A full minute had yet to tick off the Gaelic Park clock when Kevin Kennedy fired the Premier County’s opening salvo. Kennedy stripped Cat’s keeper Ritchie Hogan of the ball and fired into the empty net.
Kilkenny didn’t panic and scored four points on the trot. Inside forwards Paddy Farrell and Jamie Power were very worthwhile additions and this was a much stronger Kilkenny squad then their last time out.
Kilkenny’s deadly duo each hit the Tipp twines in the first half while Fletcher and a rejuvenated Kevin Kennedy propelled the Tipperary attack. With the first half in injury time, Robbie Ryan scored a great goal that referee Jo Jo Sullivan ruled a buzzer beater despite Kilkenny’s objections.
Tipperary stormed out at the start of the second half and Ryan almost added another goal only to be denied by Hogan. Fletcher pointed the resultant 70 and quickly followed with a second. Tipp swarmed the Kilkenny goal but were turned away by a determined Kilkenny defense.
The Tipperary defense were getting a handle on Farrell and Power and John Byrne was giving a display at wingback. Byrne frustrated numerous Kilkenny attacks and his distribution was immaculate. Quinlan and Kevin Kennedy fired goals to keep the Cats at bay and a Power goal proved too little too late as Tipperary ran out deserving winners.
Man of the Match: Kevin Kennedy.
Tipperary: Tim Cullen, Tomas Keane, Dennis Ryan, Philip Bennett, Liam England, John Byrne, Mike Kennedy, John Treacy, Gary Quinlan (1-1), Robbie Doran, Trevor Fletcher (0-11, 7 frees, 2 70s), Kevin Kennedy (2-3), Robbie Ryan (1-0).
Kilkenny: Ritchie Hogan, Jamie Kennedy, John Morgan, Paddy Freyne, Dan Kinney (0-1), James Enright, Kevin McKay (0-2), Paul Conroy, Jerome Edge, Darren Doherty, Brian McMillan, Paddy Farrell (1-5, 2 frees), Jamie Power (2-2). Subs: Shane O’Donnell, Mike Collins (0-1)