Tipperary's fairytale continues
TIPPERARY 4-13; KILKENNY 1-6 THE fanfare continued for Tipperary, this time in the camogie mode when the girls from the Premier county completed a three-in-a-row at Croke Park yesterday.
It was a final triumph that Tipp will cherish and that Kilkenny will want to forget.
Kilkenny manager Brendan Williams, who shares the post with Ted Browne, summed up Kilkenny's dilemma when ruing such a humiliating defeat on final day.
"We were denied the opportunity to field our best teams in the League and what we saw here today reflected our poor League campaign," said Williams.
Tipperary, playing with the wind in the first half streaked away into an 11 points half-time advantage.
When Emer McDonnell rounded off a tremendous movement, involving Deirdre Hughes and Noelle Kennedy, for Tipperary's third goal just on half-time the show was over for Kilkenny.
Williams conceded: "We were beaten by a far better team on the day and have no excuses really."
His counterpart Michael Cleary was overawed by his team's performance. He said: "It's great to be a Tipperary person these days. I am in awe of this exceptionally good team. They seem to possess all the attributes."
Tipp hit a purple patch during a three minute spell from the ninth to the 12th minute of the first half when first Claire Grogan and then Deirdre Hughes smashed home excellent goals before Hughes emerged again with a sparkling point.
This seven points barrage rocked Kilkenny and they never recovered.
The Tipperary half-backs Sinead Nealon, Ciara Gaynor and Therese Brophy presented the Kilkenny attack with an enormous task.
Sinead Millea was their only forward to score by half time and even one of her two points came off a placed ball.
Early on Brigid Mullaly and Lizzie Lyng were showing promising form in midfield and in fairness to them they shared two of Kilkenny's four first half points.
The prospect of playing with the wind in the second half created some optimism among Kilkenny supporters in the 16,000 crowd. But Tipperary struck first on resuming with Emer McDonnell and Claire Grogan rapping over two excellent points within two minutes.
Noelle Kennedy, the accurate Tipperary centre-forward went on to compile five points from frees but the Tipp full-forward line was as effective as their half-back line with Emer McDonnell, Hughes and Grogan compiling four goals and six points between them.
Tipperary's Joanne Ryan at left half-forward may not have got on to the scoreboard but she was so busy down the left flank that she was in contention for the "Player of the Match."
SCORERS Tipperary: D Hughes 2-2, N Kennedy 0-5 (5f), E McDonnell, C Grogan 1-2 each, P Fogarty, G Shanahan 0-1 each. Kilkenny: S Millea 1-2 (1-1 f), Martina Maher, M Downey, B Mullaly, L Lyng 0-1 each.
TIPPERARY J Delaney; P Bulfin, U O'Dwyer, C Madden; S Nealon, C Gaynor, T Brophy; S Kelly,P Fogarty; E Hayden, N Kennedy, J Ryan; E McDonnell, D Hughes, C Grogan. Subs: G Shanahan for Grogan, S Howard for Bulfin, N Harkin for Fogarty (all 56 mins).
KILKENNY C Ryan; Marie Maher, S Costelloe, M Costelloe; E Kennedy, K Long, E Maher; B Mullaly, L Lyng; S Millea, Martina Maher, I Kennedy; C Doherty, A Neary, M Downey. Sub: J Dillon-Maher for E Maher (23).
REF A Derham (Dublin).