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Dublin: 6 °C Monday 18 February, 2019

'We are not miles ahead of the rest' - Michael Ryan satisfied as Tipperary maintain unbeaten run

They played out an entertaining draw with Kilkenny at Semple Stadium.

Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

TIPPERARY AND KILKENNY played out a battling draw in Thurles on Saturday night, and Premier boss Michael Ryan had no complaints afterwards.

The All-Ireland champions maintained their 11-month unbeaten run, but the Cats provided much sterner opposition than many expected.

Ryan said Kilkenny’s performance was no surprise, despite many dismissing their chances in the build-up.

“I think ye (media) boys will be in business for years!” he said. “It just gives and gives. Ye might write it but ye didn’t believe it – those guys are not written off or anything like it. They’ve been at this point over the last 15 years on how many occasions?

“It takes a really good team to come out there, two really good teams, to serve up that game. And we got away on them – we were well away there in the first half but in typical Kilkenny style, they came roaring back into the game. They’re just a quality side – we know that, there’s no secret about that.”

The Tipperary manager was satisfied to secure a share of the spoils, with his side still top of hurling’s top flight.

“I think it’s a very fair reflection of the game. We’ve often lost those tight ones! It would have been awful hard for either team to go home without something from the match. It gave and gave. Those are the games that give you a really good measure of where you’re at this point.

“Remember, it’s only March 11 – great data for both sides on their squads, we go ahead again, matchday 4, another one coming in two weeks.

“It’s a great league, we give out about it at times but it’s a great league. Conditions would have helped a lot of the quality of the hurling out there tonight.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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