Hurling boss Liam Griffin declared Wexford an “independent republic”.

UNDER PRESSURE ... Limerick's Gary Kirby feels the heat as a determined Rod Guiney of Wexford bears down on him during the All-Ireland hurling final at Croke Park

ECSTATIC team boss Liam Griffin last night declared Wexford an “independent republic”.

“We're going to go away and put up our own flag,” said a beaming Griffin after his side's emotional All-Ireland triumph over Limerick.

Griffin didn't have to be prompted by the press-pack to reveal what this long awaited triumph meant.

“It was incredible coming up to Dublin today. The little children outside waving us on - it was like a throwback in time.

“Like being in a time machine. Red paper in one window, gold in the other in the houses.”

The articulate Wexford boss said it must have been like the Eucharistic Congress in 1932.

“I don't know, it is so emotional, so fabulous, so beautiful. Isn't that what is all about for a rural people like ourselves.”

Griffin's marvellous monologue in the dressing room afterwards included several memorable lines.

But perhaps the most perceptive observation was his assertion that Wexford had not come out with a “tight-jawed determination” which inevitably leads to inhibitions.

Limerick, in contrast almost seemed to want victory too much.

Griffin revealed that last minute withdrawal Sean Flood had stirred the Wexford players with a pre-match address.

“Sean Flood spoke to the boys in the morning.

“In fairness I don't think Sean Flood could have done a better job than any of those lads out there today.

“But we were all moved when he spoke. In fact we were in bits for a few minutes.”

Wexford: D Fitzhenry, C Kehoe, G Cush, J O'Connor 0-1, R Guiney, L Dunne, L O'Gorman 0-2, A Fenlon, G O'Connor, R McCarthy, M Storey 0-2, L Murphy 0-1, E Scallan 0-1, G Laffan 0-3, T Dempsey 1-3.

Subs: B Byrne for Murphy (65 mins) P Finn for Guiney (68 mins) and P Codd for Laffan (70 mins).

Limerick: J Quaid, S McDonagh, M Nash, D Nash, D Clarke 0-1, C Carey 0- 3, M Foley, M Houlihan, S O'Neill, F Carroll 0-1, G Kirby 0-2, B Foley 0-4, O O'Neill 0-1, D Quigley 0-1, TJ Ryan 0-1.

Subs: P Tobin for O O'Neill (48 mins), B Tobin for Ryan (55 mins), T Herbert for B Foley (63 mins).

Referee: Pat Horan (Offaly)

Attendance: 65,849.

THERE was heartbreak for Darren Corbett last night when it emerged that his Irish Cruiserweight title fight with Ray Kane, scheduled for the Ulster Hall tomorrow night, has been scrapped due to an injury to the Dubliner.

The injury occurred during sparring at the Eastwood Gym last week and has not improved sufficiently to allow Kane to box.

The Dubliner was taken to hospital where an X-ray showed there was no fracture, although severe bruising had been sustained.

It was originally feared that Kane had broken a bone in his arm.

Matchroom spokesman Harry McGavock added: “Ray has also been suffering with a bug since last Monday and it has really weakened him.

“If we postponed the bill for a week Ray would be delighted to fight Darren but, because of live coverage on Eurosport, it's simply not possible to change the date.”

Corbett will now contest a non-title ten-rounder, but Harry McGavock has promised that an Irish title will be on the line in one of the other fights, although he refused to elaborate on who the boxers would be.

He also said that Corbett's new opponent will be named this afternoon.

“The new man is an excellent opponent. He is a highly rated area champion from England. Barry Hearn has spoken to me about him.”

The Matchroom spokesman maintained that an Irish title would be contested. “There will be an Irish title on the line in a very interesting contest,” he said.

Other local fighters on the Belfast bill include up-and-coming welterweight Neil Sinclair, Eamonn Magee, Paul Ireland and Paul Douglas.

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