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Ryan tops for Tipp

Offaly minor Eoin Ryan was the hero of the hour as Tipperary retained their title when they beat Kilkenny by the narrowest of margins at wind and rain-lashed Ballyragget last night.

Ryan, who showed a brilliant touch in the testing conditions, landed the winning score with only seconds remaining to defeat Kilkenny for the second year running. He scored 1-7 in all.

Early on, Liam Hickey and Ryan swapped points, and for a while Kilkenny were on top thanks to a third-minute goal from Lee Kinsella.

However, Tipp effected an eight-point turnaround over the next 20 minutes to move 2-7 to 1-6 ahead. Jamie Bergin and Ryan scored the goals. By half-time, though, their lead was cut to 2-8 to 1-9.

The Cats opened the new half with points from Hickey and Conor Walsh to draw level.

And it was nip-and-tuck all the way after that, with the scores level five times before Ryan produced a magnificent winner.

Scorers -- Tipperary: E Ryan 1-7 (5f), J Bergin 1-1, T Heffernan, N O'Meara 0-2 each, J Cleary, T Cleary 0-1 each. Kilkenny: C Martin 0-6 (4f), L Kinsella 1-1, C Walsh, J Ryan 0-3 each, L Hickey 0-2, D Lennon 0-1 .

Tipperary -- J Samson; A Conran, C Bergin, C O'Riordan; J Ryan, E Hogan, M Collier; S Dooley, J Cleary; T Heffernan, T Cleary, N O'Meara; J Bergin, E Ryan, J Ryan. Sub: T Nolan for S Dooley (33).

Kilkenny -- D Walsh; D Ahearne, L O Cinneide, D Power; B Whelan, B O Murchu, N Madden; W Brennan, D Lennon; C Walsh, J Tobin, C Martin; L Hickey, L Kinsella, J Ryan. Sub: G Malone for D Lennon (46).

Ref -- A Stapleton (Laois)

Irish Independent