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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 14 April 2021


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A very warm Saturday night welcome to Semple Stadium where we’re about to watch a repeat of the All-Ireland final as Kilkenny and Tipperary prepare for a league battle.

Throw in is not til 7, so grab yourself a brew and familiarise yourself with the teams:

TIPPERARY: Daragh Mooney; Donagh Maher, James Barry, Michael Cahill; Tomas Hamill, Ronan Maher, Padraic Maher; Sean Curran, Michael Breen; Dan McCormack, Niall O’Meara, Noel McGrath; John O’Dwyer, Seamus Callanan, John McGrath.

KILKENNY: Eoin Murphy; Paul Murphy, Padraig Walsh, Conor O’Shea; Conor Fogarty, Shane Prendergast, Jason Cleere; Paddy Deegan, Cillian Buckley; Richie Hogan, TJ Reid, Colin Fennelly; Alan Murphy, Liam Blanchfield, Walter Walsh.

One Tipp change to bring you before throw-in:  John O’Keeffe in to defence for Donagh Maher.

We’ll have a minute’s silence for Tipp great Mick Maher before we get under way at Semple.

Here we go then. THROW-IN:

It’s a messy start, but Michael Breen digs it out of the trenches and fires it downfield.

It’s long though and Kilkenny can clear up to Tipp territory again.


GOAL! Tipperary 1 – 0 Kilkenny 0 – 0

Big long drive from Murphy towards the Tipp goal, but it’s short and returned with interest.

Kilkenny don’t deal with it and John McGrath turns to drive the ground ball to the net.

Tipperary 1 – 0 Kilkenny 0 – 1

The best possible start for Tipp, but Kilkenny respond with a free from TJ Reid.

GOAL! Tipperary 1 – 1 Kilkenny 1 – 1

An absolutely sensational strike from TJ Reid. He cuts left, a full 25 yards from goal and whips a vicious shot into the top corner!

Unbelievable skill and a fine response to Dan McCormack’s good point at the other end.

Tipperary 1 – 2 Kilkenny 1- 1

Just as Tipp looked to settle into a rhythm, TJ digs one out of the box of tricks.

Callanan points a free to put the Premier back inn front.

Tipperary 1 – 2 Kilkenny 1- 1

Lovely hurling from McCormack, batting the ball back across his shoulder after a solo run, but the move comes to nothing.

Frenetic start to this game. Two goals in nine ferocious minutes.

10 mins: Tipperary 1 – 3 Kilkenny 1- 1

McGrath is in rude health tonight. Turns o a swivel 30 yards out and clips a lovely score over.

11 mins: Tipperary 1 – 4 Kilkenny 1- 1

McCormack is flying it, he combines with McGrath to deliver another gorgeous Premier point from play.

14 mins: Tipperary 1 – 5 Kilkenny 1- 1

Callanan causing the Cats all sorts of problems as he drives at the heart of the black and amber defence. He gets a free in as he’s fouled just outside the big rectangle.

Big Seamie hits it over. Four in a row without reply for Tipp.

15 mins: Tipperary 1 – 5 Kilkenny 1- 2

Buckley ends Tipperary’s scoring run with great score off his left and a short grip.

17 mins: Tipperary 1 – 5 Kilkenny 1- 2

Buckley thinks he has two in a row for Kilkenny, but the umpires wave his effort from an accute angle on the left as a wide.

18 mins: Tipperary 1 – 6 Kilkenny 1- 2

McGrath at the heart of things again, but it’s Sean Curran on the score-sheet this time.

GOAL!! 21 mins: Tipperary 2 – 7 Kilkenny 1- 2

After a crowd-pleasing Padraic Maher  point, Tipp win the ball back and work it left to Niall O’Meara who is in time and space to pick his spot in the net.

22 mins: Tipperary 2 – 7 Kilkenny 1- 4

TJ Reid converts a free, and backs it up by breathing more life into the Cats’ challenge by wheeling off to the right with a breaking ball and clipping a great score over his shoulder.

25 mins: Tipperary 2 – 7 Kilkenny 1- 5

That man TJ Reid again.

Another free makes it three in a row for him.

GOAL!! 29 mins: Tipperary 2 – 7 Kilkenny – 5

TJ Reid blasts the Cats back in the game.

Referee James Owens awarded a penalty against Tipp, despite the umpires motioning for a 65. Looks a good call too.

