- All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship 2005
Infobox Hurling All-Ireland
Seán Óg Ó hAilpín
The Guinness Hurling Championship 2005 began on Sunday,
May 15, 2005. The 2005 championship saw some change with the introduction of a new format whereby after the provincial championships and the two new qualifying groups were completed, eight teams were left to face off in four quarter finals. Despite the change in the system there was no great shift in power. There was however a slight change to break the dominance of Cork and Kilkenny, the latter team being knocked out of the competetition at the semi-finals stage. The championship concluded on Sunday, September 11, 2005when Cork defeated Galway with a score of 1-21 to 1-16 and retain their title as All-Ireland Senior Hurling Champions.
The following structure was used for the 2005
All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship:
Twelve counties participated in Tier 1 of the 2005 Championship, essentially the counties that participated in Division 1 of the
National Hurling League. These teams were as follows:
Leinster: Dublin, Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly, Wexford
Munster: Clare, Cork, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford
The Leinster, Munster and Ulster championships were played off as usual. The Leinster and Munster champions and runners-up advanced directly to the All-Ireland Quarter-Finals. The three remaining teams in Leinster and Munster joined Galway and Antrim in the eight-county All-Ireland qualifier series. The eight qualifier teams were divided into two groups of four teams each:
*Group A: Each team will play the others in the group (3 games for each county)
*Group B: Each team will play the others in the group (3 games for each county)
The top two teams in Groups A & B joined the
Leinsterwinners and runners-up and the Munsterwinners and runners-up in the All-Ireland Quarter-Finals. The pairings for these four games were as follows:
Leinsterchampions V. second placed team in one Qualifier group
Munsterchampions V. second placed team in the other Qualifier group
*(3) Leinster runners-up V. first placed team in one Qualifier group
*(4) Munster runners-up V. first placed team in the other Qualifier groupAt the All-Ireland Semi-Finals stage the
Leinsterand Munsterprovincial champions were drawn against the other two Quarter-Final winners.
Cork's Championship Success
Cork completed their first season under the management of John Allen by winning their second All-Ireland title in as many years. It was the first time that the county achieved back-to-back titles since 1977-1978. Cork marched to the final with five successive victories, including the regaining of their
Munsterprovincial title. Victories over Tipperary, Clare and twice against Waterford, all Munster teams coincidentally, ensured "the Rebels" a place in their third successive All-Ireland Final against Galway. A 1-21 to 1-15 victory over "the Tribesmen" landed Cork their second consecutive All-Ireland title. Key players in this triumph included goalkeeper Dónal Óg Cusack, backs Diarmuid O'Sullivan and John Gardiner, captain Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, as well as Ben and Jerry O'Connor, Brian Corcoran and Joe Deane.
Also in contention
Although Cork were the bookies favourites to retain the
Liam MacCarthy Cupin 2005 they faced stiff competition from the other hurling superpowers. Kilkenny were naturally considered in contention, however, Clare and Galway proved their worth with great displays during the entire Championship.
Although Galway were not widely regarded as potential All-Ireland Final participants at the start of the Championship, the team soon grew into form. Managerial problems and defeats in previous years all pointed to another poor year for "the Tribesmen." A lack of opposition in
Connachtalso meant that Galway automatically qualified for the group stages. Three wins in Group A meant that the team topped the group and would not have to play Kilkenny in the Quarter-Finals. Instead Galway faced defeated Munsterfinalsists Tipperary in another thrilling game. This paved the way for a Semi-Final clash against hurling superpowers Kilkenny. In a game which was considered a hurling classic Galway defeated the LeinsterChampions by 5-18 to 4-18. Following this Galway progressed to their first All-Ireland Final since 2001, and their first against Cork since 1990. The omens however were bad for Galway. They hadn't won a final since 1988 and have never beaten Cork in an All-Ireland Final. The game proved to be one too much for Galway, however they put up a gallant fight with Cork all the way. Following that defeat Conor Hayes said that he would like to remain with the team and battle again for the MacCarthy Cup in 2006.He did just that but 2006 was another bad year for Galway who lost to eventual winners Kilkenny in Semple Stadium. Conor Hayeswas subsequently replaced with former Clare manager Ger Loughnane.
From the beginning Kilkenny were hotly tipped to join Cork in the All-Ireland Final in what would be a third successive meeting in the final for "the Big Two." The duopoly by both "the Cats" and "the Rebels" looked set to continue when the former team won the
National Hurling Leagueearlier in the year and later regained their Leinsterprovincial title from Wexford. A lacklustre win over Limerick in the Quarter-Finals showed that Kilkenny were not as invincible as many had thought. The Semi-Final clash against Galway was considered by many to be the game of the Championship and indeed one of the classic games in recent years. In a display which contained all the great skills of hurlingthe commentator, Marty Morrissey, quipped, "It's a wonderful game when it's played like this." In all nine goals were scored between both teams, however, Galway were victorious with a massive score of 5-18 to Kilkenny's 4-18. The game had an "end of an era" type feel about it as speculation mounted that the manager Brian Cody and player D.J. Careymight retire.
Another team that wasn't tipped for success at the start of the year but proved the critics wrong was Clare. The Banner County hadn't been successful in recent years and a defeat to Tipperary in the semi-final of the
MunsterChampionship looked like 2005 was not going to be a breakthrough year. However, the team did qualify for the Qualifiers where they topped Group B and booked their place in the All-Ireland Quarter-Finals. A defeat over Wexford allowed the "Banner" to advance to a Semi-Final clash with All-Ireland Champions Cork. In what was considered another contender to be the game of the Championship, Cork trailed by six points at half time. However, a remarkable comeback by the champions in the second half closed the deficit and allowed them to go on and win the game by one point. While nobody had expected it Clare came within a puck of the sliothar of booking a place in the All-Ireland Final. Leinster Senior Hurling Championship
Hurling Championship Qualifiers - Group A
All-Ireland Hurling Final
Sunday 11th September, 2005.
* [http://www.gaa.ie/ Official GAA Website]
* [http://www.rte.ie/sport/gaa RTÉ Sport Website]
* [http://www.hurlingstats.com/ Hurling Statistics]
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