An RTÉ News Photo Essay

The Hurling Final

This photographic and stories project from Brendan Ó Sé tells the story of the 2018 All-Ireland Hurling Championship - a championship capturing the imagination of the country in its new format. The stories of the fans are showcased in a visual form and also supported with anecdotes from the subjects. It explores how going to these matches, be it with their families or friends, is what makes the GAA so special, so unique and so Irish.

Monaghans make the final

The Monaghan family, mother Edel and sister Helen and two sons Darragh and Cormac with friend Breda Gardiner on their way to Croke Park

Spot the odd one out

“We’ve a Cork lad with us! Look at him!” “Make sure you say I’m 9 years hanging around with these lads.” John Buckley from Cork told me. “I’ll be slaughtered!” Gas lads enjoying the craic of All-Ireland Final day.  From left to right: Rob Henehan, Laurence Hogan, Will Hayes, Darrach Skelly and John Buckley - ‘the Cork lad’.

Dressed for the weather

“What do I remember from ‘73? The rain! It was torrential. That and the pitch invasion afterwards. It will stay with me forever but I hope today will be better.” Bill Chalk told me.  He was there with his friends Kitty Guinane and John Fitzgerald.

Across the barricades

“Oh, we’re friends now, but come five o’clock we mightn’t be!” Breen Doris from Galway told me. “Ya, he might have to take the bus and I’ll get the train!” Colm Woods from Limerick said.

Gin and Shamrocks

"They were asking me in check in in Gatwick if it was March 19th. No, it March the 17th is Patrick’s Day and no. It’s the All-Ireland. Limerick are in it. Sure they didn’t have a clue.” David Lysaght told me. “How’d ya get your ticket?” I asked. “Would you believe I promised a Wexford man in London I’d buy 50 cases of his gin off him. I work in live music venues. Ya, he got me the ticket. 50 cases of Bonak Gin now. But it will be worth it if they win."

Green is the colour

"OK. I am confused. That's a Kerry jersey, but you have a Limerick flag and Limerick hat. What's going on?" I asked. "Well, I wanted to get a Limerick jersey but they were all sold out. So, the only one that was left that was green was this one."Luke Fox who was heading to Croke Park with his dad Ger told me.

Hats, flags and headbands

Over the course of the past three months and sixteen games I’ve gotten to see familiar faces at the games.  Always been a pleasure to meet Galwayman John Ward at the games. Always up for a chat and to display the colours.

Kilkenny's bid for final

“I’ve been going to All-Irelands for every year for the past 20. I haven’t missed one in that 20 years.” “I’m a Kilkenny man.” Tom Corcoran told me. So, you’ve seen great days here at Croke Park. What has been the best for you? “2010.” Tipp won that.” I said. “ It was a brilliant game of hurling.” Tom said. “But ye lost?” “Still, it was the best.” “What about 2009? The 4-in-a-row; that was a great game?” It was, it was that.” Kilkenny man Tom Corcoran.

Who needs a hurley?

Sean Finn block down without his hurley which you can see top left.

The ecstacy and the relief

Joanne Lawlor and Kadie Colbert celebrate the great Limerick victory


You got married last week? The All-Ireland is your honeymoon?” No. We postponed when Limerick got to the final. We will go now in October. But this is better than a honeymoon.” Pat O' Brien and daughter Martina Burke.

To the victors the spoils...

Big gang of jubilant Limerick supporters after the match