After Saturday evening’s ‘Thriller in Thurles’, Kilkenny will face Tipperary in this year’s All-Ireland senior hurling final after their defeat of Galway by a single point.
Brian Cody’s men had to battle hard against Derek McGrath’s Waterford side at Semple Stadium on Saturday but came away with a 2-19 to 2-17 win helped in no small part by some fine awareness by Eoin Murphy in the dying moments of the game before Richie Hogan struck the game’s final point.
Brian Cody had elected to make three changes to the starting fifteen that played Waterford a week previous, introducing Mark Bergin, Liam Blanchfield and Eoin Larkin in place of Kieran Joyce, Jonjo Farrell and John Power.
An outright war for 70 minutes, Kilkenny didn’t come away unscathed, however, with Ballyhale Shamrock’s Michael Fennelly unlikely to take any part in this year’s final. While he hasn’t been ruled out officially, the injury is suspected to be a damaged Achilles tendon which would surely rule the 2011 Hurler of the Year out of contention for a place next month.
With Tipperary taking on Galway in another repeat of last year’s All-Ireland semi final, it was Galway who would lead by two at the break before losing talisman Joe Canning who had already bagged himself a handful of scores in the first half.
Hitting the ground first with a head injury after a hard challenge on the sidelines, Canning went to ground late in the half clutching what appeared to be his hamstring before being withdrawn by management at halftime – the score poised at Galway 1-10 to Tipperary’s 0-11.
The second half sprang to life early on but it was inside the final ten minutes of the game with two quick-fire goals for Tipperary, first from John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer and 90 seconds later from John McGrath, that turned the tide for the Premier County.
Another classic game, it was just the minimum between the sides at the end with Tipperary taking a 2-19 to 2-18 victory over Croke Park to set up another All-Ireland final meeting against Kilkenny.
The last time the sides met at the final stages was 2014, Lester Ryan captaining Kilkenny to victory at the second time of asking after an epic drawn match (3-22 to 1-28) in their first outing. In the replay, Kilkenny secured the Liam McCarthy cup with three points to spare, the final score that day 2-17 to 2-14.
With Tipperary overcoming Galway on Sunday afternoon in Croke Park, the scramble for All-Ireland final tickets begins in earnest. If you can’t bear the tension in Dublin on the day, then fear not as we’ll be bringing you live commentary and analysis straight from Croke Park.
We’ll be keeping you up to date every step of the way on matters All-Ireland both on air and online through the Fanzone.
If you or your club are organising any All-Ireland themed events, be sure to email [email protected] to get in touch and let us know.