A moment’s silence was held in Semple Stadium today for legendary Tipperary goalkeeper Mr Tony Reddin, amongst others, before today’s throw-in for the much anticipated battle between Tipperary and Kilkenny, the results of which would decide progress to the Quarter-Finals of the Allianz Hurling League.
In front of a reported attendance of almost 10,500, Tipperary’s Seamus Callanan rattled home a magnificent 1-07 (10 pts), thus leaving Kilkenny guaranteed to be in a relegation play-off in their fight to preserve their Division 1A status.
This will be the first time under manager Brian Cody’s watch that Kilkenny has suffered three straight competitive defeats, possibly due to injuries and retirements. All eyes will be most firmly focused on the Nowlan Park fixture – Kilkenny V Clare – scheduled for next weekend.
Today’s game in the first half demonstrated all the indications of being a true championship experience, as both sides sought dominance. The game started with a goal in the first 30 seconds of play, from Kilkenny’s Jonjo Farrell, but Tipp’s Seamus Callanan had both sides level within three minutes, firing past the Cat’s Eoin Murphy leaving both teams all square by the 4th minute of play. Aided by this one goal (3 pts) in the first half and a second goal from N. O’Meara in the second half, it was to be Tipperary’s first victory against Kilkenny since their League success some two years ago and just their second in the last 12 League and Championship outings.
Nevertheless by half-time today Tipperary were showing a healthy seven point divide over their rivals – Tipperary 1-16 (19 pts) to Kilkenny’s 1-09 (12 pts) – and showing the names of nine of their players firmly engraved on the scoreboard. No doubt the discussion during the break in the Tipp dressing room did express concerns over the activities of Kilkenny’s Richie Hogan, latter who had almost single-handedly kept Kilkenny in touch.
In the second half the scoring rate dropped significantly but a 42nd minute penalty from the hurl of Kilkenny’s Richie Hogan failed to pass the vigilance of Brendan Maher, guarding the goal line. The setting up of Tipp’s Noel O’Meara by Seamus Callanan for his 54th-minute goal now saw the Premier County run a full 11 points clear: Tipperary 2-18 (24 pts) to Kilkenny 1-10 (13 pts).
Tipperary were again 13 points ahead just before the final whistle and finally declared the day with a prized 12 points lead, thus confirming their rightful place in the upcoming quarter-finals.
Final Score: Tipperary 2-22 (28 pts) – Kilkenny 1-13 (16 pts).
Tipperary Scorers: S. Callanan 1-07 (10 pts), N. O’Meara 1-02 (5 pts), J. O’Dwyer 0-04 (4 pts), N. McGrath 0-03 (3 pts), M. Breen 0-02 (2 pts), P. Maher, J. Woodlock, J. Forde and S. Bourke 0-01 each (1 pt).
Tipperary Team: D. Gleeson, P. Curran, C. O’Mahony, C. Barrett, M. Breen, P. Maher, R. Maher; K. Bergin, J. Woodlock, J. O’Dwyer, B. Maher, J. Forde, N. McGrath, S. Callanan, and N. O’Meara.
Substitutions: C. O’Brien for injured P. Curran, S. McGrath for J. Forde, J. McGrath for N. O’Meara, S. Bourke for N. McGrath and D. Egan for injured D. Gleeson.
Referee: J. McGrath (Westmeath).