Allianz HL D1A: Thurles thriller finishes level
Allianz Hurling League Division 1A
TIPPERARY 2-17 KILKENNY 3-14
By Jackie Cahill at Semple Stadium, Thurles
Tipperary maintained their unbeaten record in Division 1A of the Allianz League this evening, as sub Steven O’Brien scored a 70th minute point to draw a cracking match with Kilkenny.
Even then, there was time for Tipp to snatch the win, but John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer was wide with two point attempts – one from each flank.
In truth, a draw was a fair result as this helter-skelter fixture was a throwback to some of the classic games between the counties in recent years.
TJ Reid scored 3-5 – including two penalty goals for Kilkenny – as Seamus Callanan collected six points for Tipperary.
In front of 14,763 spectators, this was rip-roaring stuff and while Tipp led by four points at half-time, 2-11 to 2-7, there was never a suggestion that there would be a clear-cut winner.
The sides traded four goals in an entertaining first half – Tipp striking first in the third minute when John McGrath took advantage of chaos in the Kilkenny full-back line to pounce from close range.
But Kilkenny were level at 1-1 each when Reid fired home a bullet in the fifth minute, as Tipp goalkeeper Darragh Mooney was left rooted to the spot.
Tipp reeled off the next four points of the game and by the 22nd minute, they had their biggest lead of the game to date – 2-7 to 1-2 – when Niall O’Meara found the back of the Kilkenny net.
O’Dwyer was the provider and O’Meara held his nerve to strike an angled finish across Eoin Murphy and into the far corner.
That goal sent Tipp into a 2-7 to 1-2 lead but in a hugely-physical encounter, Reid was leading the Kilkenny charge.
He goaled again on the half hour mark for a penalty, awarded by referee James Owens for a Michael Cahill foul on Alan Murphy.
Again, Mooney had no chance, as Reid struck the ball with venomous speed from the 20m line.
Even then, there was still time for six further points in the opening half, Tipp winning that spell by 0-4 to 0-2, to lead by four at the break.
But from the 22nd minute, when Tipp had that eight-point advantage, they were outscored by 0-4 to 1-5 approaching half-time.
With 13 minutes of normal time remaining, Kilkenny had the chance to level when Liam Blanchfield was fouled, and Reid blasted past Mooney again.
Richie Hogan, moved into full-forward, was proving a handful and a couple of classy points kept the scoreboard ticking over for the Noresiders.
But on four occasions down the home straight, they were deadlocked – and Kilkenny goalkeeper Murphy had a big say in that.
Four minutes from time, John McGrath looked odds-on to goal when he skipped past Paul Murphy, but Eoin Murphy performed heroics to keep him out.
On the follow-up, Callanan hit a ground-stroke wide and buoyed by that, Kilkenny edged ahead with a point from Cillian Buckley.
O’Brien levelled in the 70th minute – but the two additional minutes failed to provide a winner.
Scorers for Tipperary: Seamus Callanan 0-6 (3fs, 1 65), John McGrath 1-2, Niall O’Meara 1-1, Sean Curran and Dan McCormack 0-2 each, Padraic Maher, Noel McGrath, John O’Dwyer and Steven O’Brien 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 3-5 (2-0 pens, 4fs), Richie Hogan 0-4, Cillian Buckley 0-3, Walter Walsh 0-2.
TIPPERARY: Darragh Mooney; John O’Keeffe, James Barry, Michael Cahill; Tomás Hamill, Ronan Maher, Pádraic Maher; Sean Curran, Michael Breen; Dan McCormack, Niall O’Meara, Noel McGrath; John O’Dwyer, Seamus Callanan, John McGrath.
Subs: Kieran Bergin for Breen (35), Jason Forde for McCormack (55), Seamus Kennedy for Cahill (58), Steven O’Brien for O’Meara (68).
KILKENNY: Eoin Murphy; Paul Murphy, Pádraig Walsh, Conor O’Shea; Conor Fogarty, Shane Prendergast, Jason Cleere; Paddy Deegan, Cillian Buckley; Colin Fennelly, Richie Hogan, TJ Reid; Alan Murphy, Walter Walsh, Liam Blanchfield.
Sub: James Maher for A Murphy (40).
REFEREE: James Owens (Wexford).