Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Final – Kilkenny 2-17 Tipperary 0-20

Kilkenny 2-17 Tipperary 0-20

Report from the RTE Sport web site

Kilkenny scored a three-point victory over Tipperary at Nowlan Park this afternoon to claim the Allianz national Hurling League Division 1 crown for a 16th time, 2-17 to 0-20. The Cats retained their League crown following a fiercely-contested tie that saw Tipp forward Lar Corbett and Kilkenny defender JJ Delaney sent off in the second half. Referee Barry Kelly dismissed the pair in the 46th minute after they ended up grappling on the ground 14 yards from the Kilkenny goal.

The sides were level with 20 minutes remaining before Kilkenny hit three unanswered points to establish a match-winning lead, in front of 21,447 spectators. It was an advantage the All-Ireland champions would hold all the way to the finish in the first National Hurling League final played at Nowlan Park since 1966. At half-time, Kilkenny led by 2-07 to 0-11 – with returning midfielder Michael Fennelly hitting 2-03 of that tally.

Kilkenny were first back out onto the pitch for the second half and Tipperary could face a fine from Croke Park after they were late out. Tipp boss Eamon O’Shea may have wanted to pass on some extra direction to his players – with Fennelly causing the visitors serious damage from centre forward in the opening half. Kilkenny manager Brian Cody was absent once again as he continues to recuperate from heart surgery but he surely had a say in positioning Fennelly in direct opposition to Tipp defender Pádraic Maher. It was a tactic that worked extremely well as Kilkenny, playing against the breeze, made better use of possession to edge two points clear at the break.

In the early exchanges, it looked like Kilkenny would blitz Tipp as they led by 1-02 to 0-03 with less than three minutes on the watch. Lester Ryan – excellent again and the find of the season for the Noresiders – pointed with just nine seconds on the watch and after Eoin Larkin followed up with a pointed free, Fennelly stormed through the centre of Tipp’s defence to whip home a fantastic goal. But Tipp – with Brendan Maher excellent at midfield – settled and began to play some good hurling. They got to within a point – 0-05 to 1-03 – by the 21st minute but Fennelly rocked them back on their heels with his second goal.

The former Hurler of the Year beat Darren Gleeson at his near post and that strike gave the Cats breathing space again. Tipp were finding goal chances extremely hard to come by but Patrick Maher could have done better in the 29th minute, scuffing his shot with a goal for the taking. But with Kieran Bergin doing extremely well on his debut in defence, Tipp had gained a foothold and Noel McGrath’s 33rd minute point tied the scores at 0-10 to 2-04.

Kilkenny hit back with two points before the break to lead again and they stayed in front until the 50th minute, when Brendan Maher lofted over his fourth point from play. Both sides were now down to 14 men in a tie that produced eight yellow and two red cards. Kilkenny, playing with the breeze, were not ruffled by Tipp’s comeback and points from Richie Hogan, Larkin (free) and Cillian Buckley put them three points in front again. It was a lead they would hold all the way to the finish but the feeling leaving Nowlan Park this evening is that these two sides will meet again in the championship. And what a game that promises to be.

KILKENNY: E Murphy; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan, K Joyce (0-01); L Ryan (0-03), M Rice (0-01); C Buckley (0-01), M Fennelly (2-03), E Larkin (0-06, 5f 1 65); R Hogan (0-01), C Fennelly (0-01), A Fogarty.

Sub: M Ruth for Fogarty (62).

TIPPERARY: D Gleeson (0-01f); C O’Brien, P Curran, M Cahill; C O’Mahony, Pádraic Maher (0-01), K Bergin; B Maher (0-04), S McGrath; N McGrath (0-03), L Corbett, Patrick Maher; S Bourke (0-01), E Kelly (0-05, 3f, 1 65), S Callanan (0-02f).

Subs: J O’Dwyer for Kelly (48), J Forde for Callanan (57), J O’Brien (0-01) for S McGrath (58), P Bourke (0-02f) for S Bourke (61), J Woodlock for Patrick Maher (67).

Referee: B Kelly (Westmeath)


Michael Fennelly shines as Cats take 16th title

Report from the web site

Allianz Hurling League Division I Final: Kilkenny 2-17 Tipperary 0-20

Kilkenny retained their Allianz Hurling League Division I crown with a three-point victory over Tipperary in a tough and very tight game on Sunday afternoon. Michael Fennelly scored two goals in the first 21 minutes for the Cats, who led by 2-7 to 0-11 at the break, and they just about edged the second half to claim league honours and score a crucial win over their great rivals in front of their own fans at an electric Nowlan Park. Both sides finished with 14 men after Lar Corbett and JJ Delaney were shown straight red cards following a 45th minute incident.

In a game played at championship pace, Kilkenny defended superbly, with Delaney performing well before he was sent off and Jackie Tyrrell and Paul Murphy keeping the Tipperary attack at bay. Tipperary scored 14 goals in their six league games this spring, but they barely got a sniff here. Just like they did in the Allianz League final against Cork last year, Kilkenny made a remarkable start. Lester Ryan had the hosts ahead with a sweet point from play within seconds of the start, with Eoin Larkin adding another from a free soon after. Then, on three minutes, the Cats put a big dent in Tipp’s confidence. Michael Fennelly, operating from centre-forward, scored a trademark goal with a run through the heart of the Premier County defence, before finishing smartly past Darren Gleeson, the Tipperary goalkeeper. The Cats were 1-2 to 0-0 up before anyone in the 21,447 crowd had a chance to draw breath.

