Tipperary 4-17 Kilkenny 1-18
Terrific Tipp swept to triumph in a sensational All-Ireland hurling final at Croke Park, wrecking Kilkenny’s 'drive for five' with a Lar Corbett hat-trick.
Liam Sheedy’s men finally brought the Cats’ 21-game unbeaten run to an end with a comprehensive eight points success in front of 81,765 fans.
Corbett smashed in goals in the tenth, 42nd and 73rd minutes to shatter the Kilkenny dream and bring a memorable period of dominance by Brian Cody’s side to an end.
Cody’s Shefflin gamble failed to pay off, the risk of starting King Henry despite worries over a knee injury back-firing after just 12 minutes.
Richie Power took over the free-taking duties and finished with a 1-9 tally, but Kilkenny came second best in too many areas.
Corbett stunned the Cats with a goal in the tenth minute. He collected Shane McGrath’s long delivery before turning full-back Noel Hickey and finishing in style from close range past PJ Ryan.
Almost immediately, Kilkenny crafted a goal chance of their own, when Henry Shefflin sent TJ Reid through, but his shot was easily dealt with by Brendan Cummins.
And Brian Cody’s gamble with Shefflin backfired when his centre forward limped off after just 10 minutes when his injured knee failed to carry him any further.
Nevertheless, they narrowed the gap, with Richie Power taking over the free-taking duties to start drilling a series of efforts between the posts.
Tipp were still in control, however, and scores from Brendan Maher (2) and Eoin Kelly saw them open out a 1-7 to 0-4 lead.
Goalkeeper Brendan Cummins also got his name on the scoresheet with a point from a massive free.
But Kilkenny used their vast experience to drag themselves back into the game, with John Tennyson and Michael Fennelly performing heroically.
Power fired home a superb 33rd minute goal after Eoin Larkin had scythed through the Tipp defence and delivered the perfectly timed pass.
Two more Power frees narrowed the gap to a single point, Tipperary ahead by 1-10 to 1-9 at the break.
Skipper TJ Reid’s expertly executed sideline cut brought the sides level on 38 minutes, but Corbett’s second goal set Croke Park alight.
He gave PJ Ryan no chance with a screaming shot after getting on the end of Noel McGrath’s exquisite defence-splitting pass in the 42nd minute.
Two minutes later, Tipp had the ball in the net again, McGrath scrambling home from close range to open out a seven-point advantage and leave the McCarthy Cup holders with a mountain to climb.
But with Jackie Tyrell and Tommy Walsh driving from the back, the Cats started to claw their way back.
Power and Reid added to their personal tallies, and it looked as if a raft of substitutions had started to work for Brian Cody.
But Liam Sheedy’s decision to spring Seamus Callanan from the bench had an instant effect, with the big attacker sweeping over two magnificent points.
Fellow subs Benny Dunne and Seamus Hennessy also tagged on scores, and Padraic Maher was in imperious form at the back for Tipp, repelling a series of Kilkenny attacks.
And deep into stoppage time, a sweet triumph was sealed when Corbett drilled home to complete his hat-trick.
Tipperary: B Cummins (0-1, f), P Stapleton, P Curran, M Cahill, D Fanning, C O’Mahony, Padraic Maher, B Maher (0-2), S McGrath, G Ryan (0-1), Patrick Maher, J O’Brien (0-2), N McGrath (1-0), E Kelly (0-7, 7f), L Corbett (3-0).
Subs: C O’Brien for O’Mahony, S Callanan (0-2) for O’Brien, B Dunne (0-1) for S McGrath, S Hennessy (0-1) for B Maher
Kilkenny: PJ Ryan, J Dalton, N Hickey, J Tyrrell, T Walsh, J Tennyson, JJ Delaney, J Fitzpatrick, M Fennelly, TJ Reid (0-4, 1s/l), H Shefflin (0-1, f), E Larkin, E Brennan, R Power (1-9, 0-8f), A Fogarty (0-1).
Subs: M Rice (0-1) for Shefflin, M Comerford for Brennan, D Lyng (0-1) for Fitzpatrick, R Hogan for Fogarty, J Mulhall (0-1) for Reid.
Referee: M Wadding (Waterford)