Sunday, 26 February 2012

HL 1A: Cats win All-Ireland repeat 26 February 2012

Kilkenny Power-ed to a 2-17 to 0-15 victory over Tipperary at Nowlan Park.

Richie Power registered 1-12, with captain Eoin Larkin bagging the other major for the winners.

Kilkenny produced an impressive first-half display to lead by 1-10 to 0-8 at half time, with Power hitting the goal as well as a flurry of points.

Tipp made a late change to their starting team with veteran goalkeeper Brendan Cummins in to replace Darren Gleeson. But it was the Cats who pounced first when Power clipped over a free from right of centre in the first minute.

At the other end, UCD student Noel McGrath drilled over an excellent point from about 55 metres out, close to the sideline. Cummins made a vital intervention to foil TJ Reid as Kilkenny threatened the Tipp goal, diverting the ball out for a '65', which Power rolled up onto his hurl and converted: 0-2 to 0-1.

James Stephens clubman Matthew Ruth doubled the gap and Michael Rice made it 0-3 to 0-1 with a lovely finish.

The Cats added two more points and Power then won and converted a twelfth-minute penalty to make it 1-5 to 0-1. Conor O'Mahony landed a brilliant free from distance for the Premier County.

Pa Bourke hit two points either side of a McGrath effort as Tipp gained a foothold in the game with four consecutive points, 1-5 to 0-5. But Colm Fennelly was fouled after being picked out by captain Eoin Larkin and Power popped the free over the bar, his tally rising to 1-3.

Larkin got himself a score and Power landed three more first-half points as the Noresiders remained in control to lead by five at the short whistle.

Noel McGrath - with his third point - registered the first score of the second half and Pa Bourke's sixth pointed free meant there was just the goal between these fierce rivals: 1-10 to 0-10.

Kilkenny's response was both immediate and deadly - a 41st-minute goal from Larkin who just about managed to get the ball across the line.

Power made it 2-12 to 0-10 as daylight appeared between the sides again. But Power and Reid both missed the target as Brian Cody's relentless men continued to boss things.

Brendan Maher became just the fourth Tipp player to score when he pointed off his right side and Declan Ryan threw Eoin Kelly into the action for the last 20 minutes. But Power tapped over a 20-metre free after a foul on Colm Fennelly.

Kelly and fellow substitute Shane Bourke grabbed three-in-a-row for the visitors as they reduced the arrears somewhat but Tommy Walsh rose to repel a couple of high balls in around the Kilkenny defence as the Cats held on effortlessly, 2-15 to 0-14 with six minutes left.

Power floated over another free, which was cancelled out by Shane Bourke - his third point from play - from an acute angle. In the first minute of injury time, Carrickshock clubman Power converted again from 35 metres to complete his impressive afternoon.

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