Unlike Cork last year, Tipperary showed great character to pick themselves off the floor after that early barrage. Eoin Kelly opened their account with a free on five minutes and they gradually started to get on top in midfield. Brendan Maher had a great first half – a great game overall in fact – and slotted over a couple of scores from play as Eamon O’Shea’s side reeled the champions in and had the gap down to a point, 1-3 to 0-5, when Séamus Callanan hit the target on 20 minutes. And then Michael Fennelly struck again. Picking up a loose ball, he powered his way to the endline before unleashing a shot high to the roof of Gleeson’s goal.

Tipp responded well once again, with Brendan Maher grabbing his third of the half from play and with Kelly adding another. Patrick Maher, though, missed a gilt-edged chance to punish the Cats when he beat Delaney to a high ball into the danger area. However, with the goal at his mercy, his shot was half blocked and dribbled tamely at Kilkenny goalkeeper Eoin Murphy. Two Kelly frees reduced the gap and then Noel McGrath had Tipperary level with a very smart score, his second of the half from play, with two minutes to go to half-time. However, Kilkenny hit two points in added time to lead by two at the break. Lester Ryan knocked over a second from play before Michael Fennelly adorned a brilliant first half display with another score and brought his total to 2-3 with the final point of an absorbing 35 minutes’ action.

Tipperary kept Kilkenny waiting on the pitch at the start of the second half, and when the game finally did resume, it was tough, uncompromising stuff. The sides shared equally the first six points of the second half before Delaney and Corbett came to blows on the edge of the square, with referee Barry Kelly deciding to send both off. Tipp were level by the 50th minute thanks to scores from Callanan and a fourth from play from Brendan Maher. He, Kieran Bergin at Noel McGrath were Tipp’s best performers on the day. However, Kilkenny reacted by scoring three of their own without reply, with Richie Hogan and Killian Buckley both opening their accounts in that spell.

And that was it in truth. Tipp tried desperately to force their way back on top in the closing stages, but the Kilkenny defence held firm. Richie Hogan had a chance to kill the game with two minutes to go, but he shot straight at Gleeson, before Michael Rice struck the Cats’ insurance score in added time. Kilkenny have now won the league title for a 16th time and will certainly enjoy keeping the trophy on Noreside for another year, but the true value of this victory was knowing that they were more than able to take everything a resurgent Tipperary side had to throw at them and still come out well on top.

Kilkenny Scorers: L Ryan 0-2, E Larkin 0-7 (0-6f, 0-1 65), M Fennelly 2-3, C Fennelly 0-1, M Rice 0-1, K Buckley 0-1, K Joyce 0-1, R Hogan 0-1.

Tipperary Scorers: E Kelly 0-5 (0-3f, 0-1 65), B Maher 0-4, N McGrath 0-3, S Callanan 0-2 (0-2f), D Gleeson 0-1 (0-1f), S Bourke 0-1, J O’Brien 0-1, P Bourke 0-2 (0-2f), Pádraic Maher 0-1.

TIPPERARY: D Gleeson; M Cahill, C O’Mahony, P Curran; K Bergin, Pádraic Maher, C O’Brien; B Maher, S McGrath; S Callanan, L Corbett, Patrick Maher; S Bourke, E Kelly, N McGrath. Subs: J O’Dwyer for Kelly (48), J Forde for Callanan (57), J O’Brien for S McGrath (58), P Bourke for S Bourke (61), J Woodlock for Patrick Maher (67).

KILKENNY: E Murphy; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan, K Joyce; L Ryan, M Fennelly; C Buckley, M Rice, E Larkin; C Fennelly, R Hogan, A Fogarty. Subs: M Ruth for A Fogarty (62).

Referee: Barry Kelly (An Iarmhí)

Attendance: 21,447

Team News

The Tipperary Senior Hurling team to play Kilkenny in the Allianz Hurling League final on Sunday next at Nowlan Park has 5 changes from the team which defeated Dublin in the semi-final. Darren Gleeson, Paul Curran, Kieran Bergin, Conor O’Brien and Eoin Kelly will start in place of Brendan Cummins, Paddy Stapleton, Donagh Maher, Jason Forde and Pa Bourke. The team is:

1.       Darren Gleeson (Portroe)

2.       Michael Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields)

3.       Conor O’Mahony (Newport)

4.       Paul Curran (Mullinahone)

5.       Kieran Bergin (Killenaule)

6.       Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)

7.       Conor O’Brien (Eire Og Annacarty Donohill)

8.       Brendan Maher (Borris-Ileigh)

9.       Shane McGrath (Ballinahinch) Captain

10.   Seamus Callanan (Drom and Inch)

11.   Lar Corbett (Thurles Sarsfields)

12.   Patrick Maher (Lorrha and Dorrha)

13.   Shane Bourke (JK Brackens)

14.   Eoin Kelly (Mullinahone)

15.   Noel McGrath (Loughmore Castleiney)

Kilkenny SH v Tipperary – E Murphy P Murphy JJ Delaney J Tyrrell T Walsh B Hogan K Joyce L Ryan M Fennelly C Buckley M Rice E Larkin C Fennelly R Hogan A Fogarty