Cats immense as Premier torn to shreds19/08/2012 - 17:13:50
Kilkenny 4-24 Tipperary 1-15
Kilkenny staged a tremendous second half display as they booked a place in their seventh All-Ireland SHC final in succession thanks to a double-scores win at Croke Park this afternoon.
50,220 spectators watched on as the Cats held Tipperary to just five second-half points.
Despite the comfortable margin of victory for Brian Cody's side at the full-time whistle, a keenly contested opening 35 minutes was produced, with Tipperary leading by a point at the interval.
This game was intense from the off and after Aidan Fogarty opened the scoring after just 10 seconds with a point for Kilkenny, sparks flew in no fewer than three sectors of the pitch.
Tempers flared but referee Cathal McAllister opted not to show a yellow card.
Tipperary's initial effort to claim their first score ended in vain after Noel McGrath sent a shot wide of the target.
McAllister wasn't able to keep his cards in his pocket for long, with Tommy Walsh receiving a yellow cardd after 90 seconds after an off the ball infraction.
Declan Ryan's charges upped their game and broke 0-2 to 0-1 in front by the fifth minute thanks to scores from Pa Bourke and midfielder Shane McGrath.
Bourke was the scorer-in-chief following an intense opening half, with the Thurles Sarsfields clubman extremely accurate from dead-balls.
Scores from Michael Fennelly, Henry Shefflin and Fogarty saw the Cats regain the lead, on a 0-4 to 0-2 score-line after nine minutes.
Centre-half-back Conor O'Mahony kept Tipperary in touch with a fine score from 65 metres in the 10th minute, but his effort was quickly cancelled out by Richie Power.
Bourke and Noel McGrath claimed a quick brace of points to tie the game for the third time after 14 minutes.
Kilkenny had a slight edge in the midfield sector at this stage with Michael Rice adding a point, but the Carrickshock clubman was forced off the field through a blood injury soon-after.
His place was taken by Under 21 player Cillian Buckley, in what turned out to be a permanent substitution.
Rice was forced to go to hospital due to a suspected fractured tendon in his hand.
Tipperary were gifted two chances in front of the posts in the 15th minute but squandered both opportunities.
At the opposite end Shefflin handed TJ Reid a 17th minute goal-chance, but Brendan Cummins was equal to the Ballyhale Shamrocks clubman's shot.
Reid helped Kilkenny pull two points clear, but Tipperary mounted a comeback as a brace of Bourke points levelled the tie for the fourth time.
Brian Cody's charges showed firm dominance for the next four minutes, with Colin Fennelly and Shefflin taking points, before the opening goal of this contest was produced.
Shefflin and Reid combining before the latter smashed the ball to the back of the Tipperary net to give the reigning All-Ireland Champions a 1-9 to 0-7 lead.
Kilkenny's joy was short-lived as David Herity was cat-napped in the 30th minute, after being dispossessed by Lar Corbett, and the ball falling to Bourke, who cut the gap to two points as he slotted the sliotar to an empty net.
The Premier County continued to finish the half strongly, holding Kilkenny scoreless before the break as points from Bourke (0-2) and Noel McGrath helped them to a 1-10 to 1-9 interval lead.
The close nature of this game continued into the third quarter, with the sides level on three occasions inside six minutes of the restart.
But once Kilkenny broke in front thanks to a Richie Power point in the 42nd minute, his side took a lead they wouldn't relinquish as the beaten Leinster finalists firmly got on top.
Power extended the Cats lead to two points, before Aidan Fogarty broke through for a 45th minute goal to ensure a five points margin.
Bourke and Buckley traded points, before Shefflin's sixth point ensured a six-point gap between the teams for the first time.
And this gap was to get even bigger, as from the puck-out the Cats once again gained possession with the ball played through to captain Eoin Larkin, who showed great pace when baring down on the Tipperary goalmouth to complete the Kilkenny hat-trick.
Larkin's 51st minute goal opened up a nine-point lead on a 3-16 to 1-13 score-line and from that point on Tipperary were left with an uphill battle.
The James Stephen's clubman's goal came in a spell which saw Kilkenny outscore Tipperary by 2-6 to 0-0 between the 49th and 65th minutes.
Kilkenny's fourth goal arriving 13 minutes from the end, after Reid netted for the second time, stepping past Michael Cahill before outsmarting Cummins.
That green-flag put Kilkenny 4-17 to 1-13 in front, and following points from Shefflin and Reid the Cats opened up a 16-point gap.
Tipperary failed to give up with substitute O'Neill putting in a spirited display late on.
However, Kilkenny had firmly done enough to book their place in the decider against Galway, with Shefflin sealing victory with his eleventh point, and his first from play deep into injury-time.
KILKENNY: D Herity; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan (0-1), K Joyce; M Fennelly (0-1), M Rice (0-1); H Shefflin (0-11, 9f, 1 '65), TJ Reid (2-2), E Larkin (1-0); C Fennelly (0-1), R Power (0-3, 1f, 1 '65), A Fogarty (1-3). Subs: C Buckley (0-1) for Rice (18); R Doyle for Murphy (64); N Hickey for Joyce (64); M Ruth for C Fennelly (64); C Fogarty for A Fogarty (67).
TIPPERARY: B Cummins; C O'Brien, P Curran, M Cahill; T Stapleton, C O'Mahony (0-1), Padraic Maher; B Maher, S McGrath (0-1); P Bourke (1-7, 4f, 3 '65), Patrick Maher, L Corbett; B O'Meara, J O'Brien (0-1), N McGrath (0-2). Subs: S Bourke for O'Meara (45); P Stapleton for T Stapleton (47); D Maher for Curran (60); J O'Neill (0-2) for O'Brien (63); J Woodlock for B Maher (66).
Referee: Cathal McAllister (Cork)