TJ Reid's 2-11 was the difference between the two sides today. James Crombie/INPHO

Kilkenny win third Allianz Hurling League in a row with last-gasp win over Tipperary

TJ Reid was the hero for the Cats.

Kilkenny 2-25

Tipperary 1-27

A MOMENT OF quick-thinking from TJ Reid was enough to give Kilkenny their third Allianz National Hurling League Division 1 title in three years following nearly 100 minutes of pulsating action in Semple Stadium this afternoon.

Reid took a short sideline cut to a wide-open Richie Hogan whose deft flick was picked up again by the Ballyhale Shamrocks man; Reid then sprinted down the touchline before firing over deep into injury time at the end of the second period of extra-time in Thurles to seal the win.

Though a draw and replay may have been a fair result – the sides were level no fewer than 11 times – it was a fitting end to the game for Reid who was almost flawless from place balls and accounted for 2-11 of Kilkenny’s 2-25.

It had looked in the early stages as if Kilkenny would comfortably secure their eighth league title of the Brian Cody era when they raced into an 0-4 to no score lead in the opening five minutes thanks to scores from Reid, Richie Hogan and Padraig Walsh.

However, as Tipperary fought back to within a point there was real drama as a Colin Fennelly effort from distance looked to have gone wide – and replays seemed to confirm it did – but the shot was waved a point by one umpire and wide by another. After referee James Owens consulted with the men behind the goal, the point stood and Kilkenny led by 0-5 to 0-3 on nine minutes.

Eamon O’Shea’s men didn’t let the controversy get to them though and soon began to assert their dominance in general play on the scoreboard, scoring five points without reply to take a narrow lead.

That lead was soon six points though when John O’Dwyer flicked on an inch perfect pass from a Noel McGrath sideline cut to make it 1-11 to 0-8 to the home side.

Three minutes before half-time we had the game’s second big talking point when Padraig Maher was adjudged to have fouled Mark Kelly and Owens awarded a penalty. Though Reid miss-hit his ‘Anthony Nash’ style strike, it still found the net and so Kilkenny only trailed by two at the break; 1-11 to 1-9.

Brian Kennedy, JJ Delaney and Seamus Callanan This is not a spot the ball competition. Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

Tipperary stretched that lead to four in the early stages of the second half but another Kilkenny penalty, this time on 48 minutes – when Cathal Barrett was correctly penalised for hauling down Reid – leveled things up at 1-14 to 2-11; Reid dusting himself down to slot home with much more conviction this time around.

In the closing stages of the second half it once again looked like Kilkenny would win their 17th league title when they led by two points with two minutes to play. However, after John O’Dwyer hit the post with a free, Kieran Bergin slotted home three minutes and 40 seconds into injury time to send the game to extra-time with the scores tied 2-17 to 1-19.

While it wasn’t a vintage first period of extra-time, Kilkenny did enough to hold the slenderest of leads 2-21 to 1-23.

As the game entered its final moments, it looked as if a replay was on the cards when Tipperary goalkeeper Darren Gleeson sought to launch the sliotar deep. However, his sliced effort crossed the sideline and Reid, so good throughout, did the rest.

A dejected Shane McGrath Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 2-11 (2-0 pen, 8f, 1 65), R Hogan 0-6, R Power 0-3 (1f), M Fennelly and P Walsh 0-2 each, C Fennelly 0-1.
Scorers for Tipperary: S Callanan 0-9 (8f, 1 65), J O’Dwyer 1-3, N McGrath 0-5 (1 sl), , Denis Maher and N O’Meara 0-2 each, K Bergin, J Woodlock and Patrick Maher 0-1 each.

1. Eoin Murphy
2. Paul Murphy
3. JJ Delaney
4. Brian Kennedy
5. Joey Holden
6. Jackie Tyrrell
7. Cillian Buckley
8. Michael Fennelly
9. Padraig Walsh
10. Richie Hogan
11. Colin Fennelly
12. TJ Reid
13. Richie Power
14. Mark Kelly
15. Henry Shefflin

Subs: L Ryan for Holden (29), W Walsh for Kelly (43), E Larkin for C Fennelly (60), C Fennelly for Shefflin (74), K Joyce for Kennedy (86).

1. Darren Gleeson
2. Cathal Barrett
3. Pádraic Maher
4. Michael Cahill
5. James Barry
6. Brendan Maher
7. Conor O’Mahony
8. Kieran Bergin
9. James Woodlock
10. Denis Maher
11. Patrick Maher
12. John O’Dwyer
13. Noel McGrath
14. Séamus Callanan
15. Niall O’Meara

Subs: T Stapleton for B Maher (temp, 45-46), G Ryan for D Maher (54), S McGrath for Woodlock (76), S Bourke (0-01) for O’Meara (62), J O’Brien for Callanan (69), S Callanan for J O’Brien (76), J O’Brien for O’Dwyer (80), J O’Dwyer for Bourke (88).

As it happened: Tipperary v Kilkenny, Allianz Hurling League Division 1 final

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