Despite conceding the opening score within 20 seconds of the throw-in, Tipperary had few problems disposing of the challenge of a visiting Kerry team in the first round of the Munster minor hurling championship.
Tipp came into this game in Thurles as hot favourites and duly had the win all but sealed by half-time, leading by 3-10 to 0-5.
However, that was after a start which saw them struggle to get up to championship pace as Daniel Collins pointed for Kerry in the early seconds. Kevin Slattery opened Tipp’s account with a goal shortly afterwards but Kerry managed to drag themselves level by the 10th minute, with a flurry of scores.
Once Tipperary got their second goal through Mark McCarthy, it smoothed the passage for an unanswered run up to the interval and allowed them a hefty lead.
McCarthy secured their third goal in the 25th minute and, in truth, Tipperary could have had a couple more in that first half but for some fine shot-stopping by Jason Wallice between the Kerry posts.
After the break it was again the young Kerry hurlers who first troubled the scorekeeper, with Michael O’Leary pointing on the run, but it didn’t take long for the home team to rouse themselves again and they were able to maintain a decent lead.
John McGrath goaled with a penalty after Jack Shelly was felled at the end of a strong run through the centre and this was followed in the 38th minute by Mark McCarthy completing his hat-trick to make it 5-13 to 0-6 by that stage.
Tipp were comfortable enough then to bring off the three-goal man and some of their other top players in favour of fresher legs and they were never seriously threatened for the remainder of the game, team captain Bill Maher getting their sixth goal to complete the rout.
Scorers for Tipperary: M McCarthy 3-1 (0-1 sl), J McGrath 1-6 (1-0pen, 0-3f, 0-1 65), K Slattery 1-4 (0-2f), B Maher 1-1, J Shelly 0-3 (1f), S Cahill 0-4 (1sl), D Fitzelle, J Loughnane 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kerry: R Heffernan 0-4 (3f), M O’Leary 0-3, D Collins, B O’Leary 0-2 each.
TIPPERARY: P Maher; L Mullally, M Breen, J Peters; R Maher, T Hamill, T Kirwan; B Maher, S Nally; D Fitzelle, J Shelly, S Cahill; M McCarthy, J McGrath, K Slattery. Subs: S O’Brien for J Shelly, T Gallagher for M McCarthy, J Loughnane for T Hamill, J Lonergan for B Maher, S Ryan for J McGrath.
KERRY: J Wallice; F Horgan, K Skinner, K Carmody; T McElligott, D Fitzell, T Casey; D Collins, B O’Leary; M O’Leary, T Casey, K Fitzgerald; P McGrath, R Heffernan, C Hussey.
Subs: K Hanafin for F Horgan, S Leahy for T Casey,
Referee: Jason O’Mahony (Limerick).
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