Kilkenny bravehearts put their hands up
Kilkenny 0-20 Tipperary 1-14
By Diarmuid O’Flynn for the Irish Examiner newspaper
To quote a line from William Shakespeare, Tipperary went to Nowlan Park on Saturday evening for this winner-take-all All-Ireland qualifier ‘to bury Caesar, not to praise him’. They didn’t succeed but what an effort they made, and what an effort it took to repel the would-be assassins! Nowlan Park was a steaming teeming cauldron on Saturday, a sellout crowd of just short of 24,000 who had come to see their hurling gladiators engaged in a fight to the death. The home side had the bulk of the support, the roof almost lifting from the various stands when it was announced that ‘there is one addition to the Kilkenny panel…..’ and that was as far as the announcer got.
The returning Henry Shefflin did eventually make an appearance in the 65th minute, and almost immediately contributed, muscling his way into space before setting up Richie Power for a crucial point. Arguably, however, as far as events on the field went there was an even bigger announcement before that, another addition to the match programme – injured corner-back Paul Murphy had made an even more miraculous recovery from injury to take his place on the starting 15 and play a crucial role in a match-winning defence superbly marshalled by centre-back Brian Hogan.
“It’s hard to single out anyone,” said Hogan of the defensive foundation on which victory was built; “Jackie (Tyrrell) came back with a sore calf, supposedly, but the way he was charging out with balls there . “Murph set the tone in the first ten or 15 minutes, came out like a train with balls, no-one going to get in his way. Then you had Joycey (wing-back Kieran Joyce), he’s been catching great balls all year — I think Tommy (Walsh, the other wing-back) felt a bit left out so he came in with a few great catches.”
Hogan could have added full-back JJ Delaney and himself to those four because in the final quarter it almost became a contest among those Kilkenny backs as to who could make the most spectacular or the most telling catch. Mind you, at the other end the same thing was happening, the Tipperary defensive sextet of Conor O’Brien, emergency full-back Paddy Stapleton (Paul Curran a late cry-off), Michael Cahill, Brendan Maher, Conor O’Mahony and Padraic Maher also in commanding form. The difference, ultimately, was that the Kilkenny attack were able to make just enough inroads into that defence to get the occasional score. Walter Walsh (three points); Richie Hogan, (three points); Richie Power, (two points) and captain Colin Fennelly with one point. That four have scored more, and will score more again, but they will never score more valuable points.
The game was decided only in the last ten minutes, a time when many felt that if Tipperary were to win this was where a Kilkenny side coming off two really hard games in the last two weeks, four defenders over 30, temperature peaking at 26 degrees, would be most vulnerable. They were wrong. It was tied at half-time, 0-9 to 1-6, free-taker Eoin Larkin with five for Kilkenny, on-song Lar Corbett with the Tipperary goal in the 23rd minute but then forced to depart with a pulled hamstring only six minutes later. It was still tied 14 minutes into the second half (0-12 to 1-9), low-scoring but a million-miles-an-hour.
“It was tense and intense,” said Brian Hogan, “Even the lead-up to it. Lads were anxious, playing on your home patch you never want to lose, especially when you’re playing the neighbours, that adds a little extra pressure. “The match itself was fierce intense, not much of a breeze, the heat, the physicality thrown in top of that. It was a real battle, never very much between us.” Even with only two minutes remaining on the clock there was still just two points between them, Tipperary attacking. “Oh God, would someone please speed up that clock!” Barry Henriquez, local Kilkenny radio commentator, implored.
It wasn’t necessary and it was Kilkenny, that ‘old’ defence dominating, who finished stronger. The obituaries? Hold them for a while, the advice of Brian Hogan. “We didn’t talk about it but I’m sure players were conscious of it individually — I know I was. We’re in this for ourselves, we’re in it to win and lads aren’t ready to hang up their boots just yet. The realisation was that if we lost today we’d be out of the championship in early July. None of us wanted that as a legacy.”
