Kilkenny: the most successful All-Ireland Senior Hurling team

When Kilkenny meet Tipperary in the final of the All-Ireland Hurling Championship at Croke Park on Sunday 18th August, it will be the sixth time in the last 10 years that the two sides have met in the final.

Looking at Kilkenny vs Tipperary odds from Paddy Power, the outright favourites for the title this year are Tipp; however, Kilkenny are the most successful Hurling team, with 36 titles and 26 runner-up finishes at the All-Ireland Championship. In addition to this, at county level, representing Leinster, Kilkenny have 71 titles, which is more than all the other teams inter-county, combined. Despite not winning the All-Ireland Championship since 2015 and failing to make a final since 2016, The Cats were dominant in the noughties and here, we will look back at some of their most famous wins.

2008: a one-sided win

Kilkenny’s 2008 success is ranked as one of the most one-sided finals to date. They faced Waterford, who hadn’t made a final for over 40 years. In winning the Championship, Kilkenny overtook Cork as the most successful team in the ‘Roll of Honour’, also achieving the feat of three titles in a row – something they went on to extend, the following year.

The final was by no means a classic, but memorable because it emphasised Kilkenny’s dominance, not just in the game, but in the history of the sport. The game was pretty much over at half-time, with The Cats leading 2-16 to 0-5. By the end Kilkenny, not only had the title but the satisfaction of winning by the greatest margin in 80 years – with the final score being 3-30 to 1-13.

2012 & 2014: two replays in three years

If the 2008 final was one-sided, the 2012 and 2014 finals were anything but – with both matches going to a replay after a draw. In 2012, Kilkenny were defending their title and took on Galway, who hadn’t won the Championship since 1988 but had finished runner-up on four occasions in subsequent finals.

In the opening game, Galway went ahead and were in control of the first half, going in at the break with a lead of 1-9 to 0-7. However, the comeback for Kilkenny was on in the second half, with The Cats levelling the scores on three occasions to take the game to a replay.

The 2014 final was against long-standing rivals, Tipperary – and it was the first time the two sides had played out a draw in an All-Ireland final. It was also one of the highest-scoring finals to date, as well as the third year in a row that the final was decided by a replay.

Once again, it was a frantic final, with end-to-end action, and one team scoring, with the other almost immediately replying. Kilkenny were lucky to take the game to a replay, with Kilkenny unsure whether or not they had scored – Hawk-Eye was brought in to play and revealed the shot had gone wide. However, in the replay, Kilkenny were made the favourites and didn’t disappoint, making it a 35th title, winning the game by just three points: 2-17 – 2-14. 

Other All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championships of note

1904: Kilkenny won their first Championship (beat Cork 1-9 – 1-8)

1975: the first 70-minute final (Kilkenny 2-15 – 2-9 Cork)

2000: first Championship title under current manager Brian Cody (beat Offaly 5-15 – 1-14)

2009: Kilkenny make it four titles in a row (beat Tipperary 2-22 – 0-23)

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