Kilkenny 2-23 Tipperary 2-17
In a massive crowd on Sunday afternoon in Nowlan Park, Kilkenny were crowned league champions for the 18th time with a 6-point win over rivals Tipperary. To be fair to hurling spectators around the country not many would have predicted Kilkenny to be league champions after the opening two round of the league as they suffered losses, but since then have put an unbeaten run together.
Tipperary were full value for their 1-10 to 0-11 lead at the break in a nip and tuck first half. The sides were indeed level halfway through the first on 0-04 each with TJ Reid and Jason Forde coming to the fore for their respective sides. TJ Reid then powered Kilkenny into the lead 0-06 to 0-05 having scored two glorious points in a row on 22 minutes, however Tipperary fought back almost instantly, Forde blasted to the net past Murphy from the yard line, before Michael Breen set up Sean Curran to leave the Premier in front by 1-06 to 0-06. Reid tapped over a free in response, before he cut the gap to the minimum on the half hour mark with a superb score from play. Tipperary to be fair though were full value for their half time lead and Jason Forde showed his accuracy from placed balls before the break to ensure Michael Ryan’s men led by two points.
The second half was weird in a way, as many probably didn’t expect Kilkenny to come thundering out of the blocks. Walter Walsh popped up with an early second half goal after getting on the end of a long delivery from the superb Conor Delaney before he rounded James Barry to fire to the net, the game was all square 1-12 each approaching 40 minutes. Kilkenny then hit a purple patch hitting 0-06 to Tipperary’s 0-01 in a 20-minute spell. John Donnelly converting a lovely point was a highlight. Jason Forde got Tipperary to back within four though when he tapped over on 58 minutes, 1-18 to 1-14 to Brian Cody’s men. Kilkenny hit another two points though through Liam Blanchfield and the impressive Reid to tighten their grip on proceedings to lead 1-21 to 1-14. Conor Fogarty all but sealed the win on 63 minutes when he powered through the heart of the Tipperary defence to send a large majority of the 17,000 plus people in the stands into joy. There was to be no way back for the Premier despite a free from Jason Forde that just went in and over the line, but it was to little to late as Kilkenny were crowned champions.
Man of the Match: TJ Reid
Allianz HL Division 1 final
At Nowlan Park
Kilkenny – E Murphy (0-1); J Holden, P Walsh, P Deegan; C Delaney, C Buckley, E Morrissey; R Leahy (0-1), J Maher; M Keoghan (0-1), TJ Reid (0-15), J Donnelly (0-2); A Murphy, W Walsh (1-2), B Sheehan. Subs: L Blanchfield (0-1) for A Murphy, L Scanlon for B Sheehan, C Fogarty (1-0) for R Leahy, C Martin for J Donnelly.
Tipperary – D Mooney; A Flynn, J Barry, M Cahill; B Heffernan, R Maher, P Maher; B Maher, S Kennedy (0-1); S Curran (0-1), B McCarthy, J McGrath (0-2); W Connors (0-1), J Forde (2-12), M Breen. Subs: J O’Dwyer for M Breen, C Barrett for S Kennedy, M Russell for S Curran, D Maher for J Barry.
Referee – A Kelly.