Brendan Cummins (6 out of 10) – He had no chance with either of the Kilkenny goals, apart from which the Tipperary ‘keeper, making his 67th championship appearance, had a relatively quiet afternoon.
Paddy Stapleton (6 out of 10) – He didn’t impose himself on the game to any significant degree, but neither was he the weak link that many had predicted. Was coping reasonably well until Richie Hogan evaded him for that spectacular goal in the 49th minute.
Paul Curran (7 out of 10) – A brave and obstinate defender, he was mostly in command of affairs in the full back line. He was coolness personified when he lifted that ball from the goal line and handpassed to safety after Richie Hogan’s delivery had broken between Eoin Larkin and Brendan Cummins in the 12th minute.
Michael Cahill (7 out of 10) – He was an injury doubt after he went over on his ankle in training on Thursday night but turned out to be one of his team’s best performers. He was an admirable shield at corner back and his individual highlight came when he flicked the ball away from Eoin Larkin as the Kilkenny man was bearing down on goal in the 3rd minute.
John O’Keeffe (6 out of 10) – Playing in his first All-Ireland Final, the Clonoulty player had an uncomfortable start against Henry Shefflin before he was sacrificed after half an hour to make way for Brendan Maher’s introduction.
Conor O’Mahony (6 out of 10) - He scored a point from some distance in the 45th minute and floored Michael Rice with a hefty challenge towards the end of the first half. But apart from that he wasn’t his usual imposing presence and made way for David Young 13 minutes from the end.
Padraic Maher (7 out of 10) – Even if he didn’t dominate to the extent that he has on other occasions this was another solid display by one of the hurlers of the year. He covered well, demonstrated his willingness and ability to join the fight and did his best to rally those around him.
Gearoid Ryan (6 out of 10) – Michael Fennelly and Michael Rice shaded the centrefield exchanges, although Ryan shuttled selflessly between defence, midfield and attack all afternoon, as well as scoring 2 points.
Shane McGrath (5 out of 10) – He was noticeably off the pace from the start with a display that was symptomatic of his team’s difficulties. The Ballinahinch player was flattened by a thundering shoulder by the outstanding Michael Fennelly in the 13th minute and seconds later his careless handpass resulted in Richie Power scoring Kilkenny’s fourth point.
Seamus Callanan (5 out of 10) – He got no change from the tight-marking Kilkenny rearguard. Shaped up well when he raced towards the Kilkenny defence early on but he ran into traffic and the chance was lost. Shortly afterwards JJ Delaney rose above him to make a great catch and after that little was seen of him. He suffered the same fate as Shane McGrath when he was withdrawn at half time.
Noel McGrath (6 out of 10) – The Loughmore player, the youngest on the pitch, scored a great point to get his team up and running in the 16th minute after they had been battered in the opening quarter of an hour. Also scored a by-now trademark sideline point but his influence was curbed by the tenacity of Kilkenny’s defence.
Patrick Maher (8 out of 10) – The Bonnar was his team’s best player. He never shirks a challenge but on this occasion he was inventive as well as committed, playing a crucial role in Pa Bourke’s goal that offered the side a gleam of hope. He could have had a goal himself if he hadn’t been cynically tripped by Noel Hickey when he galloped onto a loose ball near the end of the first half. It’s upon his shoulders – and those of Padraic Maher, Noel McGrath, Michael Cahill and Brendan Maher – that the future of Tipperary hurling rests.
Eoin Kelly (6 out of 10) – The captain didn’t score from play, although his 7 converted frees and a ‘65 kept his team hanging on by their fingertips when they were labouring all over the field. In general play he was well policed by Noel Hickey.
John O’Brien (6 out of 10) – One of the few Tipp forwards capable of winning possession, it was a surprise to see him substituted 4 minutes from the finish. Almost on the half-hour mark he fielded a Conor O’Mahony free in a good position but his route to goal was blocked by a black and amber wall and he was forced to turn back.
Lar Corbett (5 out of 10) – The hero of last year’s final didn’t disturb the scoreboard this time. He cut an isolated figure and, starved of a decent supply, lost his individual joust with Jackie Tyrrell. However he burst to life 15 minutes from the finish to provide the assist for Pa Bourke’s goal with a sublime pass.
Substitutes – Brendan Maher (6 out of 10) – His omission from the starting line-up has been a topic of much debate for the past week but it hardly impacted on the winning or losing of the game. He provided some sort of stability in defence and improved as the game progressed.
Benny Dunne (6 out of 10) – He was a good deal more effective than the man he replaced, an out of sorts Shane McGrath, and made an early impact with the first score of the second half.
Pa Bourke (6 out of 10) - The Thurles Sarsfields player scored the goal that breathed new life into his team’s performance and he threatened another before being hooked as he prepared to pull the trigger.
David Young (5 out of 10) – He struck a few clearances but carelessly gave the ball away too and picked up the game’s only booking when he hauled Michael Fennelly down, which resulted in a free that Henry Shefflin converted.
John O’Neill – Not on long enough to earn a rating.
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