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Dublin: 11°C Wednesday 21 April 2021

Two late Kelly goals snatch victory for Kilkenny against Tipperary

St Patrick’s club man Kelly bagged the critical scores in the finale.

Kilkenny 2-17
Tipperary 0-18

Fintan O’Toole reports from Nowlan Park

TWO LATE GOALS from emerging forward Kevin Kelly handed Kilkenny the spoils against Tipperary in a frenetic Division 1A contest in Nowlan Park this afternoon.

Kevin Kelly under pressure from Patrick Maher St Patrick's club man Kelly hit the key scores for Kilkenny today. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

A fiercely contested affair looked to be drifting in Tipperary’s direction for long stages of the second-half.

Then three minutes from the close of normal time, Walter Walsh floated in a delivery that Jonjo Farrell seized before he turned and arrowed in a cross that Kelly bundled to the net.

That edged Kilkenny in front 1-15 to 0-16 but John O’Dwyer’s marksmanship ensured his pointed free in the 71st minute left Tipperary only a point adrift, 1-16 to 0-18.

Thoughts of Tipperary salvaging a draw were instantly dashed as a long clearance from the Kilkenny rearguard evaded the Tipperary backline. Kelly stole in unperturbed and had the time to compose himself before lashing the ball past Darren Gleeson.

Kilkenny and Tipperary players search for a loose ball Kilkenny and Tipperary players battle for a loose ball Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

It was a disappointing outcome for Tipperary considering the nature of the defeat and the identity of their opponents. They never trailed on the scoreboard until Kelly bagged his first goal.

At the break they were in front 0-9 to 0-8 yet had been 0-9 to 0-5 clear approaching half-time. Tipperary pushed clear as well at various stages during the second-half but two points was the largest advantage they enjoyed during that time frame.

Kilkenny kept in touch and showed a killer touch when it came to pouncing for those late goals. That was the difference.

Brendan Maher Tipperary captain Brendan Maher dejected after the game. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Tipperary had served notice that they carried an early goal threat. They created two opportunities inside the first five minutes yet had to be content with a point as their return on each occasion.

Conor Kenny blasted a shot over the bar when his intention was to fire it under and John O’Dwyer saw his fizzing drive from the left tipped over by goalkeeper Eoin Murphy.

Kenny and the McGrath brothers, Noel and John, looked threatening in the opening period and McGrath clipped a 27th minute point that sent Tipperary four clear.

By the 29th minute Kilkenny had only amassed five points with just two of those from play but they profited from attacking improvement before half-time. Newcomer James Maher from St Lachtain’s was a source of hope as he snapped over a pair of points before the interval.

Michael Ryan Tipperary boss Michael Ryan Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

His second originated from a terrific crossfield ball by Reid to pick him out and Kilkenny were adrift 0-9 to 0-8 at the break.

The second-half followed a distinct pattern. Kilkenny drew level twice in the third quarter but a combination of O’Dwyer’s accuracy and McGrath’s invention, nudged Tipperary ahead.

Walter Walsh and Michael Cahill Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Raising a green flag would likely have propelled Michael Ryan’s side to victory but it never came. The closest chance in the second-half fell to Patrick Maher but Eoin Murphy was equal to his low goalbound drive.

Kilkenny hung in contention and were rewarded when they fashioned those two late goal chances. Success gets them off the mark in the division while Tipperary have food for thought after losing out in this tough contest.

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Kilkenny team pose for the pre match photograph The Kilkenny team pose for the pre match photograph. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 0-10 (0-6f, 0-1 ’65), Kevin Kelly 2-1, James Maher 0-4, Padraig Walsh & Walter Walsh 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tipperary: John O’Dwyer 0-9 (0-3f, 0-2 ’65), John McGrath 0-4 (0-1f), Conor Kenny & Noel McGrath 0-2 each, Michael Breen 0-1.


1. Eoin Murphy (Glenmore)

2. Paul Murphy (Danesfort)
3. Joey Holden (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
4. Shane Prendergast (Clara)

5. Padraig Walsh (Tullaroan)
6. Robert Lennon (Bennettsbridge)
7. Diarmuid Cody (James Stephens)

8. Lester Ryan (Clara)
9. Conor Fogarty (Erins Own)

10. Colin Fennelly (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
11. TJ Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
12. James Maher (St Lachtains)

13. Walter Walsh (Tullogher Rosbercon)
14. Kevin Kelly (St Patrick’s)
25. John Power (Carrickshock)


18. Kieran Joyce (Rower-Inistioge) for Holden (63)
22. Jonjo Farrell (Thomastown) for Power (63)


1. Darren Gleeson (Portroe)

2. Cathal Barrett (Holycross-Ballycahill)
3. Tomas Hamill (Moyne Templetuohy)
4. Michael Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields)

5. Brendan Maher (Borris-Ileigh)
6. James Barry (Upperchurch-Drombane)
7. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)

8. Michael Breen (Ballina)
9. Daire Quinn (Nenagh Éire Óg)

10. Dan McCormack (Borris-Ileigh)
11. Patrick Maher (Lorrha-Dorrha)
22. John O’Dwyer (Killenaule)

13. Noel McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)
14. Conor Kenny (Borris-Ileigh)
15. John McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)

23. Niall O’Meara (Kilruane McDonaghs) for Kenny (49)
19. Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields) for Quinn (52)
20. John Meagher (Loughmore-Castleiney) for Padraic Maher (68)
Andrew Coffey (Nenagh Éire Óg) for McCormack (68)

Referee: Cathal McAllister (Cork)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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