TJ Reid fires hat-trick but late Tipperary point secures draw in pulsating League clash
Tipperary 2-17; Kilkenny 3-14
Clashes between these two super-powers rarely fail to thrill and the latest chapter in the enduring saga lived up to the highest expectations in front of a crowd of 14,763 in Semple Stadium.
The second half, in particular, delivered hurling of the highest quality as Kilkenny clawed their way back from a four point deficit to take the lead through a Cillian Buckley point in the 66th minute.
However, Tipperary sub, Steven O’Brien equalised before ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer shot wide in stoppage time.
Tipperary, who led by eight points at one stage in the first half, led by 2-14 to 2-10 after 50 minutes before Richie Hogan pared the margin to three. Kilkenny drew level in the 56th minute when TJ Reid, who finished on 3-5, blasted a second penalty to the net after Liam Blanchfield had been fouled in the Tipperary square.
It was tight, tense and tough from there on, with both sides digging deep into their reserves of strength and courage in a desperate struggle for supremacy. Ultimately, a draw was probably a fair result on a night when Kilkenny greatly increased their chances of reaching the Allianz League quarter-finals. Tipperary had already qualified after three rounds and are guaranteed to top the 1A table at the end of the group games if they beat Cork in the last round.
Tipperary led by four points at half-time (2-11 to 2-7), having earlier held an eight-point advantage (2-7 to 1-2) when Niall O’Meara shot their second goal in the 22nd minute. Kilkenny were being seriously stretched at that stage but responded well, scoring an unanswered 1-3 in the next seven minutes.
The goal came from a penalty from TJ Reid after Michael Cahill was adjudged to have fouled Alan Murphy in the Tipperary square. It was Reid’s second goal, having struck for his first in the fifth minute when he found the top corner of the net with a sweet strike from open play.
It cancelled out Tipperary’s first goal, an opportunist effort by John McGrath in the third minute. Five Tipperary forwards scored in the first half, backed up by two points from midfielder, Sean Curran and a splendid long range effort from wing-back Padraic Maher.
Scorers: Tipperary: S Callanan 0-6 (3f 1’65’), J McGrath 1-2, N O’Meara 1-1, D McCormack, S Curran 0-2 each, P Maher, N McGrath, J O’Dwyer, S O’Brien 0-1 each.
Kilkenny: TJ Reid 3-5 (2-0 pen, 0-4f), R Hogan 0-4, C Buckley 0-3, W Walsh 0-2.
Tipperary: D Mooney; J O’Keeffe, J Barry, M Cahill; T Hamill, R Maher, P Maher; S Curran, M Breen; D McCormack, N O’Meara, N McGrath; J O’Dwyer, S Callanan, J McGrath.
Subs: K Bergin for Breen (35), J Forde for McCormack (55), S Kennedy for Cahill (58), S O’Brien for O’Meara (68),
Kilkenny: E Murphy; P Murphy, P Walsh, C O’Shea; C Fogarty, S Prendergast, J Cleere; P Deegan, C Buckley; C Fennelly, R Hogan, TJ Reid; A Murphy, W Walsh, L Blanchfield.
Subs: J Maher for A Murphy (40).
Ref - J Owens (Wexford)