Cats stroll on to another final


Kilkenny 4-24 Tipperary 1-15: Kilkenny blew Tipperary away with a dazzling display of hurling in the second half of the All-Ireland senior hurling semi-final in front of a crowd of 50,220 at Croke Park today. The Cats will now face Galway in the All-Ireland final, in what will be their 13th September appearance in 15 years, their seventh in a row.

Galway, who defeated the reigning All-Ireland champions in July to win the Leinster senior hurling championship, are unlikely to have it so easy this time round.

“The last day we played Galway, there was only one team in it," said Kilkenny manager Brian Cody today. "They gave us a lesson and we were miles away and they went on to follow that up with a great performance against Cork.”

He added: “I’m not going to start blowing them up and blowing us down. It’s a huge game ahead. Either team is capable of beating the other. It’s something to look forward to in the next couple of weeks.”

Kilkenny totally dominated the second half of this afternoon’s clash but they trailed Tipperary on a score-line of 1-10 to 1-9 at half-time. Tipperary, however, could only muster five points in the second half while Kilkenny plundered a tally of 3-15 during the same period.

The teams were even five times in the first half and, while Kilkenny looked more dangerous in possession, Tipperary were able to score on the break, notably through Noel McGrath and Pa Bourke.

Aidan Fogarty scored after only 12 seconds but Shane McGrath levelled almost immediately for Tipp. The beginning of the game was punctuated with minor skirmishes off the ball which continued throughout and Kilkenny were further disrupted when midfielder Michael Rice sustained a hand injury that saw him replaced by Cillian Buckley.

Tipperary and Kilkenny continued to trade scores until the 28th minute when TJ Reid scored the game’s opening goal.

Henry Shefflin ran into space before picking out Reid with an accurate hand-pass. Tipperary goalkeeper Brendan Cummins, who had previously denied Colin Fennelly with a superb save, could do nothing to prevent Reid from hitting the back of the net for a five-point lead.

Tipperary reduced the arrears by three points on 31 minutes after a shoulder challenge from Lar Corbett forced Kilkenny goalkeeper David Herity to spill the sliotar into the path of Pa Bourke, who swept it into an empty net.

Two points from Bourke and another from Noel McGrath in the final minutes of the second half gave Tipperary a one-point advantage their play did not merit at half-time.

Kilkenny may have felt aggrieved their superiority wasn’t evident on the scoreboard but their efforts were duly rewarded after the restart. Henry Shefflin pointed seconds after play resumed and although Pa Bourke and John O’Brien scored in the early stages of the second half for Tipperary, Kilkenny were continued to pile on the scores.

On 45 minutes, Fogarty scored their second goal and stretched the lead to five. The Emeralds clubman ran directly into Tipperary territory before unleashing a shot that Brendan Cummins may feel he should have saved.

Buckley and Shefflin added further points and when Eoin Larkin netted a third for the Cats on 52 minutes, the game effectively ended as a contest, a fact further underlined when TJ Reid scored his second and Kilkenny’s fourth goal of the afternoon on 58 minutes.

Tipperary went 19 minutes of the second half without scoring and despite multiple substitutions there was little they could do to stem the flow of Kilkenny’s attacks.

Despite scoring 11 points Henry Shefflin was not the fulcrum of Kilkenny attacks. Reid, Fogarty and Larkin were more prominent as the second half wore on.

Tipperary were lucky not to be reduced to 14 men when Pádraic Maher lashed out wildly with his hurl. The half-back received only a yellow but it mattered little. Kilkenny were supremely confident in the closing stages and coasted to victory.

It may have provedto be a dismal day for the Tipperary senior hurlers but their minor team have reason to celebrate after they defeated Galway to set up an All-Ireland final with Dublin.

A superb Mike McCarthy goal early in the second half gave Tipperary a lead they did not relinquish.

Galway got off to a positive start when Brian Molloy set up Jason Flynn for the first goal of the game. Tipperary’s response was swift as Stephen Cahill reacted quicker than Galway goalkeeper Maidhc O Conghaile to knock it over the line.

It meant ipperary led by 1-7 to 1-6 at half-time.

McCarthy’s goal on 37 minutes put distance between the teams which proved to be telling and when Paul Killeen was dismissed late on for Galway, any hopes of a comeback were ended.

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