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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 26 March, 2019


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Good afternoon and welcome to what promises to be an electric game of hurling. With rumours flying that Eoin Murphy won’t start today due to an ankle injury, Kilkenny face the prospect of an All-Ireland final with three players making their first championship start for the black and amber.

Winning a third All-Ireland in-a-row with this side would surely be Brian Cody’s greatest achievement as Cats boss.

Meanwhile, in his first year in charge, Michael Ryan takes five players into their first All-Ireland final. Tipperary have already lifted the minor title today, can they complete the double?

Most pundits are giving the edge to Tipp. Who do you fancy to lift Liam today?

Lets take a quick check on the teams named to start.


1. Darren Gleeson (Portroe)

2. Cathal Barrett (Holycross-Ballycahill)
3. James Barry (Upperchurch-Drombane)
4. Michael Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields)

5. Seamus Kennedy (St. Marys)
6. Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
7. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfield)

8. Brendan Maher (Borris-Ileigh)
9. Michael Breen (Ballina)

10. Dan McCormack (Borris-Ileigh)
11. Patrick Maher (Lorrha-Dorrha)
12. Noel McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)

13. John O’Dwyer (Killenaule)
14. Seamus Callanan (Drom & Inch)
15. John McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)


1. Eoin Murphy (Glenmore)

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

5. Padraig Walsh (Tullaroan)
6. Kieran Joyce (Rower Inistioge)
7. Cillian Buckley (Dicksboro)

8. TJ Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
9. Conor Fogarty (Erins Own)

10. Walter Walsh (Tullogher Rosbercon)
11. Richie Hogan (Danesfort)
12. Eoin Larkin (James Stephens)

13. Kevin Kelly (St Patricks)
14. Colin Fennelly (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
15. Liam Blanchfield (Bennettsbridge)

Kilkenny goalkeeper Eoin Murphy has reportedly been passed fit to start. Huge boost for the Cats.

The teams are out on the field warming up as the tension continues to rise at HQ.

As always we’d love to hear from you. You can let us know your thoughts on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments section below.  

The scene is set, the players are ready. Here we go!

After 12 seconds Walter Walsh hits the first wide of the match.

2 mins – Kilkenny 0-0 Tipperary 0-1

Seamus Callanan sends Tipp into the league. Paul Murphy is picking up John McGrath while Shane Prendergast is marking Callanan.

As expected Brendan Maher is on TJ Reid while Conor Fogarty is on Michael Breen.

5 mins – Kilkenny 0-1 Tipperary 0-1

Rookie Kevin Kelly gets off the mark to draw Kilkenny level.

6 mins – Kilkenny 0-2 Tipperary 0-1

TJ Reid is tripped for a free and he converts it himself. Kilkenny lead for the first time.

7 mins – Kilkenny 0-3 Tipperary 0-1

Kevin Kelly passes to Richie Hogan, who points. Good clearance that time from Eoin Larkin.

7  mins – Kilkenny 0-3 Tipperary 0-2

Bubbles puts a fine sideline cut over the bar from about 40m.

9 mins – Kilkenny 0-4 Tipperary 0-3

Walter Walsh lands one over from near the sideline. At the far end Noel McGrath plants one over the bar. That’s his first score of the day. Good turnover that time by Tipp.

10 mins – Kilkenny 0-4 Tipperary 0-4

Seamus Kennedy’s first score in the championship levels this one up! Big score.

11 mins – Kilkenny 0-5 Tipperary 0-4

Reid, who has started at midfield, strokes over his second free of the match.

Bubbles and Dan McCormack hit a wide each. That’s four wides for Tipp.

13 mins – Kilkenny 0-6 Tipperary 0-5

John McGrath gathers and puts it over. Eoin Larkin eases one over off the left moments later.

15 mins – Kilkenny 0-6 Tipperary 0-6

Callanan is looking sharp so far. His second score draws Tipp level. Reid and Richie Hogan appear to be alternating between midfield and centre-forward.

CHANCE! Darren Gleeson makes a decent stop from Colin Fennelly. That was a real goal chance for Fennelly.

18 mins – Kilkenny 0-7 Tipperary 0-6

Kilkenny look lke they’re being outplayed but still they lead. Will Tipp rue those wides?

20 mins – Kilkenny 0-7 Tipperary 0-7

Ronan Maher finds Seamus Callanan with a peach of a ball. Callanan applies the finish.

21 mins – Kilkenny 0-8 Tipperary 0-7

Another free from Reid.

22 mins – Kilkenny 0-8 Tipperary 0-8

Bubbles hits his second after a nice handpass from Brendan Maher. Unselfish play there from Maher.

24 mins – Kilkenny 0-9 Tipperary 0-8

Larkin capitalises on a Tipp mistake and scores his second point.

25 mins – Kilkenny 0-9 Tipperary 0-9

O’Dwyer sails a lovely strike between the posts as he carried the ball away from goals. His accuracy is a huge plus for Tipp today.

