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Touchline spat mars victory

GAA disciplinary chiefs may decide to investigate the touchline spat involving rival managers Brian Cody and Liam Sheedy during yesterday's Division 1 encounter between Tipperary and Kilkenny at Semple Stadium, which the home side won 1-14 to 0-13.

The bosses collided in the final minute of normal time in Thurles following an incident involving Tipp substitute Jody Brennan and Kilkenny's JJ Delaney, which saw the Cats defender yellow-carded.

With the game hanging in the balance and Tipperary leading by 1-12 to 0-12, passions were running high on the touchline and both Cody and Sheedy let their feelings show.

TV pictures captured Tipp manager Sheedy shoving Cody, who did not physically retaliate, before a war of words ensued between the pair.

Calm was quickly restored before the two shook hands at the final whistle following Tipperary's vital 1-14 to 0-13 success.

Sheedy said: "When the match is close like that, it's high tempo stuff. We're managers -- maybe they (players) watch our body language, but for us it's Tipp and Kilkenny, the second round of the league. If we lost today it probably finished our involvement in the league -- it would be out of our hands."

Cody insisted: "No, there was no battle on the sideline.

"It was a battle for anyone out there. It was a flat-out game and huge commitment from both teams."


Croke Park officials have been keen to crack the whip on disciplinary issues this year, especially with the use of video evidence, and touchline suspensions or fines for both counties may be considered if the CCCC decides to take the matter further.

The sideline collision shows how keen this rivalry has become once again as Kilkenny's bid for a record-breaking fifth successive All-Ireland title coincides with Tipp's recent re-emergence as a hurling force.

The Premier County went desperately close to victory in last year's National League and All-Ireland finals against Kilkenny and yesterday's rematch was eagerly anticipated, going ahead at the third time of asking following two postponements because of snow.

Tipperary's All-Star full-back Padraic Maher delivered a master class against a Kilkenny team devoid of their Ballyhale Shamrocks contingent and Martin Comerford, who is on his honeymoon.

Kilkenny were toothless in attack, although wing forward John Mulhall was the notable exception with three points from play, while a moment of magic from Eoin Kelly all but secured the win for Tipp at the other end.

Kelly struck for a superb goal from just inside the 20m line in first-half stoppage time to hand the home side a 1-6 to 0-6 lead in front of a bumper 20,254 attendance.

Supporters were allowed in free of charge yesterday by the GAA, and the crackling atmosphere and sense of occasion prompted a call from Sheedy for Croke Park's top brass to consider slashing prices to bring more punters through the turnstiles.