Scorers for Kilkenny: E Larkin (0-11, ten frees); W Walsh (0-3); R Hogan (0-3); R Power 0-2; C F Scorers for Tipperary: E Kelly (0-5, five frees); J O’Dwyer (0-3); L Corbett (1-0); S Callanan (0-2); J Woodlock, J O’Brien, N McGrath, K Bergin (0-1 each).
KILKENNY: E Murphy; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan, K Joyce; L Ryan, E Larkin; M Ruth, R Power, C Fennelly; TJ Reid, W Walsh, R Hogan.
Subs for Kilkenny: G Aylward for Fennelly (inj. 20); A Fogarty for Aylward (52); H Shefflin for Ruth (65).
TIPPERARY: B Cummins; C O’Brien, P Stapleton, , M Cahill; B Maher, C O’Mahony, Padraig Maher; J Woodlock, S McGrath (c); Patrick Maher, N McGrath, J O’Brien; J O’Dwyer, E Kelly, L Corbett.
Subs for Tipperary: S Callanan for Corbett (inj. 29); K Bergin for S McGrath (35); J Forde for Patrick Maher (53); G Ryan for O’Brien (54); B O’Meara for Kelly (64).
Referee: B Gavin (Offaly)
Kilkenny dig deep to beat Tipperary
Report from the GAA.ie web site
GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Phase II: Kilkenny 0-20 Tipperary 1-14
Kilkenny rolled back the years and delivered yet another incredible performance to keep their hopes of retaining the Liam MacCarthy Cup alive with a three-point defeat of Tipperary at Nowlan Park.
With the game perfectly balanced at half-time – Tipperary’s Seamus Callanan drew his side level in added time – the Cats delivered a brilliant second half defensive display, with man of the match Eoin Larkin pitching in with 0-11, to progress to Phase III, where they will meet Waterford next Saturday.
Tipperary had taken an early 1-4 to 0-3 lead after Lar Corbett grabbed a goal on the quarter-hour mark, but Tipp’s hopes were dealt a huge blow when the Thurles Sarsfields man was forced off with a hamstring injury towards the end of the first half.
John O’Brien’s fine point put Tipp 1-8 to 0-10 at the start of the second half, but when they had a great goal chance through Eoin Kelly, his shot deflected out for a 65 by the brilliant JJ Delaney.
Delaney, Jackie Tyrrell and Brian Hogan were immense in the final quarter, when Kilkenny finally started to pull away, Walter Walsh grabbing two crucial scores and Larkin increasing their lead from placed balls.
Kieran Bergin and James Woodlock pegged the Cats back with scores in the final 10 minutes, but Brian Cody decided to bring Henry Shefflin on for the final six minutes, and he set up a score for Richie Power before Colin Fennelly added another point to nudge his side four clear at the death.
Scorers for Kilkenny: E Larkin 0-11 (0-11f), W Walsh 0-3, R Hogan 0-3, R Power 0-2, C Fennelly 0-1.
Scorers for Tipperary: E Kelly 0-5 (0-4f, 0-1 ’65), L Corbett 1-0, J O’Dwyer 0-3, S Callanan 0-2, J O’Brien 0-1, N McGrath 0-1, J Woodlock 0-1, K Bergin 0-1.
Kilkenny: E Murphy; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, J Tyrell; T Walsh, B Hogan, K Joyce; M Ruth, L Ryan; TJ Reid, R Power, E Larkin; C Fennelly, W Walsh, R Hogan. Subs: Ger Aylward for Reid (20), Aidan Fogarty for Aylward (52), Henry Shefflin for Ruth (63).
Tipperary: B Cummins; C O’Brien, P Stapleton, M Cahill; B Maher, C O’Mahony, Pádraic Maher; J Woodlock, S McGrath; Patrick Maher, N McGrath, J O’Brien; J O’Dwyer, E Kelly, L Corbett. Subs: S Callanan for Corbett (28), K Bergin for S McGrath (HT), J Forde for Patrick Maher (52), G Ryan for O’Brien (54), B O’Meara for Kelly (63).
