Tipperary 2-17 Kilkenny 1-19
Tipperary and Kilkenny both finished with 14 men in a fiery Allianz National Hurling League encounter in Thurles this afternoon.
Tipp won for the first time in five outings against Kilkenny as the Cats crashed to a second successive League defeat.
The champions now have serious work to do if they want to retain their crown as Tipp won by a single point at a bitterly cold Semple Stadium.
Tipp gained sweet revenge for last year’s 18-point All-Ireland semi-final mauling at the hands of Kilkenny but one of the major talking points from this afternoon’s tie was Michael Wadding’s refereeing.
The Waterford whistler, who took charge of the 2010 All-Ireland final between the sides, sent off Kilkenny’s Tommy Walsh with ten minutes remaining.
And Tipp were down to 14 players themselves three minutes later when Noel McGrath received a second yellow card following a tangle with Richie Power.
At that point, Tipp were clinging on to to a 2-15 to 1-16 lead before Power’s free reduced the deficit to just a single point.
Tipp responded through another sub, Shane Bourke, before Tipp’s top scorer Eoin Kelly pushed the Premier County three points clear again.
Kilkenny were back within striking distance again when Power and Richie Hogan landed points but time ran out for Cody’s men and the Noresiders badly need a victory against Waterford in their next outing.
5697 spectators turned up for this afternoon’s tussle on a bitterly cold afternoon.
And they witnessed redemption too for Lar Corbett, who was roundly criticised for his performance in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final.
Corbett scored his first goal for Tipperary since the 2011 All-Ireland semi-final victory over Dublin and enjoyed a productive outing.
Playing with the aid of a stiff breeze in the first half, Tipp went on to establish a 2-11 to 1-8 interval lead.
Richie Hogan netted a 15th minute goal to put Kilkenny 1-4 to 0-4 clear but Tipp, heavily beaten by Cork in the opening round of League fixtures, hit back with two goals before half-time.
Tipp’s first goal, in the 27th minute, was a fortuitous effort as Conor O’Mahony’s long ball bounced off the helmet of John O’Dwyer and into the Kilkenny net.
Corbett struck three minutes before half-time, beating Kilkenny goalkeeper David Herity to Pádraic Maher’s lengthy delivery with a neat flick.
Bit by bit, Kilkenny clawed their way back into contention during the second half, closing to within a point with eleven minutes remaining.
But Tipp held out for a morale-boosting victory and their first points of the League campaign.
Scorers for Kilkenny: R Power 0-9 (8f, 1 65), R Hogan 1-2, E Larkin 0-3 (1 sl), P Hogan 0-2 (1f), A Fogarty, M Ruth & C Fennelly 0-1 each.
Scorers for Tipperary: E Kelly 0-9 (7f, 1 65), L Corbett 1-1, J O’Dwyer 1-0, P Bourke 0-2 (1f), P Maher, N McGrath, B Maher, S Bourke & S Callanan 0-1 each.
KILKENNY: D Herity; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, C Fogarty; T Walsh, B Hogan, P Hogan; L Ryan, R Power; M Kelly, C Fennelly, E Larkin; M Ruth, R Hogan, A Fogarty.
Subs: K Joyce for B Hogan (47), T Breen for Ruth (52), G Aylward for Kelly (65).
TIPPERARY: D Gleeson; P Stapleton, P Curran, M Cahill; P Maher, C O’Mahony, C O’Brien; A Ryan, B Maher; N McGrath, L Corbett, J O’Brien; J O’Dwyer, E Kelly, P Bourke.
Subs: S Bourke for Ryan (51), S Callanan for O’Dwyer (57), T Hamill for O’Mahony (58), B O’Meara for Bourke (61), J Forde for J O’Brien (66).
Referee: M Wadding (Waterford).