New Jersey/Kilkenny badly needed the points from this match as they tried to put some space between themselves and Galway in the standings. They very nearly got the dream start when Eamon Collins doubled on a David Greene free only to see his shot reflect back off the upright.
Fletcher opened the scoring with a brace of pointed frees at the two and three minute marks. NJ/Kilkenny had weekenders John Devane of Tipperary and Seamus Pendergast of Waterford on hand, and it was Devane who opened the Combo’s account against his native county with a point from a long-range free.
NJK began to get a grip on this contest with Devane, midfielder Cathal McKeever, David Greene, and especially corner forward Eamon Collins to the fore.
Denis McCarthy’s point after Collins appeared to have been fouled in the square gave NJK their first lead. With storm clouds looming over Gaelic Park the Jersey Cats increased their lead when Collins neatly placed an unmarked McKeever on the edge of the square. McKeever couldn’t miss from there and he didn’t. Three late Fletcher frees kept Tipp in touch 1-7 to 0-8 at the half.
Tipperary were first off the mark on the restart with a point from Fletcher and one each from then active midfield pair Kelly and David Loughnane. Then David Greene got hot. Three straight points from the powerful forward put the Cats back on top, 1-10 to 0-11.
After two Tipp points, Greene raced through the Tipperary defense and stripped of his hurl, kicked to the net. Tipperary looked like a team on the ropes, but Tom Moylan sprang from the bench and changed all that. Moylan, held out with a leg injury, was barely on the pitch when he caught well in traffic, turned and fired a great point on 21 minutes.
NJK wouldn’t score again as Tipperary added points from Moylan, Kelly (2), and Fletcher to secure the win, and leave NJK waiting on Galway to determine their playoff fate.
Man of the Match: Trevor Fletcher.
Tipperary: Thomas O’Meara. Seamus Burke, Tomas Keane, Alan Slattery, Colin Morrissey, Shane Tierney, Dave Loughnane (0-2), Paul Kelly (0-3), Trevor Fletcher (0-11, 9 fr), John Madden, Mike Maher, Kevin Kennedy, Martin Finn (0-1), Mike Kennedy, James O’Meara Subs: Tom Moylan (0-2), Sean Sheppard.
NJ/Kilkenny: Ronan Sheedy, Tom Giltenane, Matt Fitzgerald, Tadgh Healy, John Devane (0-1, fr), Robert Conlon, John Slattery, Cathal McKeever (1-0), David Greene (1-7, 4 fr), Seamus Pendergast, Denis McCarthy (0-1), Eamon Collins (0-2), Nicky Kenny.
Referee: John Hennessey.