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Kilkenny are extra special to claim triumph

Kilkenny 2-26 Tipperary 4-17

After an enthralling game it took extra-time to separate the side, but it was All-Ireland champions Kilkenny who prevailed in the end.

It was a fascinating contest, which for some time looked like going the way of Tipperary, for they led by eight points two minutes into the second-half, but such was the ferocity of the Kilkenny comeback that the All-Ireland champions led by a single point deep into additional time, with the home county forcing extra time through a Noel McGrath pointed seventy-third minute free.

Kilkenny sparkled in the opening exchanges with Henry Shefflin shooting two points from play in as many minutes, but tipperary kickstarted their game, when James Woodcock managed to toe poke a loose ball over the line for a fourth minute goal.

Tipperary were showing a hunger for the challenge. Shane McGrath pointed before John O'Brien crashed home a splendid eighth minute goal to leave them with a 2-1 to 0-2 lead.

Woodcock and Eddie Brennan exchanged points, before Aidan Fogarty sparked to life with two excellent points.

During the ferocious opening exchanges both Declan Fanning and Martin Comerford were yellow carded and the sides continued to trade points, but Tipperary were happy going in with a 2-7 to 0-8 interval lead.

When Tipperary's Seamus Callinan found the net having gathered a Lar Corbett pass with two minutes of the restart, the Premier county had increased their lead to eight points, but their premature celebrations was just what Kilkenny needed as they immediately stormed back into the game when Richie Hogan found the net from an acute angle.

Tipperary were still clinging to a 3-9 to 1-10 lead, when Aidan Fogarty stormed through the defence to fire a rising shot beyond Brendan Cummins, leaving just two points separating the sides, 3-9 to 2-10, after 49 minutes.

The sides were locked at 2-6 to 3-13 with two minutes remaining and that was only the beginning of the drama.

One minute into additional time, Hogan fired over a huge free off the sideline to give his side the lead, but in an action packed finish in stepped Noel McGrath with a pointed free to bring the game to extra-time.

Kilkenny led 2-20 to 3-16 at the end of the first period of extra-time. As the game moved into the second period of extra-time a Noel McGrath goal had Tipperary two points in front.

Richie Hogan points kept Kilkenny in touch, but then came a late surge with excellent points from Eoin Larkin and Eddie Brennan, while in between with time running out, Brendan Cummins came upfield, but blasted a twenty-five metre free over the bar, leaving Kilkenny to lift the title after a splendid final.

Belfast Telegraph


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