As ever with these two great foes, no quarter was asked for or given as the Premier County found a way past a reenergised and determined Kilkenny side in Semple Stadium on Sunday.
Three Jason Forde points gave Tipperary the start they needed considering the strong wind they had behind them in a low-scoring first half in Semple Stadium.
John Donnelly, Padraig Walsh, Mikey Carey and David Blanchfield responded for a much improved Kilkenny side compared to what Brian Cody described as a “very, very average” performance in their opening round victory against Antrim.
The home side then took control of the game thanks to fine scores from Brian Hogan, Barry Heffernan and Ger Browne as Kilkenny struggled to get out of an unusual lull period.
Michael Breen and Forde moved Colm Bonnar’s side 0-10 to 0-04 ahead as half-time loomed but the Leinster champions dragged themselves back into the game with four consecutive points from the impressive John Donnelly (x2), Padraig Walsh and Tom Phelan made it a three-point game, 0-11 to 0-08.
Kilkenny seemed as though they would be going into half-time with a more than retrievable deficit due to the breeze that was hugely advantageous for the 2019 All-Ireland champions in the first half. However, an Eoin Murphy puck out on the stroke of half-time went straight to Denis Maher who easily slipped in Jake Morris for a crucial goal.
The Cats started the second half with intent as they cut the margin to four points as Cian Kenny, Walsh and Donnelly, tasked with free-taking duty for the day, all pointed.
Kilkenny’s momentum continued to build as Niall Brassil, Martin Keoghan and Paddy Deegan all opened their accounts before Donnelly brought Kilkenny level midway through an entertaining second half, Tipperary 1-12 to 0-15 Kilkenny.
However, that strong spell seemed to spark Kilkenny’s fierce rivals into life as Forde’s free-taking ability coupled with a point from play by the goalscorer Morris gave them a five-point cushion.
Kilkenny responded brilliantly to Tipp’s expert score taking as James Stephens clubman Tadhg O’Dwyer struck the ball underneath Brian Hogan to give Kilkenny a lifeline.
A spirited showing from Kilkenny and man of the match Huw Lawlor was not enough for last year’s joint league champions, however, as both sides exchanged late scores with Colm Bonnar’s men coming out on top by a single point, giving the new manager a first home victory of his tenure.