By Mike Fitzpatrick
Not an easy game to pick a man of the match from. Tipperary, as one can see from the level of scores they registered Sunday at Gaelic Park, had a number of forwards who excelled, whereas Kilkenny had their own dogged combatants, despite the heavy defeat.
It’s going to be tough for anyone to foresee a Tipperary hurling defeat this season playing the way they have so far. Despite a setback in the Brendan Keane Cup, when they were knocked out early on in the season, Tipperary’s real love is for the championship, which they proved last year by annexing it with such style. Many of last year’s players are still with the club, and if this type of form is continued, the rest of the sides in senior hurling must surely be fretting a little.
Opening with scores from Kevin Kennedy, Mike Kennedy, Owen Cummins, John Madden and Paul Hogan, Tipp were in command from the first whistle. Kilkenny could manage only a solitary point from Kevin Corbett throughout the first half, and but for some fine saves from Kilkenny veteran James Joyce between the posts, Tipp’s lead could have been even bigger.
Hitting a tally of 3-11 in the first half, it was obvious that Tipp would not receive any setback in their championship bid on this day. The second half opened on a slightly less gloomy note for Kilkenny — having had John Nolan sent off for a second bookable offense in the first half and trailing by a massive 19 points, indeed things could really only have gotten better. Kevin Corbett hit a point back for the Cats, and successive goals from Vincent Mohan and substitute and Kilkenny veteran Brian Barcoe gave the tie at least a little respectability for Kilkenny. Ray Duggan hit another goal for Tipperary, though, and was subsequently followed onto the scoresheet by Kevin Kennedy’s goal, which completed his hat trick, and points from Thomas Keane, who played out of his skin.
Barcoe grabbed his second goal of the afternoon for Kilkenny, and Corbett hit another point, but Tipperary’s superiority held firm, with Ray Duggan, Hogan, Alan and John Slattery and John Madden hitting points for Tipperary. James Joyce made another super save from Kevin Kennedy late in the game, but it was all too little too late.
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Tipperary march on, and will certainly be in the right frame of mind for capturing another title this year.
Tipperary: Ian Duggan, James Lyons, Declan O’Meara, Donal Cummins, Owen Cummins (0-1), Thomas Keane (0-2), John Madden (0-4), Alan Slattery (0-2), Ray Duggan (1-4), Mark Comerford, Mike Kennedy (0-1), Paul Hogan (1-1), Kevin Kennedy (3-2), Subs: Willie Hackett (0-2), John Slattery (0-1).
Kilkenny: James Joyce, Kieran Gaughan, Daragh Moore, David Brennan, John Nolan, Peter Breen, Vinnie Norton, Kevin Corbett (0-4), Jerome Edge, Don Ryan, Mark Kennedy, Richie Hogan, Vincent Mohan (1-0). Subs: Keith Slevin (0-1), Brian Barcoe (2-0).
Man of the Match: Thomas Keane (Tipperary).