Forde free hands Tipperary victory as they hold off Kilkenny challenge in Thurles

Tipperary 1-19
Kilkenny 1-18

THE SCORING NARRATIVE began in the same way it had finished, Jason Forde despatching a free over the bar for Tipperary.

Alan Flynn and Padraig Walsh.

His last point was more critical than his first, the tenth white flag he had raised over the afternoon, and the one that essentially settled this Division 1 league encounter, the home fans left pleased as Kilkenny were held off in a lively finish.

The crowd became immersed in the finale, Ronan Maher and Walter Walsh injecting energy into the proceedings with their forceful introductions off the bench for either side. For long stages this was a February fixture with a slow and sleepy feel to it.

Kilkenny chipped away at Tipperary’s advantage during the second half, enjoying a bright phase after half-time and drawing level when John Donnelly pointed a 49th minute free. Tipperary pushed on noticeably again but Kilkenny substitute Tadhg O’Dwyer banged home a 62nd minute goal after Billy Ryan had done the hard work as he cut in from the right wing.

A Walter Walsh point, his second of the day, tied the teams approaching full-time before the prospect of a draw was removed when Cathal Barrett surged forward to secure a free, Walsh having dragged him down, and Forde struck over the winner.

Paddy Cadell and Huw Lawlor.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Forde finished with 0-10, Jake Morris pounced for 1-2 and Barry Heffernan hit two lovely points for Tipperary. Kilkenny had 11 different scorers, Padraig Walsh’s tally of four points from play was the most eye-catching aspect.

Both teams were grateful to goalkeeping interventions during the second half as flying saves occurred – Brian Hogan denying Richie Leahy and Eoin Murphy preventing Morris scoring his second goal.

The opening half was mired in lethargy and the action struggled to engage the crowd present. The striking on both sides was poor, Kilkenny particularly culpable in the first half as they chalked up ten wides and left another three shots short.

Tipperary were six clear at the break, their advantage embellished by the goal that Jake Morris smashed home in the 37th minute. It came from a puckout by Eoin Murphy that went astray and Denis Maher fed the inrushing Morris, who finished brilliantly with a one-handed swipe.

Billy Ryan and Cathal Barrett.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Tipperary had produced the more decisive scoring bursts. They raced in front 0-3 to 0-0 in the opening ten minutes and were 0-6 to 0-3 clear by the 20th minute. Four points on the spin in the second quarter from Ger Browne, Michael Breen, Maher and Forde for Tipperary, was met by a Kilkenny rally that consisted of Tom Phelan, John Donnelly (2) and Padraig Walsh pointing.

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It looked like being tight on the scoreboard at the break but the Morris goal changed the complexion and Tipperary eventually had enough in the finish to prevail.

Scorers for Tipperary: Jason Forde 0-10 (0-5f), Jake Morris 1-2, Barry Heffernan 0-2, Brian Hogan (0-1f), Michael Breen, Ger Browne, Denis Maher, Ronan Maher 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kilkenny: John Donnelly 0-5 (0-5f), Padraig Walsh 0-4, Tadhg O’Dwyer 1-0, Walter Walsh 0-2, Martin Keoghan, David Blanchfield, Mikey Carey, Niall Brassil, Cian Kenny, Paddy Deegan, Tom Phelan 0-1 each.

Tipperary

1. Brian Hogan (Lorrha-Dorrha)

2. Cathal Barrett (Holycross-Ballycahill), 3. James Quigley (Kiladangan), 4. Craig Morgan (Kilruane MacDonaghs)

5. Dillon Quirke (Clonoulty-Rossmore), 6. Seamus Kennedy (St Mary’s), 7. Barry Heffernan (Éire Óg)

8. Alan Flynn (Kiladangan), 9. Michael Breen (Ballina)

10. Dan McCormack (Borris-Ileigh), 11. Jason Forde (Silvermines), 12. Ger Browne (Cashel King Cormacs)

13. Mark Kehoe (Kilsheelan-Kilcash), 14. Denis Maher (Thurles Sarsfields), 15. Jake Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg)

Subs

18. Paddy Cadell (JK Brackens) for Breen (45)

23. Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields) for Browne (50)

19. Seamus Callanan (Drom & Inch) for Denis Maher (56)

21. Paul Flynn (Kiladangan) for Kehoe (66)

26. Conor Stakelum (Thurles Sarsfields) for McCormack (71)

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Kilkenny

1. Eoin Murphy (Glenmore)

2. Mikey Butler (O’Loughlin Gaels), 3. Huw Lawlor (O’Loughlin Gaels), 4. Evan Cody (Dicksboro)

5. Mikey Carey (Young Irelands), 6. Niall Brassil (James Stephens), 7. David Blanchfield (Bennettsbridge)

8. Cian Kenny (James Stephens), 9. Paddy Deegan (O’Loughlin Gaels)

10. Richie Leahy (Rower-Inistioge), 11. Padraig Walsh (Tullaroan), 12. Tom Phelan (Conahy Shamrocks)

13. Billy Ryan (Graigue-Ballycallan), 14. Martin Keoghan (Tullaroan), 15. John Donnelly (Thomastown)

Subs

17. Tommy Walsh (Tullaroan) for Cody (inj) (4)

23. Walter Walsh (Tullogher-Rosbercon) for Phelan (46)

25. Tadhg O’Dwyer (James Stephens) for Leahy (56)

26. John Walsh (Mullinavat) for Donnelly (60)

Referee: Liam Gordon (Galway)

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