BY an amazing coincidence, Tipperary goalkeeper Brendan Cummins will today emulate what Mark Foley did in the All Ireland quarter-final when he becomes his country's most-capped hurler.
Cummins 55th appearance for the Premier County means John Doyle has finally been overtaken while swashbuckling wing-back Foley took over top spot from Timmy Ryan on 46 caps at Semple Stadium against Dublin.
Doyle's record has stood since 1967 but you have to go back a further 21 years for when Ryan set the Limerick standard. Again, coincidence ordains that just six players from each county have crashed the barrier of making 40 championship appearances or more, as the tables below show.
WSC can this week reveal that today's All Ireland semi-finalists can rightly claim to be hurling's draw specialists. Ten times Tipperary and Limerick have ended level, the first pairing to bring their number of draws into double figures.
Indeed the Premier and Limerick have drawn seven times since the second-placed pairing of Kilkenny and Dublin last finished level. In all just 14 pairings (out of a possible 45, counting meetings between the Top 10 counties) have finished all square more than once in history of the championship, another 14 having played a single draw.
No, we're not harking back to the European Cup rugby semi-final and the invasion of the red army. Did you know that since the back-door championship was introduced, only two Munster pairings have yet to get an airing in Croke Park?
It started with the Tipp-Clare All Ireland final in '97 and since then all other possible pairings bar Cork-Limerick, Tipp-Cork and Tipp-Limerick have been seen at Croker.
With Tipp and Limerick meeting the number is down to two and if you factor in the 1896 Munster championship meeting of Cork and Tipp which took place at HQ, then only Cork and Limerick are left to recreate a southern showdown in the capital.
Congratutalions if you're the Betfair client who's backed Meath at 999-1 to win Sam this year. (Yes, someone has.) Congrats if you're the Betfair client who's backed them at 369-1. And congrats if you're the Betfar client who's backed them at 119-1. We're not making this up, readers. Those three punters do indeed exist. But don't feel too envious of them, for untold riches will not actually be coming their way at the end of September. Reason why? Simple. The stake wagered on Meath at 999-1 is the princely sum of 50 cent; the 369-1 bet also 50 cent; and the 119-1 bet a scarcely less humble tenner. Staying with Betfair, Tipperary – with Seamus Callanan in a rich vein of form of late – are 1-4 to see off Limerick in today's All Ireland hurling semi-final. We know of one Betfair customer who won't be that pushed either way; he backed Kilkenny at what now seem the ridiculously generous odds of 20-21 the moment the market opened and is sitting pretty.
Hurling being a game that is more enticing to spread punters than Gaelic football, Sportsspread.com were kept busy during last Sunday's first semi-final. Clients who expected a high-scoring affair did well; the total points market and the multi-points markets for both teams (ie first-half points multiplied by second-half points) all made up over the quote, rewarding those who'd bet high. Meath partisans also did well in the preceding football quarter-final with Mayo, with the winners' multi-points settling at 55 points over the quote thanks in part to the performance of Brian Farrell (left). The multitudes who waded in on Mayo with Paddy Power – John O'Mahony's team went off at 4-9 and touched 1-7 in running at one stage – had their backsides handed back to them. Oddly, Kilkenny's win was good for Power's, who'd taken an avalanche of money for Waterford at 7-1.
Gaelic games ace tipster Ewan MacKenna (Really? – Ed) goes head-to-head against two 'Sunday Tribune' writers who haven't a clue about our national games in a summer-long competition. One point for a correct outcome, two points for the correct result.
The GAA Man - Ewan MacKenna
Tipperary v Limerick: Tipperary by six
Last week's score 1
Total score 28
"Hot dog, bottle of coke and bar of chocolate only €9.50." So read the sign in front of a shop inside Croke Park these past few weeks. Think about it. Someone actually decided there was competition for consumers, thought they better get ahead of the opposition and settled on the idea that this was the best they had to offer. Just how much more could a hot dog, bottle of coke and a bar be if you bought them separately? We know Christy Cooney cost way too much (well, too much for any man who insists on being called by his Irish name after 46 years of being Christy Cooney is very little, but he did cost a fortune) but still...
