Tipperary 2-29 Kilkenny 2-20
By John Fogarty
A barnstorming response to an early second half Kilkenny goal was the catalyst for Tipperary’s first All-Ireland title triumph in six years.
Kevin Kelly’s 42nd minute put last year’s winners two points up but Tipperary’s reply was the mark of champions. Man of the match Seamus Callanan, scoring one of 13 points, added a free and they were back level through substitute Jason Forde.
Callanan was sharp from play two minutes later and then John O’Dwyer found the net, rounding Paul Murphy after Cathal Barrett had broke from defence to send the ball in his direction.
After Forde and John McGrath had shots saved, Pádraic Maher found his range to cap a 1-4 unanswered rally, which was arrested by a TJ Reid point. But Tipperary tagged on another three points in succession to take a seven-point lead.
With 15 minutes of normal time, Kilkenny looked beaten yet Gleeson had to be big to block a Kelly goalbound shot. Pádraig Walsh scored a brace of points yet each of them was answered as was Reid’s 59th minute free by Forde. A Kelly sideline was more than cancelled out by John McGrath’s 61st minute goal, when he was fed by his older brother Noel who had stolen possession, one of many robs the Tipperary forward line achieved over the afternoon.
Richie Hogan followed it up with a goal but O’Dwyer was firing over again and then Eoin Murphy had to be level to another John McGrath effort. Kilkenny mustered just a Reid free in the dying stages but Tipperary kept the scoreboard ticking over with efforts from Callanan and Patrick Maher’s second point closed out the game.
Incredibly, the sides were level on 10 occasions in the first half and were never more than two points apart, Kilkenny enjoying that advantage after nine minutes and Tipperary claiming it on the cusp of half-time when O’Dwyer sent over a long-range free to give them a 0-14 to 0-12 interval lead.
Tipperary hit eight wides in the first half and will have felt they were the better team considering how much Kilkenny had to rely on frees – five of them coming from Reid – and the ability of the Tipperary forwards to put so much pressure on Kilkenny’s backs as they attempted to clear their lines.
Ronan Maher had Reid and Richie Hogan for company but impressed on both and the Cats’ pair, particularly Hogan, were relatively anonymous in general play. Both Callanan and O’Dwyer were exquisite at times although Callanan was blocked down with a relatively easy free in the 16th minute.
Kilkenny did have goal chances in the form of a Darren Gleeson save from Colin Fennelly in the 19th minute and then Eoin Larkin pushing wide a ground shot when Reid delivered long in the 24th minute although Patrick Maher and Callanan also had opportunities which flew over the crossbar.
Scorers for Tipperary: S. Callanan (0-13, 3 frees, 1 65); J. O’Dwyer (1-5, 0-1 sideline, 0-1 free); J. McGrath (1-3); J. Forde, Patrick Maher (0-2 each), N. McGrath, S. Kennedy, D. McCormack, Pádraic Maher (0-1 each).
Scorers for Kilkenny: T.J. Reid (0-11, 10 frees, 1 65); K. Kelly (1-2, 0-1 sideline); R. Hogan (1-1); E. Larkin, P. Walsh (0-2 each); W. Walsh, C. Buckley (0-1 each).
TIPPERARY: D. Gleeson; C. Barrett, J. Barry, M. Cahill; S. Kennedy, R. Maher, Pádraic Maher; B. Maher (c), M. Breen; D. McCormack, Patrick Maher, N. McGrath; J. McGrath, S. Callanan, J. O’Dwyer.
Subs for Tipperary: J. Forde for M. Breen (45); N. O’Meara for D. McCormack (62); D. Maher for M. Cahill (65); K. Bergin for N. McGrath (70); T. Hamill for S. Kennedy (70+3).
KILKENNY: E. Murphy; P. Murphy, J. Holden, S. Prendergast (c); P. Walsh, K. Joyce, C. Buckley; T.J. Reid, C. Fogarty; W. Walsh, R. Hogan, E. Larkin; K. Kelly, C. Fennelly, L. Blanchfield.
Subs for Kilkenny: R. Lennon for K. Joyce, L. Ryan for E. Larkin (both 60).
Referee: B. Gavin (Offaly).