HL1 final: Cats find that bit extra in titanic tussle
May 04, 2014
Kilkenny's Padraig Walsh, Colin Fennelly and Jackie Tyrell with Patrick Maher of Tipperary.
Two of the game's heavy weights went toe-to-toe in the HL Division 1 final at Semple Stadium today and it was TJ Reid who delivered the knock-out punch as Kilkenny shaded an absorbing 90 odd minutes of hurling.
The final looked to be heading for a replay just as Reid worked a short sideline cut with Richie Hogan before firing over the game's decisive score as Kilkenny made it three league titles in-a-row for the first time in their distinguished history.
It was hard luck on Eamon O'Shea and his Tipperary team who gave as good as they got for the majority of the drama-packed contest but time ran out on them.
With five minutes of normal time to go, the Premier County led by 1-18 to 2-14 but Hogan restored parity for Kilkenny before two points in as many minutes from Michael Fennelly looked to have sealed a 17th league title for the Cats.
Tipp substitute Shane Bourke and Kieran Bergin had other ideas, however, and they came to their side's rescue with injury-time points to send the game into extra-time.
Unfortunately, from the home side's perspective, it proved to be nothing more than a temporary stay of execution and it was Lester Ryan who got his hands on the silverware after the final whistle.
It finished Tipperary 1-20, Kilkenny 2-17 at the end of the regulation 70 minutes and the first period of extra-time was only 20 seconds old when Noel McGrath gave the Brendan Maher captained outfit the lead.
Remarkably Henry Shefflin was held scoreless by Cathal Barrett before being withdrawn soon after the start of extra-time yet Tipperary trailed by a point - 1-23 to 2-21 - at the mini-break following scores from Hogan (2) and Reid.
Reid enjoyed a day to remember in shooting an incredible personal tally of 2-11. The Kilkenny number 12 gave his team a two-point cushion with the first score of the second period of extra-time but they fell a point in arrears after Noel McGrath and Callanan (two frees) raised white flags for Tipp.
It was advantage Kilkenny once again after Padraig Walsh and Richie Power pointed but two converted Callanan frees set up the grandstand finish and Reid was the right man in the right place for Kilkenny.
The Cats hit the ground running in normal time with points from Padraig Walsh, Reid (2 frees) and Richie Hogan before John O'Dwyer got the Premier County off the mark in the 6th minute.
Seamus Callanan (free) reduced the deficit further with a converted free after midfielder James Woodlock was fouled and the scene was set for the latest chapter in the story of hurling's fiercest rivalry.
Noel McGrath and Colin Fennelly traded points and the scoreboard read 0-5 to 0-3 in the Cats' favour after 10 minutes of play but Tipp began to find their rhythm and came from behind to lead by 0-7 to 0-6 by the 20th minute.
John O'Dwyer pounced for the game's opening goal on the half hour mark when flicking a sideline cut past Eoin Murphy but Tipperary's joy was short-lived as Reid responded for the team in black and amber from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time.
Padraig Maher was harshly adjudged to have hauled Mark Kelly to the ground and Reid took a leaf out of Anthony Nash's book to steal as many yards as possible before raising a green flag as the clock moved into added-on time.
That left the scoreboard reading 1-11 to 1-9 in Tipperary's favour but Reid converted a second penalty in the 48th minute, after he was fouled by Barrett, and it was game on!
Kilkenny - E Murphy; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, B Kennedy; J Holden, J Tyrrell, C Buckley; M Fennelly (0-2), P Walsh (0-2); C Fennelly (0-1), R Hogan (0-6), TJ Reid (2-11, 2-0 ps, 8 fs, 1 65); R Power (0-3, 1 f), M Kelly, H Shefflin. Subs: L Ryan for Holden (29), W Walsh for Kelly (43), E Larkin for C Fennelly (60), C Fennelly for Shefflin (74), K Joyce for Kennedy (86).
Tipperary - D Gleeson; C Barrett, Padraic Maher, M Cahill; J Barry, B Maher, C O'Mahony; K Bergin (0-2), J Woodlock (0-1); D Maher (0-2), Patrick Maher (0-1), J O'Dwyer (1-3); N McGrath (0-5,1 s), S Callanan (0-10, 8 fs, 1 65), N O'Meara (0-2). Subs: T Stapleton for B Maher (45-46), G Ryan for D Maher (54), S McGrath for Woodlock (76), S Bourke (0-1) for O'Meara (62), J O'Brien for Callanan (69), S Callanan for J O'Brien (76), J O'Brien for O'Dwyer (80), J O'Dwyer for Bourke (88).
Referee: J Owens (Wexford).
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