By John Markey
Kilkenny 1-9, Tipperary 1-8 Contrary to popular opinion, this was the semifinal of the senior hurling knock-out competition. Only a matter of weeks ago, Tipp secured the narrowest of victories over Kilkenny to advance to the ultimate stage of the competition to defend their title, or so we thought. Such has been the playing format of this competition that one didn’t know what stage was being played.
However, with Sunday’s result, we will have a new name on the trophy. As usual, the slenderest of margins separated these two sides, but for the first time in quite a while, it was Kilkenny who prevailed. In a tightly contested game, a last-minute Kevin Corbett point would be enough to see them advance to yet another final.
Throughout the hour, neither side managed to gain a firm grip on proceedings. Both exchanged score s, with a Mick Collins goal in the 18th minute giving the Cats a slight edge. A series of unanswered Tipp scores saw them hold the ascendancy at the interval, however, holding a one point advantage, 0-7 to 1-3.
The second half continued to be fiercely contested, with Kilkenny managing to pull ahead. A Shane Ryan goal minutes from time restored the parity once again but on this occasion it was the Cats who would have the last say, Corbett converting in the final seconds.
Kieran Gaughan, Vinnie Norton, Luke Doyle, Kevin Corbett and Richie Hogan were best for Kilkenny. Tony O’Brien, Owen Cummins, Jim Lyons, Michael Kennedy and Shane Ryan tried hard for Tipp.
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Kilkenny scorers: K. Corbett 0-6, M. Collins 1-0, a. Ryan 0-2, L. Doyle 0-1.
Tipperary: S. Ryan 1-1, T. Keane 0-2, K. Madden 0-2, A. Slattery 0-2, S. Collison 0-1.