It is often claimed that hurling is the greatest field game in the world.
That is a proud boast and it would certainly have been given added currency following the drawn All-Ireland final earlier this month.
Galway and Kilkenny served up a game that had just about everything — skill, pace, super finishing, spectacular individual displays and even a hint of controversy.
Hurling obviously has a much stronger foothold in certain counties and certainly the fans created a tremendous atmosphere in Croke Park where the noise levels never abated throughout the contest.
I think that for either side to have lost would have been a travesty and that’s why I was so pleased to see Joe Canning step up and sweep over that last-gasp point from a free which gave Galway a draw that they richly deserved.
Referee Barry Kelly kept the game flowing and was judicious in his brandishing of yellow cards but he certainly incurred
the wrath of Kilkenny manager Brian Cody when he awarded that late free from which Canning salvaged the right for Galway to fight another day.
Cody’s eyeball to eyeball confrontation with his opposite number Anthony Cunningham in the closing moments of the game lent an element of tension to the proceedings but both managers appeared to part on the best of terms — on the surface at least.
I note that the GAA moved quickly to bring ticket prices down for the replay and that’s all to the good with fans hugely appreciative of this gesture given that we are still in the depths of a recession and that travelling to Dublin for a big game nowadays can cost a considerable sum even for those people who are forced to cut corners.
I only hope that the replay provides the same high level of skill and excitement that we all enjoyed in that first drawn game.
It was a superb occasion from every perspective and showed the GAA in the best possible light.
Kilkenny were red-hot favourites going into the game but Galway stretched them to the limit.
Now there is every reason for thinking that the replay will be just as close, although you would have to suspect that the force is with the Cats now.