Kilkenny 2-14 Tipperary 2-14
Substitute Richie Hogan scored with the second last puck of the game as Kilkenny rescued a 2-14 to 2-14 draw against Tipperary in today's Erin All-Ireland U21 hurling final at Croke Park.
Hogan pounced for his goal three minutes into injury-time, rifling a ground shot past Gerry Kennedy to reel Tipp back in and set up a replay next Saturday in Portlaoise.
Neither side deserved to lose what was a rip-roaring encounter, particularly Fr Tom Fogarty's Munster champions, who were given little chance of preventing the Cats from nabbing their county's first All-Ireland senior-and-U21 double since 2003.
Five frees from senior star James 'Cha' Fitzpatrick helped Kilkenny go in at the break with a 0-09 to 0-08 lead – Darragh Egan (0-04) led the Tipp scoring during the opening half.
The second period was only six minutes old when Egan, who made his senior debut last year, netted from a 21-yard free to push Tipp in front. However Richie Power's rocket-like finish in the 48th-minute pegged it back to 1-13 apiece.
Tipp replied with their second goal, five minutes later, when Niall Teehan flicked home, giving them every hope of lifting a first U21 title since 1995. Yet despite having substitute Maurice Nolan sent off, the Cats lived to fight another day.
The omens were good for Kilkenny when Paddy Hogan flung over the opening point inside ten seconds. It took Tipp seven minutes before they registered their first score – midfielder Stephen Lillis crept over a free from distance.
By the end of the first quarter-hour, the Cats' ability to win easy frees, particularly the elusive Power, was coming to the fore – Fitzpatrick hit over four placed balls to help his side into a 0-05 to 0-02 lead. David Sheppard had lofted over the other Tipp point.
Three points on the trot from Tipp had them back on terms by the 20th-minute, with Egan flashing over off his right side and notching his first free, and centre-fielder James Woodlock darting through for a solo score.
A mistake from Jim Bob McCarthy allowed Paddy Hogan to reply for the Cats, before Austin Murphy had his opening point cancelled out at the other end by tigerish Tipp captain David Young.
The sides hit four more points between them before the half's end – the barrel-chested Egan notched two frees, while TJ Reid and Fitzpatrick (free) also sandwiched in scores.
The pace of the hurling went up a notch for the second half, which began with Tipp substitute Danny O'Hanlon having a kicked effort batted away by Liam Tierney.
Lillis stroked over a free to draw the sides level for the third time at 0-09 apiece. Murphy, one of Kilkenny's best forwards on the day, replied before Egan rippled the net with his thunderous free.
It was point for point after that with Fitzpatrick, Woodlock, Power, Teehan, Murphy and Ryan O'Dwyer exchanging scores. When Lillis raised another white flag, Kilkenny looked in trouble, trailing by 1-13 to 0-13, but up popped Power with a sublime finish from 15 yards out.
Kennedy stood no chance as the Liam McCarthy Cup winner found the top right corner of the Tipp net with a stinging drive. Hogan even sent the Cats ahead again – he steadied himself, far out on the right flank, to fire over a hair-raising point.
Tipp bounced straight back with Teehan showing great strength to tee up Egan for a neat point – the sides were level for a fifth time at 1-14 apiece.
What should have been the turning point came seconds later when Teehan dribbled the ball towards the Hill 16 goal with his feet before flicking a shot beyond Tierney's grasp into the far left corner.
A one-goal lead with seven minutes remaining – surely Tipp could hold on? The answer was ultimately no, but Kilkenny certainly left it late.
Tipp 'keeper Kennedy came into his own in the closing stages – he produced some brilliant shot-stopping, denying a certain goal for Hogan before getting back on his feet immediately to beat out a close range attempt from Power.
In the last minute of normal time, the final nail looked to have been put in Kilkenny's coffin when they lost Nolan for a silly strike on Woodlock. But Adrian Finan's side drew on their ninth life when a Michael Fennelly ball in was deflected into the path of Hogan, who smashed it home to book a second day out.
Kilkenny: L Tierney; K Joyce, J Tennyson, S Cummins; P Hartly, J Dalton, D Fogarty; J Fitzpatrick (0-06 (0-06f)), M Fennelly (capt); TJ Reid (0-01), A Murphy (0-03), P Hogan (0-02); A Healy, R Power (1-01), D McCormack.
Subs used: R Hogan (1-01) for Healy (40 mins), M Nolan for Hogan (56)
Tipperary: G Kennedy; P Stapleton, A Byrne, C O'Brien; D Young (capt) (0-01), JB McCarthy, S Horan; J Woodlock (0-02), S Lillis (0-03 (0-02f)); R O'Dwyer (0-01), N Teehan (1-01), D Sheppard (0-01); R Ruth, D Egan (1-05 (1-03f)), R McLoughney.
Subs used: D O'Hanlon for McLoughney, D Hickey for Ruth (both half-time), K Quinlan for McCarthy (50)
Referee: Michael Haverty (Galway).