The build-up to the GAA All-Irish Hurling Championship final

The GAA All-Irish Hurling final is always an intense game, with Hurling being the fastest, oldest and most skilled field sport in the world – you can be sure on great entertainment. However, for those die-hard Kilkenny and Tipperary fans this is about far more than entertainment, and for those looking to try and make some money on the event whilst enjoying the game, you can bet on Kilkenny v Tipperary as well.

The GAA All-Irish Hurling Championship is often regarded as the highlight of the Gaelic Games each year. Last year, the final achieved an attendance of over 82,000 people with over 1 million watching on their screens – a true highlight in the Irish sporting calendar and this year will be no different as top teams Kilkenny and Tipperary go head-to-head.

The rivalry between these two teams began when they first met in 1887 at the All-Ireland semi-final. Heated discussions began when Kilkenny objected to some of the Tipp players being able to play as they were not from the parish – Tipperary obliged and found some team member replacements, but tensions between the two teams have been heating up ever since.

Their first meeting in a final was only a little while later in 1896, when Cork removed themselves from the Championship, leaving Tipperary to stand in as replacements. As far as replacements go, this was the perfect team to take on Kilkenny, as Tipp walked all over them. This ultimately led to Kilkenny being defeated by a massive 6-8 to 1-0 difference – which was Tipp’s second All-Ireland win.

Since their first meet and their first All-Ireland final, the two teams have gone on to battle for the Championship title a further 20 times (including two re-plays after the first matches ended in draws). Kilkenny have taken the title 8 times whereas Tipperary have won it 11 – although in recent years, Kilkenny have claimed seven from the last 10 (including the one re-match in 2014). If you include all the meetings these two teams have had, they are fairly evenly matched with Tipperary winning 14 matches and Kilkenny winning 12 – it seems to us that when it comes to rising to an occasion, Tipperary appears to be a little more successful.

At the 132nd All-Ireland Hurling Championship, the final will come down to these two incredible teams who both have the richest histories when it comes to Hurling – from playing each other and participating in the GAA. During the run-up to the final, Tipperary seems to have had the higher winning margins, by defeating Laois by 10 points and Wexford by 2. Kilkenny, however, seems to have struggled a little more, winning against Cork by 6 points but narrowly missing a defeat against Limerick with a win of only 1 point. This might demonstrate that Kilkenny will have to pick up their game in order to defeat Tipperary, but they do have the top scorer of the competition on their side, T. J. Reid who during this year’s Championship has totalled 87 points – nearly twenty ahead of Tipperary’s top scorer Jason Forde.

Many different elements should be considered when it comes to this year’s showdown. By looking at their history, recent meetings and their run-ups to the final, we certainly get a feel for it being Tipperary’s game, but if Kilkenny show enough determination, they could just take it for the first time since 2014.

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