Borris-lleigh's Conor Kenny and Kiladangan's Joe Gallagher pictured at the press launch ahead of the FBD Insurance County Senior Hurling Championship final. Picture: Eamonn McGee
It's not the first time it has happened, but nonetheless an unusual scenario awaits Kiladangan captain Joe Gallagher on Sunday afternoon next when he lines out against two of his pupils in the FBD Insurance County Senior Hurling Championship final.
Joe, a teacher at Our Lady's Templemore, will come up against Kevin Maher and James Devaney, both pupils in the school and stars of the Dr Harty Cup team which is in flying form at the present time. Thankfully, they will be operating at the opposite ends of the field, although in the modern game they are likely to encounter each other at some stage.
“I don't think I'd be able to catch them at this stage if I had to,” Joe Gallagher told the Tipperary Star.
“It is unusual alright, but it is great for them because they'll just hurl away anyway,” the Kiladangan captain said.
Sunday is Kiladangan's big chance to atone for their final defeat suffered at the hands of Thurles Sarsfields in 2016. Perhaps that occasion got to them, but it certainly made for a pedestrian final and Joe is determined to ensure that the same does not happen again.
“We didn't perform like we could in 2016 and it is great to get back there to have another shot at it. We love to play in Thurles and I don't think there is a better pitch. This has been one of the most open championships we have had and of those who got to the quarter-finals anyone could have gone on to the final. The favourites tag didn't matter to us. It doesn't really affect us - someone has to be favourites, but, realistically, any one of the eight quarter-finalists, and probably one or two outside of that as well, could have won the Dan Breen Cup,” Joe said.
Having overcome Nenagh Éire Óg in the semi-finals, Joe Gallagher is thrilled to be looking forward to the final this week - he knew the challenge that Nenagh would pose to his team; given their experience and their knowledge of playing at Semple Stadium, he was aware how tough a battle it would be.
“We're just thrilled to have overcome Nenagh and to be looking forward to Sunday's final. It's a big day for us, but we'll be fairly relaxed about it all. Hurling is not the be all and end all. We'll be treating it the same as any other game and we'll be doing everything we can to try and win it,” Joe said.
Our Lady's secondary school in Templemore on Monday morning will certainly be an interesting place.
COUNTY FINAL MATCH DETAILS
Sunday, November 3
FBD Insurance Séamus Ó Riain Cup Final
JK Bracken's v Holycross-Ballycahill in Semple Stadium, Thurles @ 12.15pm ET
FBD Insurance County Senior Hurling Championship Final
Borris-Ileigh v Kiladangan in Semple Stadium, Thurles @ 2.30pm ET
The Kiladangan team which beat Nenagh Éire Óg in the recent county semi-final: Barry Hogan, David Sweeney, James Quigley, Fergal Hayes, Declan McGrath, Alan Flynn, Darren Moran, Jack Loughnane, Johnny Horan, Dan O'Meara, Willie Connors, Joe Gallagher, Tadhg Gallagher, Paul Flynn, Billy Seymour. Subs used: Seán Hayes, Andy Loughnane, Martin Minehan.
The Borris-Ileigh team which beat Kilruane MacDonagh's in their recent county semi-final: James McCormack, Séamus Burke, Paddy Stapleton, Liam Ryan, Seán McCormack, Brendan Maher, Ray McCormack, Tommy Ryan, Dan McCormack, Kieran Maher, Niall Kenny, Conor Kenny, Kevin Maher, Jerry Kelly, James Devaney. Subs used: Jack Hogan.