The Tipperary Senior Hurling team to play Kilkenny in Saturday’s All-Ireland Qualifier game at 7pm in Nowlan Park Kilkenny shows 4 changes from the team which lost to Limerick in the Munster semi-final. Conor O’Brien replaces the injured Kieran Bergin at wing-back while up front, John O’Dwyer, Eoin Kelly and Lar Corbett will form a new look full-forward line as Pa Bourke, Shane Bourke and Seamus Callanan drop to the bench.
1. Brendan Cummins (Ballybacon-Grange)
2. Paddy Stapleton (Borris-Ileigh)
3. Paul Curran (Mullinahone)
4. Michael Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields)
5. Conor O’Brien (Eire Og Annacarty)
6. Conor O’Mahony (Newport)
7. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
8. Brendan Maher (Borris-Ileigh)
9. Shane McGrath (Ballinahinch) Captain
10. Patrick Maher (Lorrha and Dorrha)
11. Noel McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)
12. John O’Brien (Toomevara)
13. John O’Dwyer (Killenaule)
14. Eoin Kelly (Mullinahone)
15. Lar Corbett (Thurles Sarsfields)
1. Eoin Murphy Glenmore
2. Conor Fogarty Erins Own
3. J.J. Delaney Fenians
4. Jackie Tyrrell James Stephens
5. Tommy Walsh Tullaroan
6. Brian Hogan O’loughlin Gaels
7. Kieran Joyce Rower Inistioge
8. Michael Rice Carrickshock
9. Lester Ryan Clara
10. Walter Walsh Tullogher Rosbercon
11. Richie Power Carrickshock
12. Eoin Larkin James Stephens
13. Colin Fennelly Ballyhale Shamrocks
14. Richie Hogan Danesfort
15. Aidan Fogarty Emeralds
16. David Herity Dunnamaggin
17. Paddy Hogan Danesfort
18. Padraig Walsh Tullaroan
19. Richie Doyle Barrow Rangers
20. T J Reid Ballyhale Shamrocks
21. Matthew Ruth James Stephens
22. Ger Aylward Glenmore
23. Willie Phelan Dunnamaggin
24. Mark Kelly O’loughlin Gaels
25. Joe Brennan St. Patricks
26. Brian Kennedy St Lactains
GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship Phase II
Nowlan Park 19:00
Cill Chainnigh v Tiobraid Árann
Referee: Brian Gavin (Uíbh Fhailí)
(E.T. if Necessary)
This Saturday’s game in Nowlan Park is all ticket with unreserved seating;
Prices as follows;
All Stand = €20
All Terrace = €15
Juvenile = €5 (must be accompanied by adult)
Student/OAP = €15 (Pay full price with €5 refund at designated stile with valid ID)
Juvenile Groups = €3 each juv and 1 adult free with every 10. Applications must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org from the club secs email address.
Applications asap through your Divisional Ticket Co-Ordinator. Don’t delay as all seating is on open sale on a first come first served basis.
Tickets are available through clubs only at this stage. The GAA Ticket Office has confirmed that tickets for the Kilkenny V Tipperary Phase II Hurling Championship match in Nowlan Park, Kilkenny on Saturday evening next have sold out. This game takes place at 7.00pm and supporters are asked to attend earlier.
This game will be shown live on TV3
Most previews of the 2013 Championship had Kilkenny and Tipperary slated to meet at some pivotal stage of the season, but nobody could have predicted they would come together in a knock-out game before any of the provincial championships have been decided.
Kilkenny were favourites to retain the Leinster title after last year’s so-called hiccup in losing to Galway in the provincial final, but Brian Cody’s side lost to Dublin after a replay in the semi-final at Portlaoise last Saturday night and have now gone two years without a Leinster title for the first time since 1997.
Tipperary, too, were expected to claim a third successive Munster title and to come back stronger than ever under new manager Eamon O’Shea after last year’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to the Cats. However, the Munster championship was turned on its head when the Premier County were beaten by Limerick in the semi-final, and as luck would have it they were pitched into Phase 2 of the Qualifiers against their great tormentors of the recent past.
One of the arguments detractors of the hurling qualifiers frequently make is the huge number of lop-sided games they have thrown up since they came in back in 2002. This, however, is quite simply the biggest game in the 11-year history of the ‘back door’ in hurling and not even the most cock-sure of pundits is willing to put their neck on the line to call it.
