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Champion Tipperary Players Devastated

A wounded Cat is a dangerous enemy and Kilkenny overall were the better team this afternoon, against outgoing 2010 Champions Tipperary. Brian Cody’s men take their eight All Ireland final out of eleven, under his management and claim their 33rd all Ireland, in front of an official attendance of 81,214 fans.

It took 16 minutes before Tipperary made the score board, already 5 points down to Kilkenny, thanks to Henry Shefflin, Michael Fennelly,  and Richie Power, with Kilkenny winning all the high balls.

The Liam McCarthy Cup Goes Back To Kilkenny

Relief for the Premier County came when Tipperary eventually got on the scoreboard, with Padraic Maher picking out Noel McGrath, who split the posts for their first point of the afternoon. Eoin Kelly quickly followed up with a second point in the 18th minute.

As Tipperary are given a free, Kilkenny’s Tommy Walsh connects his hurley accidently with referee Brian Gavin’s nose in a short lived ensuing melee, bringing the game to a halt for 3 minutes, while the Clara Co Offaly, referee’s bloody nose received attention.

Minutes later Eoin Kelly splits the post from this following free, changing the scoreboard to Kilkenny 0-05 – Tipperary 0-03.

With Tipperary’s Brendan Maher now warming up on the sideline, Power made a break through the Tipperary midfielders to find Eddie Brennan who hits home a further point.  Eoin Kelly takes Tipperary back to within two points again, from a free, but this is cancelled out by Shefflin in the 33 minute who finds his range, with an excellent free, from close to the sideline.

Then came the score that possibly decided the match, when Shefflin finds Hogan, who in turn connects with Michael Fennelly, who strikes low to find the back of the net. Score now stands Kilkenny 1-07 -Tipperary 0-04.

Gearoid Ryan and Michael Rice exchange points and when Maher gets a free for being impeded by Kilkenny defender Noel Hickey, Kelly sends it over. At the half time whistle however the score board records Kilkenny 1-08 – Tipperary 0-06.

The second half starts without Shane McGrath and Seamus Callanan replaced by Benny Dunne and Pa Bourke.

Benny Dunne quickly rally the Tipperary players with a point, but this gain is cancelled by Shefflin one minute later. Points from Eoin Kelly and Conor O’Mahony are also quickly cancelled out by Colin Fennelly and Richie Power, then disaster, Richie Hogan finds the top corner of the net, thanks mainly to Eddie Brennan’s sudden burst through mid-field.

With the score Kilkenny 2-12 -Tipperary 0-10, Tipp now appear to be in big trouble.

Despite a point from Kelly, Henry Shefflin keeps Kilkenny’s lead at five points.

Then a brilliant pass by Lar Corbett, gives Pa Bourke a chance to shoot at goal with just David Herity to beat. Bourke’s low shot goes through the goalkeepers legs and into the back of the net. With just four points in the difference and 14 minutes to play Tipp appear to be once more back in definite contention.

But Kilkenny were hungry and Tipperary’s inability to catch high balls, together with further points from Kilkenny’s Colin Fennelly, Henry Shefflin and Eoin Larkin and despite points from Tipperary’s Noel McGrath, Eoin Kelly and Gearoid Ryan, the final result after 70 minutes ended with Kilkenny 2-17 – Tipperary 1-16 and  the Liam MacCarthy Cup going back to Kilkenny.

Tipperary Scorers: E. Kelly, (0-8, 0-7, f, 0-1, 65), N McGrath (0-3, 0-1 S/L), P Bourke (1-0), G Ryan (0-2), B Dunne, J O’Brien, C O’Mahony (0-1 each)

Big disappointment for Tipperary fans this time out, but consolation in that Tipperary has gotten to the All Ireland Final 2011.

A massive turnout is expected in Thurles to meet and cheer our champions on their return home tomorrow evening.

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