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Open thread: What is your favourite All-Ireland hurling breakthrough story?

Let the debate begin.

Some fantastic success stories have come from Clare, Wexford and Limerick.
Some fantastic success stories have come from Clare, Wexford and Limerick.

SOME GREAT TEAMS had to endure plenty of agony before reaching the pinnacle.

Today’s serving of TG4′s All-Ireland Gold is a prime example of a county who had to lose All-Ireland finals before finally tasting victory.

Galway reached the 1975 and 1979 deciders where they suffered defeat to Kilkenny on both occasions. Iggy Clarke, a key defender on that Galway team, spoke about the frustration he felt during those days on his Laochra Gael episode which was aired on TG4 this week.

Clarke was injured for the 1980 final, and watched on from the sidelines as they succeeded at the third time of asking against Limerick. That triumph subsequently led to further All-Ireland titles for Galway in 1987 and 1988.

But is that the greatest breakthrough success story in hurling?

What about the Clare hurlers who ended an 81-year wait to lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup in 1995? It was their first All-Ireland final appearance since 1932, defeating the reigning champions Offaly to get over the line.

That golden crop from the Banner county repeated the feat in 1997. They shed the “whipping boys of Munster” tag before going on to hold off a challenge from Tipperary in the All-Ireland final.

Offaly reached their first All-Ireland SHC final in 1981 where they defeated Galway by three points. That triumph proved to the springboard for future All-Ireland victories in 1985, 1994 and 1998. Perhaps that is the greatest breakthrough journey in hurling history?

Maybe Wexford’s rise to the top in 1996 wins your vote? Managed by the legendary Liam Griffin, the Slaneysiders overcame three Leinster final defeats between 1992 and 1994 to finally become provincial champions.

They capitalised on that momentum by going on to win the All-Ireland final that year, their first Liam MacCarthy triumph since 1968.

Limerick were the victims in the decider that day, and suffered defeat again in 2007 before the class of 2018 ended 45 years of hurt to reach the mountain top. Is that your favourite fairytale story?

Maybe your preference lies in the famous achievements at provincial level. The Waterford hurlers ending a 39-year famine for a Munster title has captured the imagination of many.

Tipperary’s victory in the 1987 Munster SHC final — their first provincial crown in 16 years — is another celebrated success story.

But which story is your favourite one? Is your selection in the list below, or have we left any out? Let us know in the comment section.

  • Clare 1995
  • Offaly 1981
  • Galway 1980
  • Wexford 1996
  • Limerick 2018

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