Friday 20 April 2018

TJ Reid turns on the style as Kilkenny edge out arch rivals Tipp in dramatic battle

Kilkenny 2-22 Tipperary 2-21

Niall O’Meara of Tipperary in action against Joey Holden of Kilkenny
Niall O’Meara of Tipperary in action against Joey Holden of Kilkenny
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The cast may change but as ever the drama flowed as Kilkenny hung on for a second successive Allianz Division 1A win, this time over arch-rivals Tipperary.

Before 10,587 in glorious sunshine Kilkenny forged seven points clear early in the second half through goals from Walter Walsh and Luke Scanlon.

But Tipperary hit back with two goals of their own, courtesy of Michael Breen who was a real success at full-forward.

Allied to the impact of substitutes Martin Russell and Cian Darcy Tipp put themselves into a strong position to win when a Breen free put them 2-17 to 2-15 clear in the 55th minute.

But with Cillian Buckley and Paddy Deegan leading the resistance Kilkenny ground out a win, TJ Reid hitting 13 points, including one from a second-half penalty. 

The need was greater for the home side and that was reflected in Michael Ryan's decision to leave Padraic Maher and Noel McGrath on the bench throughout.

Both sides were missing players involved in the conclusion of the higher education competitions over the weekend, Tipperary pair Jason Forde and John McGrath and Kilkenny's Padraig Walsh and Conor Delaney among them, so there was an experimental feel to the team-sheets.

Tipperary got off to the better start, leading by 0-4 to 0-1 after seven minutes but they were wasteful, clocking up five wides before Kilkenny registered their first from promising wing-back Conor Browne.

Two missed frees from Michael Breen and Brendan Maher underlined the extent of their absentee list most.

With Reid delivering a typically economic performance Kilkenny quickly found a way back into it and his effortless work from centre-forward had them level by the 13th minute before Pat Lyng finished a good move for the lead shortly after.

The sides were level five times in the half and both had clear goal chances, Donagh Maher saving from Martin Keogan's one-handed strike on 27 minutes before Billy McCarthy botched a great opportunity two minutes later after Kilkenny defender Enda Morrissey had been stripped of possession.

Kilkenny led by 0-13 to 0-12 at the break but ultimately it took a great catch and lay off from Reid to Richie Leahy at the end to seal the win.

Scorers - Kilkenny: TJ Reid 0-13 (7fs, 2 65s, 1 pen), R Leahy 0-3, W Walsh, L Scanlon 1-0 each, C Browne, J Maher, L Blanchfield, P Lyng, A Murphy, R Reid all 0-1 each

Tipperary: M Breen 2-9 (0-7fs), B Maher 0-4, N O'Meara 0-2, S Curran, C Darcy, M Russell, B McCarthy, P Maher, R Maher (sl) all 0-1 each.

Kilkenny: D Brennan; E Morrissey, J Holden, P Deegan; C O'Shea, C Buckley, C Browne; J Maher, L Blanchfield;  M Keogan, TJ Reid, P Lyng; R Leahy, W Walsh, L Scanlon. Subs: A Murphy for Blanchfield (47), L Ryan for Lyng (50), R Reid for Keogan (60), C Martin for Scanlon (65)

Tipperary: D Mooney; A Flynn, T Hamill, S O'Brien; S Kennedy, J Barry, D Maher; B Maher, R Maher; S Curran, B McCarthy, P Maher; G Browne, M Breen, N O'Meara. Subs: M Russell for Browne (h-t), C Darcy for O'Meara (43)

Referee: A Kelly (Galway)

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