Hogans heroic as Kilkenny remain on course for hat-trick

Kilkenny 1-8 Tipperary 0-10

The difficult conditions ruled out free-flowing hurling, but credit victors and vanquished for serving up a game that was always entertaining and in which the outcome hung in the balance right to the end.

Tipperary seemed to be chasing it for most of the way, but they never allowed Kilkenny out of sight, and put in a storming finish which went close to earning them a reprieve which wouldn’t have flattered them.

Central to that late rally was second-half substitute Niall Bergin, whose two late points narrowed the deficit to the minimum, although he should surely have tried for the goal instead of opting for that second point.

Kilkenny displayed all the character and resilience that stamps them as a formidable outfit and won’t be easily dislodged from their champion pedestal.

It was Tipp who made the better start, with the excellent Kieran Bergin and accurate freetaker Darragh Hickey landing points.

Sixty seconds later, however, Kilkenny were in front, and, in retrospect, Gavin Nolan’s goal was to be the most crucial score of the game.

Ironically, a Tipp defence that stood defiant throughout just might be faulted for failing to clear its lines and Nolan’s finish was clinical after being set up by Eoin Guinan.

With corner-forward Richard Hogan a constant danger, and his brother Patrick emerging more and more as an influential midfield presence, the Cats kept their noses in front throughout a half in which both defences seldom looked under serious threat.

Tipp, however, will rue a golden Darragh Hickey goal chance that went a begging in the 16th minute.

That let-off enabled the Cats to lead 1-5 to 0-5 at the break.

Tipp restarted with Kieran Bergin at midfield, and he gave them the perfect start with a superb 32nd minute point.

He picked off another in the 40th minute to narrow the deficit to the minimum, and Kilkenny had to wait all of 17 minutes to add to their tally when Richard Hogan landed a great point.

The classy forward found the range again 30 seconds later and though Darragh Egan had it back to the minimum again it was the other Hogan, midfielder Patrick, who gave the champions vital breathing space with the best score of the game in the 53rd minute.

Tipp thundered forward in quest of the scores that might save or even win this semi-final. Ray McLoughney effected several great clearances as their defence put up the shutters, and sub Niall Bergin made his mark with a quality point two minutes into added time.

He landed another a minute later when he should have gone for the goal, but the clock had run down on them, and from the puck-out came the final whistle that confirmed the champions’ place in the final.

The hat-trick dream is still very much a reality for Kilkenny.

Scorers: Kilkenny; R. Hogan (0-4); G. Nolan (1-0); E. Guinan (0-2); M. Nolan, P. Hogan (0-1) each. Tipperary; K. Bergin (0-3); D. Hickey (0-3); N. Bergin (0-2); S. Long, D. Egan (0-1) each.

KILKENNY: L. Tierney; J. Maher, K. Joyce, E. Walsh; N. Prendergast, R. Maher, S. Prendergast; P. Hartley, P. Hogan; G. Nolan, N. Kenny, E. O’Donoghue; R. Hogan, M. Nolan, E. Guinan. Subs. M. Ruth for O’Donoghue, J. J. Farrell for Guinan.

TIPPERARY: M. Ryan; I. Delaney, S. Ryan, R. McLoughney; S. O’Brien, J. McCarthy, J. McLoughney; J. Woodlock, R. McGrath; K. Bergin, J. Dixon, D. Egan; D. Hickey, P. Ivors, S. Long. Subs; S. Lillis for Ryan (inj); N. Bergin for Woodlock; C. Larkin for Ivors; T. King for Dixon.

Referee: D. Richardson, Limerick.

More in this section

Puzzles logo

Puzzles hub

Sport Push Notifications

By clicking on 'Sign Up' you will be the first to know about our latest and best sporting content on this browser.

Sign Up

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Puzzles logo

Puzzles hub

Cookie Policy Privacy Policy FAQ Help Contact Us Terms and Conditions

© Irish Examiner Ltd