The fact that Tipperary or Kilkenny will be out of the 2013 Championship by 8.30pm on Saturday night is something people have been attempting to come to terms with since Kilkenny’s replay defeat to Dublin on Saturday. Kilkenny have made 16 All-Ireland semi-finals in a row while Tipperary haven’t been idle at this time of the year since 1999. It all feeds into the unmistakable sense that the bases of power are shifting, and with Limerick, Clare and Dublin on the rise, there’s a hint of revolution in the air.
Given their prowess in the provincial championships, this is unsurprisingly their first-ever meeting in the qualifiers. The sides have met in each of the last four championship seasons, however, with the 2009, 2010 and 2011 games all being All-Ireland finals. Last year’s encounter, an All-Ireland semi-final, was the exception in every sense given the Cats romped to an 18-point victory after three evenly matched and very exciting games.
While those games can’t be discounted, the Allianz League final this year is a far more relevant reference point. A full-blooded and thoroughly enjoyable game played at a packed Nowlan Park at the start of May, it was a championship game in everything but name. Largely thanks to a brilliant first half performance from Michael Fennelly, who scored 2-3 playing in an attacking role, the Cats won by 2-17 to 0-20 in a fiery game that saw JJ Delaney and Lar Corbett red carded.
That was Kilkenny’s tenth successive competitive victory at Nowlan Park, with their last defeat coming back in March 2010 when they lost an Allianz League game to Galway. Crucially, Kilkenny are short a number of key personnel from the league final, with Michael Fennelly and Paul Murphy still out of contention and Jackie Tyrrell, who is named in the side, still recovering from a quad injury. Henry Shefflin hasn’t been named in the squad, but that won’t stop the rumour mill spinning about a potential late inclusion on Saturday night.
While Kilkenny look significantly weakened in key areas, Tipperary manager Eamon O’Shea has selected from a full squad and has made four changes from the side that lost to Limerick. The one change in defence is enforced, Conor O’Brien replacing the injured Kieran Bergin. However, he has completely replaced the full-forward line, Eoin Kelly earning a recall, Lar Corbett returning from injury and John O’Dwyer getting a start after hitting 1-3 when coming off the bench the last day.
It’s little surprise O’Shea has made so many changes in attack given his side were outscored by 0-8 to 0-2 in the closing 21 minutes of the Limerick game, and they look a stronger attacking unit now, with Jason Forde also poised to play some part from the bench having been ruled out the last day through illness.
Kilkenny boss Cody has made two changes from the Dublin game. Lester Ryan and Colin Fennelly are named in the starting XV in place of TJ Reid and Cillian Buckley, both of whom are reported to be carrying knocks.
Kilkenny have now been in action on three of the last four weekends while Tipperary have had nearly a month to regroup since the Limerick defeat. The Cats are starting to show signs of wear and tear, especially in defence, and if a new-look Tipperary attack can fire on Saturday, Kilkenny could be looking at their earliest championship exit since 1996.
Rarely has a game at this stage of the season been so keenly anticipated, with the ‘sold-out’ signs going up over Nowlan Park last Tuesday after an unprecedented demand for tickets.
Kilkenny: E Murphy; C Fogarty, JJ Delaney, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan, K Joyce; M Rice, L Ryan; W Walsh, R Power, E Larkin; C Fennelly, R Hogan, A Fogarty.
Tipperary: B Cummins; P Stapleton, P Curran, M Cahill; C O’Brien, C O’Mahony, P Maher; B Maher, S McGrath; P Maher, N McGrath, J O’Brien; J O’Dwyer, E Kelly, L Corbett.
Tipperary-Kilkenny – Last 5 Championship Clashes
2012: Kilkenny 4-24 Tipperary 1-15
2011: Kilkenny 2-17 Tipperary 1-16
2010: Tipperary 4-17 Kilkenny 1-18
2009: Kilkenny 2-22 Tipperary 0-23
2003: Kilkenny 3-18 Tipperary 0-15