Tipperary and Kilkenny renewed rivalry in Nowlan
Pulsating finale sees Tipperary going home without any points from Nowlan Park.
A rip roaring finale to this Allianz NHL tie at Nowlan Park, saw Kilkenny prevail by the slenderest of margins as they sit level on points now with The Premier County with the final round of the league to come.
A game which burst to life as the finish line approached, Tipperary were made to rue missed chances early on and could easily have snatched a draw in the final moments also. But, it wasn't to be and Michael Ryans men suffered their second defeat to the league on away turf.
Despite the cold, conditions were excellent in Nowlan Park where bright sunshine greeted Tipperary supporters who made the trip over the border. And, if things were cold in the stands, they were certainly hot on the field of play where the age-old rivalry was renewed with tremendous vigor.
Kilkenny held a one point advantage at the break 0-13 to 0-12, but the story could have been different had Tipperary not wasted so many chances - 9 wides in total by the break and 5 within the first 12 minutes.
Tipp were 0-4 to 0-1 in front after 7 minutes with Sean Curran, Niall O'Meara (2) and Michael Breen on target, but Kilkenny had leveled and gone in front by the 20th when TJ Reid had his sixth point from his centre forward berth. It was nip and tuck then to the half way mark and Reid was to end up with Reid already on nine points by this stage.
Tipperary were making hard working of finding scores and when chances are going astray it was always going to be hard to maintain any advantage. Tipp needed to smarten up in attack and to tighten up in defence where Reid was enjoying far too much latitude.
Two goals in three minutes after resumption swayed the advantage significantly in KIlkenny's advantage when Walter Walsh and Luke Scanlan goalled to send Kilkenny seven clear. That should have been that but Tipperary didn't read the script and they battled back with goals from Michael Breen in the 10th and 15th minutes to set up a rip roaring last quarter. Tipp did all in their power to come away with something and looked to have achieved that when Michael Breen leveled in injury time, but Richie Leahy had the last laugh when he pointed in the 36th minute to give Kilkenny a rousing victory.