexford: Purple and Gold), both teams wore their provincial rather than county colours with Tipperary in Munster blue and Wexford in Leinster green. However, such distinctions are not altogether clear in the days before colour filming, as evidenced by the footage here where players from the respective teams are sometimes hard to distinguish. In terms of the coverage of the game, Fleischmann was joined on camera by Brendan Stafford, and a gradual improvement in the quality of the game’s coverage is apparent here with more scores captured, maybe unsurprisingly in such a high-scoring game, including several superb Paddy Kenny (13) points for Tipperary and goals by both counties. Kenny was Tipp’s outstanding player and scorer of all his team’s points. The concern to capture the crowd evident in other years, and particularly their response to scores, is again apparent in this footage, including in several somewhat disorientating whip pans that move from scores immediately to the crowd’s reaction. As well as the Senior game, footage is also included here of the Minor encounter between Cork and Galway (with the tribesmen unusually clad in white). Among the future stars of the Senior game captured is a young Johnny Clifford who would win All-Ireland titles with Cork as both a player and manager in later years. One of Galway’s greatest ever hurlers, the beret wearing Billy Duffy – who would return with the Senior team in 1953 and 1955 – is also featured.
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