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'The story of a revolution': TG4 doc looks back at a decade that redefined hurling

‘Réabhlóid GAA’ will air at 9.30pm on Wednesday, 16 December.

Source: Sport TG4/YouTube

THE 1990S WERE magical times for hurling. 

This country was experiencing great change culturally, politically and economically, but the decade began with the traditional ‘big three’ of Kilkenny, Cork and Tipperary once again dominating the All-Ireland senior championship.

However, everything was turned on its head in 1994 as the old guard made way for a new generation of hurler.

During an astonishing five minutes, Offaly scored 2-5 to complete the most unbelievable of comebacks against Limerick and lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup for only the third time. 

A year later, Ger Loughnane’s Clare side finally banished ‘the Curse of Biddy Early’ to end their 81-year drought — dethroning Offaly in the final.  

Then it was the turn of Wexford to upset the odds at Croke Park and the Slaneysiders danced at the crossroads to celebrate their first All-Ireland title since 1968.

Screenshot 2020-12-01 at 12.07.17 Wexford captain Martin Storey after winning the 1996 final.

In a new hour-long documentary, ‘Réabhlóid GAA’ (‘GAA Revolution’) looks back at a defining period for modern hurling through extensive archive footage and interviews from the people at the centre of the action — Teddy McCarthy, Davy Fitzgerald, Ger Loughnane, Brian Whelahan, Johnny Dooley, Johnny Pilkington, Liam Griffin and Martin Storey among others.

Produced by Loosehorse (who have been responsible for some of the best Irish sports documentaries in recent years such as ‘The Boys in Green’, ‘Micko’ and ‘Giles’), it is directed by Ronan O’Donoghue, while ex-Wexford hurler Diarmuid Lyng provides narration.

“By 1994, hurling was in the ha’penny place in Ireland,” explains Lyng. “Gaelic football was riding high thanks to a cash injection from a new sponsor and a Northern takeover sparking fresh interest amongst the public.

Not only that, the country was still very much part of Jackie’s Army. With the same teams winning year after year, hurling desperately needed a new approach.

“This is the definitive account of the most important period in hurling history. This is the story of a revolution.”

Réabhlóid GAA airs at 9.30pm on Wednesday, 16 December. Watch it on TG4 and the TG4 Player here.

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