A green, black and amber forest has taken the place outside of Croke Park as excitement mounts for an epic between flinging aristocrats Kilkenny and match-three chasers Limerick.
The Irish independent spent the hot morning with the families and eager fans waiting outside the stadium.
Jones’ Rd was overwhelmed with fans of both teams huddled for shade and sipped cool drinks as the sun shone on what was known as a heatwave, with the temperature set to record highs of 32C.
Eileen and her son Jamie, from Co Limerick, insist their county is well positioned to retain the title.
“I think it will be a close match. I hope Limerick will get over the line. And I think we’ll do it with three, maybe four points,” said Eileen.
As for the Heat, Eileen admitted it could affect the game.
“It’s absolutely difficult to play hurling in this heat, but the boys are well prepared for this heat with a lot of water. Yes, well prepared.”
Anthony and Paddy also said it was time to win after Kilkenny had the reigning hold over hurling with 36 All Ireland Championships.
“Kilkenny is tired of winning, they’ve won 36 times. So you should be sick. That’s why there are hardly any here. We haven’t won in 40 years. It’s a bit like the comet coming in to get rid of the dinosaurs,” Anthony said.
When asked how they felt about the loss of their two-time Hurler of the Year Cian Lynch, who won’t be playing because of an ankle injury, Paddy said: “Well he hasn’t been there all year. We literally won without him.”
“He hasn’t been here all year so we should be fine. If we lose, which we won’t, but we can’t blame him for not being here.
“I was there in 2018 when we won for the first time since 1973. Hopefully they can do it again in front of the fans,” added Anthony.
Siobhan and her two children, Oscar and Ollie, have arrived from County Kilkenny, confident they will end Limerick’s winning streak.
“We’re going to win because one of Limerick’s best players is injured,” said Oscar. “And because we’re simply the best team anyway,” adds his mother.
“It could be a historic game because there are two great teams playing a game and it could be a tough game. There could be very few points,” Oscar said.
As for the heat, Ollie was concerned about how that might affect Kilkenny versus Limerick due to the black color of the shirts.
Excited nonetheless, the two boys waved their flags and jumped for joy into their first All-Ireland final.
“You’ve got butterflies in your stomach,” Siobhan said.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/butterflies-in-their-stomachs-excitement-builds-around-croke-park-for-all-ireland-hurling-final-41846317.html “Butterflies in your stomach” – anticipation for the All-Ireland Hurling Finals is mounting around Croke Park