25 mins – Kilkenny 0-9 Tipperary 0-10

Callanan is growing in confidence. He had an ocean of space as Paudie Maher picked him out.

26 mins – Kilkenny 0-10 Tipperary 0-10

We’re level for an eighth time. A trademark score from Cillian Buckley there.

27 mins – Kilkenny 0-10 Tipperary 0-11

Dan McCormack scores his first championship of 2016. John O’Dwyer made that score with a wonderful flick.

28 mins – Kilkenny 0-11 Tipperary 0-11

Reid with that trademark style nails a free from an extremely tight angle.

29 mins – Kilkenny 0-11 Tipperary 0-12

Bonner Maher picks up a loose ball, races forward and takes his point. That’s his second championship point of 2016.

Every single Tipp forward has scored from play.

TJ Reid has moved to full-forward and Colin Fennelly is at centre-forward.


32 mins – Kilkenny 0-12 Tipperary 0-12

Reid nails his sixth free of the match. The sides are level for a tenth time.

33 mins – Kilkenny 0-12 Tipperary 0-13

Callanan with the score of the match so far. He touches a ball down to himself, controls it and fires over.

35 mins – Kilkenny 0-12 Tipperary 0-14

O’Dwyer’s free leaves the Premier two in front.


Half-time: Tipperary 0-14 Kilkenny 0-12

What a first-half we’ve had at Croker. Tipperary lead by two points after a wonderful opening 35 minutes.

Tipp lead by two after a blistering half, but we all know what Kilkenny do to teams after half-time. Tipp should probably be further in front.

How long will Brian Cody persist with Joey Holden at full-back? Seamus Callanan is after taking him for five points in the opening 35 minutes.

The second-half is underway!

36 mins – Kilkenny 0-12 Tipperary 0-15

Callanan gives Tipp a good start with a free.

40 mins – Kilkenny 0-14 Tipperary 0-15

Reid sends over a couple of frees to leave the minimum between the teams.


41 mins – Kilkenny 1-14 Tipperary 0-15

Kevin Kelly bags a crucial goal for the Cats!

44 mins – Kilkenny 1-14 Tipperary 0-16

Callanan sends over an important free for Tipp. Jason Forde replaces Michael Breen.

Dan McCormack is gone to midfield.

45 mins – Kilkenny 1-14 Tipperary 0-17

Jason Forde gets involved straight away by scoring a point. Looks like a good move from Ryan.

47 mins – Kilkenny 1-14 Tipperary 0-18

After some massive work-rate on the half-forward line Callanan points.

47 mins – Kilkenny 1-14 Tipperary 1-18

What a finish by Bubbles! They’ve responded brilliantly to that Kilkenny goal! Game on!

51 mins – Kilkenny 1-14 Tipperary 1-19

Tipp let two goal chances go but Paudie Maher hits a score for the ages from the sideline. Tipp are edging clear.


54 mins – Kilkenny 1-15 Tipperary 1-21

John McGrath leaves six between the teams. Fantastic ball from John O’Dwyer there!

54 mins – Kilkenny 1-15 Tipperary 1-22

Callanan with a huge score for Tipp! At the far end Darren Gleeson makes a brave save from Kevin Kelly’s shot.

Padraig Walsh drives one over from distance.

56 mins – Kilkenny 1-17 Tipperary 1-23

Callanan fires over another point! That’s 1-17 Tipp’s full-forward line have scored today.

Padraig Walsh nails his third score.

57 mins – Kilkenny 1-18 Tipperary 1-24

John McGrath puts Tipp seven clear! Reid pops over a free, buts Kilkenny really need a goal here.

Noel McGrath set up his younger brother for that three-pointer!


62 mins – Kilkenny 2-19 Tipperary 2-25

Richie Hogan drills in a goal from the ground! They’re still in this!

62 mins – Kilkenny 2-19 Tipperary 2-26

That’s 1-5 for Bubbles today. Tipp need to keep this performance level up for the last 10 minutes.

SAVE! Stunning piece of goalkeeping from Eoin Murphy! He pulled off a great save from John McGrath’s shot. McGrath should have passed to Callanan who was open in front of an empty net.

66 mins – Kilkenny 2-19 Tipperary 2-27

Callanan applies the afters from the 65.

68 mins – Kilkenny 2-20 Tipperary 2-27

Reid’s 11th free leaves seven between the teams.

Noel McGrath looks in serious bother and is asking to be replaced.

69 mins – Kilkenny 2-20 Tipperary 2-28

Callanan bags his 13th score. Bergin replaces the elder McGrath.

70 mins – Kilkenny 2-20 Tipperary 2-29

Bonner Maher puts Tipp nine in front. We’re into stoppage time.

Kilkenny fans are streaming out the exits. That’s something we’re not used to seeing.


Full-time: Tipperary 2-29 Kilkenny 2-20

Tipperary are the 2016 All-Ireland champions!

About the author:

Kevin O'Brien