30mins: Tipperary 2 – 8 Kilkenny 2- 6

Callanan fires over a monster free from way out on the left touchline. That’s a ship-steadier after Kilkenny came roaring back.

But Walter Walsh goes up the other end, steps back, plants his fet and drives over a response between the posts.

33mins: Tipperary 2 – 9 Kilkenny 2- 6

Very few cuts to be made on the highlights reel for this one. Sean Curran delivers yet another superb score, keeping Tipp’s nose narrowly in front as we approach the interval.

35 mins: Tipperary 2 – 10 Kilkenny 2- 7

Noel McGrath puts Tipp four clear as we entre first half stoppage time, but back come Kilkenny through Walter Walsh again.


HALF-TIME: Tipperary 2 – 11 Kilkenny 2- 7

Callanan shakes off a missed chance to take up a 65 which he converts to give the All-Ireland champions a four-point advantage at the break.

Right, I think I’ve just about caught my breath after that first-half. Time to do it all over again in the second half.

14, 763 will watch this game go into the melting pot.

36 mins: Tipperary 2 – 11 Kilkenny 2 – 7

Well, the radars haven’t just been re-calibrated for the turnarounds yet as both teams trade wides early in the half.

37 mins: Tipperary 2 – 11 Kilkenny 2 – 7

Yellow card for Kilkenny’s Alan Murphy.

And after the free is fired in McGrath gets the ball across to O’Dwyer who audaciously takes the chance on first time. His volley is well saved though.

39 mins: Tipperary 2 – 11 Kilkenny 2 – 8

TJ Reid with the half’s first score, a free that’s bread and butter to  him so we’ve got a one-score game on our hands.

41 mins: Tipperary 2 – 12 Kilkenny 2 – 9

Bubbles with a great score off his left. That completes the six-pack of scoring forwards for Tipp today.

Richie Hogan responds for the Cats.

42 mins: Tipperary 2 – 13 Kilkenny 2 – 10

The game has hit its straps again as Buckley and O’Meara trade scores

46 mins: Tipperary 2 – 14 Kilkenny 2 – 10

John McGrath ends a run of wides to put his side out of striking distance.

Some frustration starting to show in Kilkenny now as they struggle to prise apart the Tipp defence.

52 mins: Tipperary 2 – 14 Kilkenny 2 – 11

Brian Cody is as animated as a Brian Cody in August. This game is intense, and neither side wants to have a marker laid down at their expense in this rivalry.

GOAL!! 56 mins: Tipperary 2 – 14 Kilkenny 3 – 11

Richie Hogan drives a shot in and it bounces off the post and back into play. Cahill and Maher combine to drag Blanchfield down and it’s another Kilkenny penalty!

TJ slams it home to complete his hat-trick.

58 mins: Tipperary 2 – 16 Kilkenny 3 – 12

Cometh the hour, cometh all the big men. Callanan points either side of a Hogan point to keep Tipp ahead… just.

61 mins: Tipperary 2 – 16 Kilkenny 3 – 12

Great work from Blanchfield to cause chaos in the Tipp goal-mouth. Kilkenny are looking for goals, but the shots keep getting blocked and Semple roars its approval as Tipp clear their lines.


64 mins: Tipperary 2 – 16 Kilkenny 3 – 13

Walter Walsh looked poised to level it up, but it slices a little and goes left of the posts from a 25 metre chance.

That’s a miss for Walsh’s calibre, but BACK. COME. KILKENNY. Richie Hogan finds space 40 metres out, turns and finds the posts.

We’re level.

65 mins: Tipperary 2 – 16 Kilkenny 3 – 14

Brilliant save from Eoin Murphy at one end from Callanan, and that sparks Kilkenny again. Buckley marauds forward and dinks one over to give Kilkenny the lead.

68 mins: Tipperary 2 – 16 Kilkenny 3 – 14

Callanan hasn’t had the radar on from play tonight. He hits one wide of the left posts.

Two minutes to go and the champions and hosts are just a point down.

Who will settle this game?

69 mins: Tipperary 2 – 17 Kilkenny 3 – 14

Stephen O’Brien levels us up in time for stoppage time. He’s only just come on the field.

Bubbles sends a raking shot towards goal in search of the winner, but it’s wide.


FULL-TIME!  Tipperary 2 – 17 Kilkenny 3 – 14

A draw in Semple Stadium, but it was anything but a stalemate. Tipp and the Cats delivered an absolute thriller.

What on earth is the Championship going to be like?

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole