Allianz HL D1: Kilkenny edge Tipp in thriller
Allianz Hurling League Division 1A
KILKENNY 2-22 TIPPERARY 2-21
By John Fallon at Nowlan Park
Richie Leahy struck a late winner as Kilkenny edged out old rivals Tipperary in an Allianz League clash which really burst into life in the third quarter.
All four goals came in the opening 12 minutes of the second-half with Kilkenny opening up a seven points lead but then found themselves two adrift with 15 minutes remaining.
But just when it seemed that the sides would share the spoils, Leahy hit his third point of the second-half to snatch victory.
Kilkenny led by 0-13 to 0-12 at the interval after a lively opening half where the sides were deadlocked five times.
The accuracy of TJ Reid edged Kilkenny in front and by the interval he scored 0-9, three of which came from play and two more from 65'’.
Tipperary, who started well and led by 0-4 to 0-1 after seven minutes with Niall O’Meara picking off two of those points, hit nine wides to Kilkenny’s four in the first-half of the contest which was played in sunshine in front of a crowd of 10,587.
Tipperary full-forward Michael Breen, on free-taking duties, landed 0-5 in the opening half but they were hauled back by the end of the opening quarter as Reid landed points from all angles.
Goal chances were scarce but the accuracy of Reid helped Kilkenny pull away and open up a 0-12 to 0-9 lead eight minutes from the break.
But Tipp responded with Breen tacking on a couple of scores and Brendan Maher cut the gap to the minimum at the break when he shot his third point of the opening half from distance.
The second-half exploded when Walter Walsh got in for Kilkenny’s opening goal just a minute after the restart and then Luke Scanlon worked his way in from the left and also found the net.
That pushed the Cats 2-13 to 0-12 in front but Michael Breen hit back after impressive substitute Mark Russell knocked down a high ball.
Reid responded with a point but then Breen cracked home an excellent goal from the right to cut the gap to two after 47 minutes.
A point from Russell drew the sides level after 53 minutes before Billy McCarthy and Breen edged Tipperary in front.
But Kilkenny met the challenge head-on and they got back level with nine minutes on the clock with Leahy and Richie Reid among their scorers.
Reid and Ronan Maher exchanged points to leave it 2-19 apiece seven minutes from time before another effort from Reid and one from Alan Murphy put Kilkenny two in front.
Back came Tipperary and Brendan Maher and Breen shot points to level going into stoppage time but just as a draw seemed likely, Leahy landed the winner for the Cats.
Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 0-13 (0-7, 0-2 ’65), Walter Walsh 1-0, Luke Scanlon 1-0, Richie Leahy 0-3, Conor Browne 0-1, James Maher 0-1, Liam Blanchfield 0-1, Pat Lyng 0-1, Richie Reid 0-1, Alan Murphy.
Scorers for Tipperary: Michael Breen 2-9 (0-7f), Brendan Maher 0-4, Niall O’Meara 0-2, Ronan Maher 0-1 (0-1 sideline), Sean Curran 0-1, Billy McCarthy 0-1, Patrick Maher 0-1, Cian Darcy 0-1, Mark Russell 0-1.
KILKENNY: Darren Brennan; Enda Morrissey, Joey Holden, Paddy Deegan; Conor O’Shea, Cillian Buckley (c), Conor Browne; James Maher, Liam Blanchfield; Martin Keoghan, TJ Reid, Pat Lyng; Richie Leahy, Walter Walsh, Luke Scanlon. *Subs: *Alan Murphy for Blanchfield (47), Lester Ryan for Lyng (50), Richie Reid for Keoghan (60), Conor Martin for Scanlon (65).
TIPPERARY: Daragh Mooney; Alan Flynn, Tomás Hamill, Sean O’Brien; Seamus Kennedy, James Barry, Donagh Maher; Brendan Maher, Ronan Maher; Sean Curran, Billy McCarthy, Patrick Maher; Ger Browne, Michael Breen, Niall O’Meara.Subs: Mark Russell for Browne (36), Cian Darcy for O’Meara (43).
*Referee: *Alan Kelly (Galway)