The Soccer Guy - Miguel Delaney
Tipperary v Limerick: Tipperary by four
Last week's score 1
Total score 27
Just the one game this week then? Good, since it'd be hard to concentrate on trying to shame Ewan MacKenna by somehow beating him in this now the Premier League is back on. And that's the beauty of the soccer compared to this (the GAA's predictability is only underlined by how close I am)… Just who will score for Manchester United in their 4-0 win today? What minute will Fernando Torres claim his equaliser as Liverpool stutter to a 1-1 draw at Tottenham? How many times will Harry Redknapp blame, oh, anyone else in his post-match interview. See? So exciting!
The Rock Dude - Neil Dunphy
Tipperary v Limerick: Tipperary by 8
Last week's score 2
Total score 21
Finally a match to savour. At 4pm today all eyes will be on White Hart Lane. Five years ago Rafa began his career here, debuting the lamentable Josemi, with a dull 1-1 draw. Last year we were robbed by a jammy last-minute goal. It's not been the happiest of hunting grounds for Rafa and this season there are many more questions. How will Lucas react to being first choice midfielder with Mascherano? Will Dirk Kuyt be able to cover up for Glen Johnson's defensive inadequacies down the right? Can Daniel Agger finally fulfill his Alan Hansenesque promise? Will Stevie G stay out of jail? Will El Nino's hamstrings hold up? What's that? There's a hurling match on? Bring back the ban,I say.
Moss keane, Kerry
This week it's the turn of former Lion and 51-time Irish international. He's remembered by most as one of the Munster side that beat the All Blacks and by some Gardaí in Dublin as the man who started shooting at a colony of rabbits out the back of Lansdowne Road one night during the Troubles and started rumours of a British invasion. In a bid to cheat he demands 10 per cent extra if he answers in Irish before giving in and concluding that "10 per cent of f**k all is still f**k all I suppose".
1 How many senior All Ireland hurling titles have Kerry won?
MK How many senior All Ireland hurling titles have Kerry won.
2 What year was that sole hurling triumph?
ST Correct again.
3 How many All Ireland senior football titles have Kerry won?
MK Oh Jesus Christ. Thirty-something. Sure who knows? I'll say 35.
4 Which Kerry player holds the record for the most All Star awards received?
MK Pat Spillane.
5 In total how many did he get?
MK Eleven or something ridiculous like that.
ST Wrong. It was actually nine.
MK I was down in his pub in Templenoe when he was counting them one night. I must have been seeing double or something like that.
6 Who was the first Kerry player to win an All Star award back in 1971?
MK Was it Donie O'Sullivan?
ST It was actually. At corner-back.
7 Six Kerry men made the Team of the Millennium but can you name any five
MK For the love of God. It's not easy on the spot like this. Let's see. Dan O'Keefe, Mick O'Connell, Pat Spillane, Joe Keohane and Mikey Sheehy. I'm doing well.
ST You are indeed. Right again and the other was of course Spillane.
8 Five Kerry clubs have won club All Irelands but can you name four of them?
MK East Kerry won the first of them, Castleisland Desmonds, Dr Crokes and Austin Stacks.
ST Yes, and the other was Laune Rangers.
9 Which Kerry club have won the most Kerry county titles with 12?
MK Austin Stacks?
ST Wrong. Laune Rangers.
10 Who are the current holders of the Kerry county hurling championship?
MK Somewhere in the north. If I get this I'll laugh. Kilmoyley.
ST Correct. And you haven't stopped laughing.
Richie Kavanagh (Carlow) 9
Moss Keane (Kerry) 9
Billy Walsh (Wexford) 8
Charlie McGettigan (Leitrim) 7
Evanne Ní Chuilinn (Kilkenny) 6
Ted Walsh (Kildare) 6
Brian Peters (Meath) 6
Edwin Poots (Antrim) 5
Ciaran Fitzgerald (Wicklow) 4
Eamon Dunphy (Dublin) 3
Richard Wallace (Limerick) 1
Francis Barrett (Galway) 1