FOR THE SIXTH time since 2009 and 21st overall, Tipperary and Kilkenny will clash in the All-Ireland hurling final next month. 

In a similar fashion to 2018, last weekend’s semi-finals were the two best games of the summer so far. And the decade will end just like it began, with the old foes and neighbours duking it out for the Liam MacCarthy Cup. 

We’re in for Cody vs Sheedy part III – their first All-Ireland final meeting in ten years. It’s hardly an ideal scenario for the Up For The Match researchers, but a tantalising prospect all the same.

Kilkenny’s 2009 four-in-a-row victory and the 2014 drawn game were two classics of the genre. Tipperary’s 4-17 to 1-18 success that denied the Cats history in 2010 was equally as historic.

TJ Reid was the losing captain that afternoon and he’ll lead his troops into battle once again in three weeks’ time. Kilkenny had a point to spare over Limerick in the last four clash on Saturday night, with Reid named man-of-the-match, sealing Cody’s 16th All-Ireland final as manager.

In his first season back in the hot-seat, Liam Sheedy guided the Premier to his third All-Ireland decider as boss yesterday. They overcame a John McGrath’s red card, three disallowed goals and a five-point deficit with 20 minutes left to overcome a heroic Wexford effort. 

Not long into his post-match media duties, the Portroe man was asked about the prospect of facing the old enemy in the decider.

“Ah stop,” he smiled. “Ask me tomorrow. Or Tuesday.”

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Clare won the All-Ireland in 2013 after a 16-year wait. Waterford reached their first final in a decade in 2017, the same year Galway ended a 29-famine without Liam. Last August, Limerick brought the famous cup over the Shannon for the first in 45 years. 

Now, we’re back to more familiar territory. The black and amber against the blue and gold. The more things change the more they stay the same. 

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