2008, the last time Tipperary managed to secure a win over Kilkenny in UPMC Nowlan Park. When facts like that get banded about, usually there is an added incentive for the team on the wrong end of it, to correct it. So there was no doubt The Premier County were certainly going to be up for the game.
Jason Forde got proceeding underway straight away by hitting the first over the bar. Barry Hogan was called into action, Walter Walsh had a glorious scoring chance, Captain Darragh Corcoran and Billy Drennan combined well to get the ball to Walsh. Hogan pulled off a good save, but Walter capitalised on the second ball and managed to salvage a point. Forde drove a free over though to establish the early lead for his side.
There was massive change though for Tipperary though as Paddy Cadell was forced off with John Campion replacing him. Cathal Barrett was also a concern clashing with his own teammate, forcing more stoppages. With only 3 minutes of the opening seven being in actual play. Barrett thankfully stood up, much to the relief of Liam Cahill. However, despite trying to battle on, just two minutes later Eoin Connelly swapped places.
Billy Drennan, who grabbed 1-08 against Antrim last weekend, got off the mark with a free to draw the game level. Jason Forde converted a free off his own, marking his hattrick of scores with about 15 minutes gone. Forde continued his fine form, causing Conor Heary a headache, getting his second from play before Jake Morris added to the Cats defensive woes to make it 0-05 to 0-02.
Noel McGrath had the chance to make it a two score game but registered the third wide of the game for Tipperary. Kind of summed up the first twenty minutes out the game, lacklustre. Martin Keoghan had a possible goal scoring opportunity before he was dragged down, with Billy Drennan converting the penalty. Noel McGrath just went to other end though, charged up and slugged one over Aidan Tallis’s bar.
Tallis was called into action to stop Tipperary’s goal scoring opportunity of his own, forcing the ball over the bar and getting a scoring mark beside the name of Conor Bowe. So for the first time we now had a two score game.
Derek Lyng made his first change of the game before halftime. Cian Kenny, coming off a Fitzgibbon Cup campaign was replaced by Thomastown’s John Donnelly. Drom & Inches Seamus Callanan didn’t give Mikey Butler an inch, exposing the Kilkenny defence before Jason Forde burst the ball into the home sides net. Padraig Walsh read the ball, got it up to Shane Walsh on the other end who registered his first score of the game. Then it was tit for tat, with Jason Forde and Billy Ryan cancelling each other out.
Kilkenny were trying to play the short ball from the backs, however there was a breakdown in communication between Cillian Buckley and Paddy Deegan, which Alan Tynan pounced on. He was followed by John Campion getting the next score to make it 1-10 to 0-05, and Kilkenny looking very vulnerable.
The first time Kilkenny went long and direct, John Donnelly nailed his chance to take a point, with seven minutes of extra time added, there was plenty of time to chip away at the deficit. Donnelly decided to keep chipping instead of looking for a big chunk, when a goal scoring chance was disregarded in favour of a point. The main man Jason Forde put a bit filler back over those pesky chips adding another point to his name.
Disaster for The Cats though was next, Aidan Tallis trying valiantly to keep the ball out of the net, but despite a brilliant save, Jake Morris gobbled up the chance for a three-pointer. Another breakdown in the Kilkenny defence, while trying to play the ball short
Half time score – Kilkenny 0-07 Tipperary 2-13
Derek Lyng had to get a reaction from his men in the second half. It was evident from supporters, there was an annoyance at what they were witnessing. Conor Fogarty came on for Cillian Doyle and David Blanchfield came in for Conor Heary. John Donnelly got the scoring underway this half, getting his third of the game. However Conor Bowe made it 1 a piece. Kilkenny were definitely doing better, created a great goal scoring chance but Walter Walsh was unable to make the most of it. Mossy Keoghan did manage to grab himself a point, before Billy Drennan made it back to back scores from a free.
No momentum was able to be gathered from it as Noel McGrath found Jason Forde who of course put it over the bar. John Donnelly got his fourth, with Fogarty and Drennan combining all together, to allow the first half substitute the chance to registered his square. It suddenly became a nine point game, sure that’s only three scores, when Conor Fogarty got off the mark.
Jason Forde had the chance to convert a free, to put the space between the two sides back into double digits. However, with the miss, his a-forde-ed Kilkenny the opportunity to remain in the game. (See what I did there?) In fairness that was his second wide from a free, and Tipps 16th in total. Billy Drennan made the most of his chance at a free, with now eight points between them. Forde was a-forde-ed a chance to redeemed himself (All right no more puns) with back to back frees sailing over the bar and just like that there was double digits between them at 2-17 to 0-13.
There was quickfire scores from Billy Drennan And Padraig Walsh, before Jason Forde but over a 65. John Donelly had a goal scoring chance, forcing a nice save, failing to ignite the game into life. Billy Drennan grabbed another two for himself straight after, with seven points separating them, can Kilkenny make a comeback. Jason Forde put it back to eight points, but the Cats supposedly have nine lives, whit plenty of time left.
Then the match was lit, Billy Ryan won the ball possession, taking a few players on before Mossy Keoghan had the ball in the back of the net. The game was blown open with just five points between the two rivals. The crowd started to believe, as Kilkenny started going more and more direct. Noel McGrath tried to stop any ascension with a much-needed point. Billy Drennan had the nerve and character of a seasoned bro to convert another free. Georoid Dunne added a third Tullaroan man in the forwards line, with the young man drawing a foul in his first act on the field. Allowing Billy Drennan his chance at getting his seventh point.
Speaking of seven though, there was once again a seven point gap between the two teams. Three unanswered Tipperary scores pretty much put the game to bed. Keoghan made it six just as three minutes injury time was announced, with Billy Drennan registering another free. Just as the ref blew his full time whistle Mark Kehoe pointed again for Tip, and that was the last score of the same.
Full time score – Kilkenny 1-21 Tipperary 2-24