Hickey on fire as Tipp master champions

Tipperary 1-15 Kerry 0-11

Tipperary were well up for the contest with wing forward and former senior Benny Hickey scoring 1-8. However it was wings backs Paddy Dalton and Tommy Ryan who did most of the damage to a very porous Kerry defence.

In mitigation, 11 Kerry players had played with their clubs the previous evening but they also kicked 15 wides. Indeed the margin of victory could have been wider if Tipperary hadn’t been denied goals on three occasions with Kerry defenders effecting superb blocks.

Tipperary had the wind in the opening half and ran the Kerry defence ragged with Benny Hickey and young Gavin Ryan catching the eye. Gavin O’Grady opened Kerry’s account with a third minute free but they then shot six first quarter wides as Benny Hickey hit four points in the same period and Ryan was denied a goal by a super Ambrose Lannigan block.

Kerry finally got going thanks to some fine fielding by Aidan Walsh and surging running by Padraig Ó Sé and Pa Kilkenny. Points from Alan Fitzgerald (three) and Aidan Walsh closed the gap to just two, 0-7 to 0-5, three minutes before the interval. Then Tipperary enjoyed an explosive spell just that saw Adrian Walsh and Laurence Coskeran kick points and shocking Kerry defending saw Ryan play Benny Hickey to side foot home a simple goal as Tipperary retired 1-9 to 0-5 in front at the break.

Tipperary resumed with points from man of the match Hickey and Thomas Hanley.

The home side rallied and closed the gap to four points (1-11 to 0-10) midway through the second half thanks to three Philip O’Connor points, and one each from Fitzgerald and Niall Sheehy but they kicked far too many wides.

Gavin O’Grady and Michael O’Sullivan swapped points as Tipperary finished strongly with Hickey kicking three late scores to cap a memorable win.

Scorers for Tipperary: B Hickey 1-8 (0-3 frees), T Ryan 0-2, A Walsh, T Hanley, L Coskeran, G Ryan and M O’Sullivan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kerry: A Fitzgerald 0-4 (1f), P O’Connor 0-3, G O’Grady 0-2 (1 45, 1f), A Walsh and N Sheehy 0-1 each.

KERRY: S Dee; P Ó Sé, A Lannigan, E Kiely; P Kilkenny, B O’Sullivan, N Fitzgerald; C McGillycuddy, A Walsh; G Sayers, A Fitzgerald, A Breen; G O’Grady, C Keating, P O’Connor.

Subs: J Hickson for G Sayers (41), N Sheehy for C Keating (41), D Somers for A Breen (45), G Crowley for N Fitzgerald (55), D Daly for G O’Grady (58).

TIPPERARY: J English; C Higgins, A Kelly, G Mulhaire; P Dalton, C Morrissey, T Ryan; C McGrath, E Ryan; A Walsh, T Hanley, B Hickey; L Coskeran, G Ryan, B Quinn.

Subs: D Heffernan for B Quinn (46), M O’Sullivan for L Coskeran (48), D Butler for E Ryan (59).

Referee: M Condon (Waterford).

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