Brennan on target as Cats book final date with Galway
Kilkenny 1-15 Tipperary 2-10
They may have lost two games on the way, but Kilkenny booked a place in the All-Ireland MHC final with Galway when proving too good for Munster champions, Tipperary, at Croke Park yesterday.
There were a few moments during the second half when the Cats' nerves were tested, but by and large they were too good for opponents who just didn't turn up during the opening half.
Tipperary registered a mere four points in the first period. While the Kilkenny defence looked assured, they never felt the pressure expected in an All-Ireland semi-final.
And so, with the help of a well-worked 30th-minute goal by Ciaran Brennan, after Cian Kenny and George Murphy combined to create the opening, Kilkenny looked well placed at the rest, leading by 1-7 to 0-4.
Also, they started poorly, shooting five wides during the opening nine minutes.
Tipp had the opening point of the new half, but it was Kilkenny who pushed on. Scores from Jack Buggy (free), Brennan and Conor Kelly (free) left them 1-10 to 0-6 clear and looking good as the 36th minute was passed.
Then a lovely bit of inventive play by Sean Hayes, in the right corner at the Hill 16 end in the 42nd minute, created a chance for sub Mikey O'Shea to lash home a Tipperary goal. It was game-on again, and it was certainly game-on when Tipp reduced the deficit to 1-10 to 1-8 at the end of the quarter.
Kilkenny responded well. Jack Buggy, Killian Hogan and Jack Morrissey all found the target, but back came Tipp again for another goal. This time, Sean Hayes creased the net with a bullet-like drive to cut the gap to 1-13 to 2-8.
Again, Kilkenny roused themselves, Jack Morrissey and sub Eoin Guilfoyle hitting the opposition for points. Tipp finished with minors from Jack Lanigan and Devon Ryan (free), but it wasn't enough to stop Kilkenny setting up a repeat of the 2009 final against Galway.
"That was a good day's work," insisted Kilkenny manager, Richie Mulrooney. "We know all about the quality of Galway, as they beat us already, but we are in the final and who knows what might happen there."
Scorers - Kilkenny: C Brennan 1-2, J Buggy (2f), J Morrissey 0-4 each, C Kelly (1f), C O'Leary, D Coogan, K Hogan, E Guilfoyle 0-1 each. Tipperary: S Hayes 1-2, D Ryan 0-3 (1f), M O'Shea 1-0, C Whelan 0-2f, J Devaney (1f), J Morrissey, J Lanigan 0-1 each.
Kilkenny - J Brennan; P Dempsey, J Young, D Crehan; D Maher, S Staunton, J Harkin; C Kelly, C Kenny; J Morrissey, C Brennan, G Murphy; C O'Leary, D Coogan, J Buggy. Subs: K Hogan for O'Leary (40), P Moylan for Coogan (47), E Guilfoyle for Moylan (inj, 50).
Tipperary - A Browne; C O'Dwyer, C Whelan, K Hayes; J Ryan, S Phelan, F Hanafin; M Hackett, J Campion; S Hayes, C O'Farrell, K O'Kelly; D Ryan, R Renehan, J Devaney. Subs: J Morrissey for Hackett (24), M O'Shea for Renehan (28), K Maher for J Campion (45), J Lanigan for Devaney (47), K Ryan for J Ryan (56).
Ref - R McGann (Clare).