Cork returned in 1954 to secure their third All-Ireland in a row in what is regarded as one of the greatest hurling battles of them all. This game also saw Christy Ring (number 12) complete the magnificent feat of winning eight All-Ireland winners medals, and ‘Mr Hurling himself’ as O’Hehir describes him, played a vital part in Cork’s victory, captured here scoring one of the five points he got on a day on which he was top scorer. The record attendance for the year before was further surpassed with a crowd of 84,856 attending, with many hundreds disappointed as the gates were closed 15 minutes before the senior game began. Some managed to find viewing positions nonetheless, and the footage includes some of these more fortunate occupying prime positions on the roof of the stand to the right of O’Hehir’s commentary box. As the footage suggests, this was a closely contested encounter and one that was in doubt right up to the final minutes.
Indeed, had the Model County not lost their formidable full back Nick O’Donnell (3) early in the second half to a broken collar-bone after a collision with Ring, the result could well have been different, and they led by two points right up to the final minutes when a Johnny Clifford (13) goal, unfortunately not captured here, decided the destination of the MacCarthy Cup. Among the players that feature prominently here are Wexford’s Nicky Rackard (14) and his brother Bobby (6), who moved into the full back position with O’Donnell’s departure. Cork defender Tony O’Shaughnessy (4), with his head bandaged from an earlier injury, was superb in the second half and also features here. Another notable player captured is Cork’s Mattie Fouhy (5) who played bootless for much of the second half after having trouble with his footwear. Apart from the Senior game, footage from the Minor encounter is also included where Dublin had a rare victory in a hurling final when they defeated Tipperary.
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