Philip and I travelled to Semple Stadium. Tipp had one last chance to stay in the championship but they had to beat Cork by 7 points.

We discussed all the possibilities on the way. Philip is an avid hurling analyst and I enjoyed listening to him.

We had come to a conclusion; it would be a great game. Both teams would come out on fire, fighting for their lives.

We changed to listening to music. We chose The Beautiful South and had a right good relaxing singalong.

We travelled to my brother Phil’s house. My two nieces Aoife and Áine were waiting for us. We parked up and Aoife drove us into Thurles via the Dark Road.

Tipperary got beaten by 12 points. It was not helped by a triumphant Cork fan between us. “At least it wasn’t by 15 points girls!” Philip quipped, rubbing his hands together in delight.

The security guards lining the pitch provided a bit of amusement for us. As soon as a few children breached the fence, the gates were opened and it was free for all.

We went in to meet my nephew Conor (Bowes). Despite bitter disappointment, he was standing and posing for photographs with enthusiastic bunches of children.

These fellows are great ambassadors for the game. They also show tremendous strength of character in the face of defeat.

We reversed our journey out the Dark Road. We chatted for a while with the folks.

Just as Philip and I were about to leave, Conor and Gearoíd O’Connor arrived in. The two Moyne-Templetuohy men had come on during the game and a right post mortem was held.

The next hurdle is to avoid relegation. I will be shouting for Antrim against Kerry in the McDonagh Cup final because if Kerry win, Tipp would have to play Kerry to stay in the championship for next year.

How quickly we move on in our minds to the next season. Cork had a great day out and their win has lifted spirits in Cork.

Hopefully they will make it all the way to contest the All Ireland. After all, they haven’t won one since 2005!

Exams looming

Life goes on and gets very serious as the school year draws to a close. The Leaving Cert and Junior Cert exams will start on 8th June.

My niece Áine will sit her Leaving Cert. She wishes that the exams would start. Jack, my nephew will sit his Junior Cert.

My niece, Marie in London has already begun her GCSE exams which is also Junior Cert level.

This is undoubtedly the hardest few weeks in many households as students experience one of the most stressful times in their lives. It is all to play for at Leaving Cert level.

Those points need to add up to the desired course in University or for apprenticeship attainment.

These students have suffered during lockdown. Their preparation has not been ideal with much of it online and without the necessary interaction of the classroom learning experience.

So the emphasis has to be on keeping them calm and getting them through the exams smoothly.

I remember going through it with my own children. I had a few priorities. Firstly, it is important to get enough sleep to make sure you are composed in your guidance and parenting role.

Ask yourself, are you exam ready? Encourage the students to have a good night’s sleep too. Secondly, make sure you have the shopping done for extra biros and whatever they need for the actual exams along with the snacks and drinks required.

Thirdly, your encouragement and affirmation are critical to them during this period. Tell them that “the work is done and it is now time to do the best they can!”

Remind them to read over the paper, to allocate their time according to the questions and to try to keep a little time at the end to read over their answers.

If an exam goes wrong, park it and move on.

Under no circumstances must you communicate stress to them because they are relying on you to keep the ship stable, stocked with provisions and afloat.

Lastly, but by no means least; tell them you love them as they jump out of that car. It matters.