Allianz HL D1A: Kilkenny snatch last gasp victory over Tipp
Allianz Hurling League Division 1A
KILKENNY 0-18 TIPPERARY 0-17
By John Harrington at Semple Stadium
Not for the first time, Kilkenny came out on top in a League match of fine margins against Tipperary at Semple Stadium today.
Goalkeeper Eoin Murphy was their hero, as he nailed a free from 85 yards deep into injury-time to snatch the victory.
It was a hard way for Tipperary to lose, because they conceded the free when Padraic Maher was adjudged to have touched the ball on the ground with his hand, though he insisted afterwards he hadn’t.
Tipperary had looked like the most likely victors when they turned a four point deficit into a one-point advantage after 60 minutes and were still ahead in the second minute of injury-time.
But the home supporters were left deflated when Richie Hogan levelled the contest and then Murphy struck his second long range free in the space of a couple of minutes.
The finish to the match felt all the more frantic because as a spectacle this game took a long time to cough and splutter into some life and never really hit many high revs.
The first-touch and decision making of both teams in the opening quarter of the match was poor enough, and there was little shape or flow to the contest.
Kilkenny, at least, were getting the score-board moving.
Direct running from their forwards was drawing fouls from the Tipperary defence, and Alan Murphy punished them with three converted frees in succession.
When Padraig Walsh and Billy Ryan then added sweet scores from play the Cats found themselves 0-5 to 0-1 ahead.
Tipperary frees from Seamus Callanan and Jason Forde narrowed the deficit before the Premier County and the game as a spectacle finally burst into some sort of life when Seamus Kennedy and John O’Dwyer struck two classy points from play that roused the home support.
Those scores weren’t quite a harbinger of further quality to come, unfortunately.
Both teams were still being frequently found guilty of hitting some aimless clearances and poor shooting, and by the end of a pedestrian enough first half Kilkenny were leading by 0-9 to 0-8.
The early stages of the second-half followed the same pattern, with one sequence of play summing up Tipperary’s malaise.
Niall O’Meara looked to have done the hard work when he was first to a well-placed James Barry clearance, but a scoring opportunity went abegging when he first lost his footing and then hit an over-cooked pass in Seamus Callanan’s direction that went wide.
In O'Meara's defence, he did hit two quality point during his time on the pitch and his effort could never be faulted.
Points from Walter Walsh and Alan Murphy had Kilkenny 0-13 to 0-9 ahead by the 44th minute but it was from that point on that Tipperary finally started to find their mojo.
John O’Dwyer, in particular, thundered into the game, and three classy points from him helped Tipperary into a 0-15 to 0-13 lead by the 60th minute.
Their advantage would have been even greater had Seamus Callanan not missed two scoreable frees, and after this defeat you can be sure that Tipperary supporters will continue to question why the free-taking duties aren’t given to Jason Forde on a full-time basis.
Kilkenny drew level with points from Martin Keoghan and Richie Leahy before a Forde free edged Tipperary ahead once more.
Murphy’s first long-range free drew the teams level before Noel McGrath looked like he had put Tipperary in the driver’s seat again with a long-range point in the second minute of injury-time.
As we know all too well by now, though, Kilkenny are never beat. And they displayed their trademark resilience once again in the final minute of injury-time to snatch the win.
Scorers for Kilkenny: Alan Murphy 0-7 (7f), Padraig Walsh 0-2, Walter Walsh 0-2, Eoin Murphy 0-2 (2f), Billy Ryan 0-1, Martin Keoghan 0-1, Richie Leahy 0-1, Richie Hogan 0-1, Ger Malone 0-1
Scorers for Tipperary: Seamus Callanan 0-5 (4f), John O’Dwyer 0-4, Noel McGrath 0-2, Jason Forde 0-2 (2f), Niall O’Meara 0-2, Seamus Kennedy 0-1, Robert Byrne 0-1
KILKENNY: Eoin Murphy; Paul Murphy, Conor Delaney, Tommy Walsh; Conor Fogarty, Paddy Deegan, Jason Cleere; Padraig Walsh, Alan Murphy, John Donnelly, Walter Walsh, Ger Malone; Billy Ryan, Liam Blanchfield, Martni Keoghan. Subs: Richie Leahy for John Donnelly (43), James Maher for Alan Murphy (52), Richie Hogan for Ger Malone (53), Niall Brassil for Liam Blanchfield (69)
TIPPERARY: Paul Maher; Alan Flynn, James Barry, Ronan Maher; Seamus Kennedy, Padraic Maher, Robert Byrne; Noel McGrath, Willie Connors; Patrick Maher, Michael Breen, John O’Dwyer; Jason Forde, Seamus Callanan, Niall O’Meara. Subs: Jake Morris for Willie Connors (43), Joe O’Dwyer for Seamus Kennedy (48), John McGrath for Patrick Maher (55), Ger Browne for Michael Breen (67)
Ref: Johnny Murphy (Limerick)