Kilkenny 2-17 Tipperary 0-18

Old habits clearly die hard for Kilkenny who simply refused to bow to old rivals Tipperary at Nowlan Park, stealing a precious Allianz Hurling League Division 1A victory with two late Kevin Kelly goals.

Visiting Tipperary led for the most part in front of 10,892 and, inspired by John O'Dwyer's nine points, remained a score ahead with three minutes to go.

But Kelly goals in the 67th and 72nd minutes turned a tricky situation into a slightly flattering five-point win for the All-Ireland champions, their first of the campaign after losing in Waterford.

In the process, Kelly heaped more misery on Tipp who have only beaten Kilkenny twice in 11 games now since the 2010 All-Ireland final.

Kelly was, ironically, quiet until his late net blasts but finished with 2-01 while Hurler of the Year and free-taker TJ Reid struck for 10 points. The win was all the more impressive as Kilkenny lost talisman Richie Hogan before throw-in.

Tipperary came to the Kilkenny venue armed with both form and motivation as they sought to end their miserable streak at the hands of Kilkenny.

They'd looked sharp in their 14-point dismantling of Dublin in Thurles and began with similar gusto, opening up a double scores 0-08 to 0-04 lead after 20 minutes.

'Bubbles' O'Dwyer came into the team as a like for like late change for Jason Forde who fired 1-05 against the Dubs.

O'Dwyer scored three of those early Tipp points with two from open play. Tipp attacked with purpose and intent and three of those eight points could easily have resulted in goals instead.

Kilkenny 'keeper Eoin Murphy tipped over goal efforts from Conor Kenny and O'Dwyer while Michael Breen's 18th minute Tipp point came from another goal raid.

Surprisingly, Tipp only scored one more point until the 36th minute as Kilkenny came powering back into the game, reducing the margin to just one at half-time when Tipp led by 0-09 to 0-08.

Reid blazed two frees and a 65 wide but also converted four frees including one that he engineered himself when he drew the foul.

James Maher started at wing-forward for the Cats and was sharp, escaping Tipp captain Brendan Maher three times for points from open play.

Rain continued to drizzle down on a tit for tat encounter that Tipp just about edged throughout the second-half.

Noel and John McGrath weighed in with three more points between them to take a narrow 0-14 to 0-13 lead into the final 15 minutes.

Aside from Reid's frees, Kilkenny were reliant on Maher for inspiration. The St Lachtain's man took his tally to four points in the 47th minute and also fired a snap shot narrowly wide of Darren Gleeson's upright.

Tipp retained that one-point advantage as time ticked down but, yet again, they simply couldn't close it out as Kilkenny rallied brilliantly.

Kelly capitalised on sub Jonjo Farrell's excellent run and ball across goal for his first goal and blasted his second in injury-time after a strong solo run down the right.

Kilkenny: E Murphy; P Murphy, J Holden, S Prendergast; P Walsh (0-01), R Lennon, D Cody; L Ryan, C Fogarty; C Fennelly, TJ Reid (0-10, 0-06f, 0-01 65), J Maher (0-04); W Walsh (0-01), K Kelly (2-01), J Power.

Subs: J Farrell for Power, K Joyce for Holden.

Tipperary: D Gleeson; C Barrett, T Hamill, M Cahill; B Maher, J Barry, Padraic Maher; M Breen (0-01), D Quinn; D McCormack, Patrick Maher, J O'Dwyer (0-09, 0-04f, 0-02 65); N McGrath (0-02), C Kenny (0-02), J McGrath (0-04, 0-01f).

Subs: N O'Meara for Kenny, R Maher for Quinn, J Meagher for Padraic Maher, A Coffey for McCormack.

Referee: C McAllister (Cork).