The fascinating tales from the morning of the 1916 All-Ireland hurling final

UCD professor Paul Rouse on the events around Tipp v Kilkenny at a complex time politically

It goes without saying that the political climate in Ireland in 1916 was complex.

Yet the All-Ireland hurling championship went on and featured the same teams that will clash at Croke Park 100 years later this Sunday.

Although, the 1916 final actually took place in January 1917 due to delays, UCD professor Paul Rouse explained on Off The Ball, Kilkenny and Tipperary were the finalists as they have been many times since.

Tipp won on that occasion but their arrival in Dublin was later than usual.

"Tipperary players came up on the morning of the game. There had been developing traditions of teams staying overnight the night before. Tipperary came up on the train the morning of the game very early and they walked down the quays until they got to Sackville Street (now O'Connell Street), turned left on Sackville Street bearing in mind that this whole area was in ruins after the Rising. Houses had been laid waste, hotels, everything gone," said Rouse.

"What the Tipperary hurlers and their officials did was they walked down Sackville Street and they stopped in front of the GPO and they recited a decade of the Rosary in honour of those who had fought in the 1916 Rising."

File photo dated 11/05/1916 of Sackville Street from the Nelson Column after the Rising in Dublin as a trove of rarely-seen photographs lays bare the utter carnage wreaked on Dublin during the tumultuous Easter Rising 100 years ago this weekend. Picture by: PA / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Rouse added that the Tipp team included men who would go on to fight in the War of Independence just a few short years later.

"Then they went on to Croke Park and played an All-Ireland hurling final," he said of a team mostly made up of Boherlahan club players.

Rouse also discussed the Kilkenny camp, who had become the dominant force in inter-county hurling and were eager to bounce back from setbacks, as well as another force from the era in the shape of Laois.

"It's a very mixed picture by January 1917," Rouse went on to explain of the political atmosphere post-Rising.

"Members of the GAA go and meet the tax authorities in Whitehall, representatives of British government to arrange for tax rebates. But most of all they go and meet General Sir John Maxwell, the British officer who ordered the executions of the rebel leaders in Dublin. They go and meet him to try and arrange for special trains for the matches.

"Now, while that's going on, it's a dual story though. Down in Tipperary, the Tipperary hurlers are appearing with rosettes in special tournaments with 'Remember Tone' on them and these kind of slogans which are associated with Irish republicanism and nationalism. So there is a groundswell and as it turns out two years down the road, those officials who had represented the GAA in meeting Maxwell, were condemned roundly - censured at Congress for what they did."