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Cats annihilate Tribesmen to secure semis spot

WHILE beating Galway is nothing new to Kilkenny, they would have been surprised by the easy nature of yesterday's task, as they cruised to a 3-26 to 0-10 win to secure their passage into the NHL semi-finals.

"Galway will be disappointed with their performance because it wasn't a true reflection of the abilities they have in their team. It was just one of those days for them," said Cody.

Kilkenny head into the league semi-final (v Clare or Limerick) as Division 1A winners and with four wins from five games.

"We're where we wanted to be -- that's for sure," said Cody. What he couldn't have anticipated was that the last leg of the journey to the semi-final would have been so readily accommodated by Galway.

Meanwhile, at Semple Stadium Tipperary and Cork served up a thrilling finish as Pat Horgan completed a superb day for himself personally by firing over an equalising point with the last puck of the game.

Kilkenny's win over Galway meant that both Tipp and Cork were going through to the semi-finals no matter what but the match was played at a remarkable pace and bore closer resemblance to a championship game than anything else.

The sides were level seven times in the first-half which Cork emerged from in front, leading 0-13 to 0-11 at the interval.

Tipperary flashed back ahead within 90 seconds of the restart though. First, John O'Brien popped over a point and then Pa Bourke rifled a 21m free straight to the net.

Tipperary managed to get four points ahead midway through the second half, with both Pa and Shane Bourke showing well. Noel McGrath's classy score made it 1-17 to 0-16 and it looked as though the home team were going to pull away. However, a fine score from Horgan was followed by an excellent goal from Conor Lehane, to put just two between them with eight minutes to go.

Eoin Kelly pointed to put Tipp clear again but when Cathal Naughton fired over, it set up a pulsating finish which looked to have reached its crescendo when John Gardiner pumped one over to level it up with hardly anything left on the clock.

Shane Bourke shot over his fourth of the day seconds later, but just as Tipp thought they had finally secured the win, up popped Horgan to make it 1-23 apiece and provide a fitting finale to a brilliant game.