In the end no more than the width of the leather on the sliotar deprived Tipperary of what would have been a sensational victory in the All-Ireland senior hurling final in throbbing Croke Park this afternoon, writes John Knox.
Kilkenny 3-22 Tipperary 1-28
A late, late free from his own ‘50’ by John O’Dwyer was so close it had to be ruled on by Hawk Eye. The system ruled ‘A Miss’ to send the final to a replay for the third successive years, two involving Kilkenny. The final score was 3-22 (K) to 1-28.
The replay will be on Saturday, September 27 in Croke Park.
Kilkenny went within an ace of snatching what would have been their 35th MacCarthy Cup success. When T.J. Reid pointed in the 65th minute following a foul on Colin Fennelly it left them 3-22 to 1-25 clear in a game that swung one way and then the other during a gripping, action packed contest.
However, Tipp stormed back and late scores from John O’Dwyer, a flying Lar Corbett and O’Dwyer again forced what was the first championship draw between the counties.
There was little between the sides at any stage. The scores were level on a dozen occasions, and both sides had their moments in front.
The opening dozen scores were equally divided. Seamus Callanan pointed Tipp in front in the 18th minute, and a quick addition from Shane McGrath was followed by a goal from Patrick Maher as they gained the upper-hand (1-8 to 0-6).
The Premier County had a penalty by Seamus Callanan saved in the 21st minute but they added a point to their advantage before Kilkenny stormed back.
A point from Richie Hogan was followed by a goal from Richie Power, created by a lovely touch from their most productive man at the time, T.J. Reid (1-9 to 1-7).
When half-time was reached Tipp led by 1-13 to 1-11, but the contest was still wide open.
Everything was thrown up int he air within seconds of the restart when T.J. Reid smashed a super shot from 20 metres to the Tipp net. A point from Shane McGrath levelled things again, and the scene was set for a sizzing second half.
It was that, and more!
The 47th minute was reached with things all square, 1-18 to 2-15. Within seconds Richie Power had the ball in the Tipp net again, and with Richie Hogan by now thundering into the match at centre-forward, they looked to be gaining an advantage, however slim.
Tipp had a second penalty, this time taken by John O’Dwyer, saved in the 57th minute as they chased at a ferocious pace. Kilkenny stayed in front, but they couldn’t halt Tipp’s late, late charged that earned a draw via a hat trick of points.
The late call for O’Dwyer’s free was a big one by the referee, who ruled against a forward charging Brian Hogan. It was one of many calls Cats supporters would have questioned.
In the end the big winner was hurling. This was a contest brimful of all the best the game has to offer. And the great thing is that fans can get to enjoy Round 2 in three weeks time.
Scorers: Kilkenny - T.J. Reid (1-8); R. Power (2-1); R. Hogan (0-6); E. Larkin (0-2); B. Hogan, C. Fogarty, M. Fennelly, C. Fennelly, W. Walsh (0-1 each). Tipperary - J. O’Dwyer, S. Callanan (0-7 each); Patrick Maher (1-1); N. McGrath (0-4); S. McGrath, L. Corbett (0-2 each), P. Stapleton, J. Woodlock, G. Ryan, M. Cahill, J. Forde (0-1 each).
Referee - Barry Kelly (Westmeath).