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Late Eoin Murphy free gives Kilkenny much-needed win in Thurles


A missable Division 1 Round 4 clash in Thurles came to life at the death when the teams exchanged scores before Eoin Murphy stepped up with a long-range free to claim the win for the visitors.

Neither team will want to remember this one in a hurry but Murphy, with a second additional time free, has given Kilkenny a chance of making the quarter-finals.

Tipperary went ahead for only the second time in the game in the 56th minute after a quick John O’Dwyer brace and a Seamus Callanan free had brought them level and then Niall O’Meara caught and turned to fire over.

After some slick interplay between Ronan Maher and Noel McGrath, O’Dwyer sent over his fourth from play but Kilkenny evenutally broke their duck, which extended to 21 minutes, through Martin Keoghan and Richie Leahy levelled matters in the 66th minute.

After a silly Tommy Walsh foul, Jason Forde, taking over from Callanan after one too many a wide from a placed ball, pushed Tipperary ahead once more. Murphy stepped up with his first free in the first minute of additional time to square things again prior to Noel McGrath arrowing a shot over from close to midfield. Richie Hogan then obliged and after Pádraic Maher was adjudged to have touched the ball on the ground Murphy turned match-winner from just inside Tipperary’s 65-metre line.

Kilkenny finished the first half with almost as many wides as they had points, beating Tipperary on both counts, leading 0-9 to 0-8 on the scoreboard and hitting eight wides to their hosts’ seven after a flurry of poor shots towards the end.

It was in keeping with an awful display of hurling in that period which Kilkenny should have finished further ahead and Tipperary’s spray of passes from their half-back and midfield left a lot to be desired.

It wasn’t until the 18th minute that Tipperary scored their second point by which stage Kilkenny had five to their name, Alan Murphy sending over three frees. Murphy’s radar let him down in the latter stages of the half and Tipperary were on level terms by the 22nd minute as they hit four unanswered scores.

The below standard state of the pitch didn’t lend itself to attractive hurling although there was nothing about the turf that Callanan could blame when he was easily dispossessed by Conor Delaney twice in the space of as many minutes.

Kilkenny shook themselves to go three up by the 26th minute, the last of them an easy catch and run from a puck-out by Pádraig Walsh, but Ger Malone’s point in the 28th minute was the last of the half.

Points by Niall O’Meara, McGrath and a Callanan free brought Tipperary back into it once more but they were left to rue Michael Breen’s goal chance which blazed wide after he was teed up by Callanan.

Scorers for Tipperary: S. Callanan (0-5, 4 frees); John O’Dwyer (0-4); N. O’Meara, J. Forde (frees), N. McGrath (0-2 each); R. Byrne, S. Kennedy (0-1 each).

Scorers for Kilkenny: A. Murphy (0-7, frees); P. Walsh, W. Walsh, E. Murphy (frees) (0-2 each); B. Ryan, G. Malone, M. Keoghan, R. Leahy, R. Hogan (0-1 each)

TIPPERARY: Paul Maher; A. Flynn, J. Barry, R. Maher; S. Kennedy, Pádraic Maher, R. Byrne; N. McGrath, W. Connors; J. Forde, M. Breen, Patrick Maher; J. O’Dwyer, S. Callanan (c), N. O’Meara.

Subs for Tipperary: J. Morris for W. Connors (42); Joe O’Dwyer for S. Kennedy (49); J. McGrath for Patrick Maher (56); G. Browne for M. Breen (68);

KILKENNY: E. Murphy; P. Murphy, C. Delaney, T. Walsh; C. Fogarty (c), P. Deegan, J. Cleere; P. Walsh, A. Murphy; J. Donnelly, W. Walsh, G Malone, B. Ryan, L. Blanchfield, M. Keoghan.

Subs for Kilkenny: R. Leahy for J. Donnelly (43); J. Maher for A. Murphy, R. Hogan for G. Malone (both 53); N. Brassil for L. Blanchfield (69).

Referee: J. Murphy (Limerick).