/ GAA

Kilkenny 2-22 0-23 Tipperary

Updated: Monday, 07 Sep 2009 09:10

John O'Brien of Tipperary and Tommy Walsh of Kilkenny compete - Walsh was one of Kilkenny's outstanding performers on the day
John O'Brien of Tipperary and Tommy Walsh of Kilkenny compete - Walsh was one of Kilkenny's outstanding performers on the day

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Kilkenny created a piece of history with a fourth successive All-Ireland Senior Hurling title following a memorable decider at Croke Park.

The Cats became only the second county to put four titles back to back, joining the great Cork team of the 1940s in an elite club.

Late goals from Henry Shefflin and substitute Martin Comerford finally killed off the heroic efforts of a Tipp side that looked for long periods that they were going to end the reign of Brian Cody’s side.

<notforsyndication>Read our matchtracker on the final here.</notforsyndication>

A crowd of 82,106 was treated to one of the best All-Ireland finals in years, and at the end of it all, the Cats were acclaimed as one of the greatest teams of all time, if not the greatest.

Tipp had to play almost 20 minutes with 14 men following the dismissal of Benny Dunne, and their resolve was finally broken in the final stages, when the goals shattered their hearts in the 63rd and 64th minutes.

Eoin Kelly’s 0-13 was not enough to send the Liam McCarthy Cup on a trip to Munster.

Instead it was a 1-08 tally from Henry Shefflin that proved decisive, ensuring that the prized silver remains the property of the people of Kilkenny.

Kilkenny had early chances

Early stages were tightTipp goalkeeper Brendan Cummins had to be alert to keep out a Shefflin effort in the early stages, and the Munster men also benefited from timely defensive interventions from Paddy Stapleton, Paddy Maher and Brendan Maher.

Liam Sheedy’s men eased ahead with a couple of Eoin Kelly frees and a superb Lar Corbett effort.

But Tommy Walsh was the launch-pad for a frantic Kilkenny flourish which saw them bang over five points in the space of four minutes, with Eddie Brennan grabbing a couple of gems, and Eoin Larkin and the immaculate Walsh, from distance, also on target.

Tipp, with midfield pair James Woodlock and Shane McGrath giving it everything, countered for Kelly to hit the target again, and Lar Corbett floated over a couple of memorable scores to send their supporters wild.

A scintillating contest had by this stage reached simmering point, with both sides hitting wonderful scores and thrilling a worldwide audience by the sheer intensity of their efforts.

Sides were level time and again

Eoin KellyThey were level seven times in the first half, and Kelly’s eighth point eased Tipp back in front seven minutes before the break.

But the champions increased the tempo, hitting five of the last six scores of the half, Shefflin bringing his tally to five and Eddie Brennan rifling over another beauty to take a 0-13 to 0-11 lead into the interval.

That lead was preserved in spectacular fashion by goalkeeper PJ Ryan two minutes into the second half, who pulled off a stunning save from Seamus Callinan after Pat Kerwick had made ground on the right to craft the opening.

But Callinan quickly made amends by capitalising on uncharacteristically sloppy Kilkenny defending to hit the two points that brought the sides level, before Shane McGrath regained the lead for Tipp.

The Munster men were now dominant, and Ryan had to stretch again to save from Kelly after Corbett had distinctively set up a golden goal chance.

Shefflin and Comerford: late scores

Benny Dunne is sent offShefflin and Richie Hogan kept a hard-pressed Kilkenny in touch with points on the breakaway, and despite losing substitute Benny Dunne to a straight red card for a wild swipe at Walsh on 53 minutes, Tipp continued to play with a unrelenting fervour.

Kelly, Noel McGrath and Callinan arrowed over another volley of scores to maintain a two points cushion, but it all went wrong for a courageous Tipp side when Kilkenny banged in two goals in the space of a minute.

First Shefflin drilled a penalty to the net after Power was fouled, and then substitute Martin Comerford broke clear to drill home a second as Croke Park erupted.

And Eoin Larkin finished the job off with a couple of late points to set the scene for a Croke Park pitch invasion which forced a departure from the planned on-pitch trophy presentation.

Kilkenny: PJ Ryan, M Kavanagh, JJ Delaney, J Tyrrell (0-01), T Walsh (0-01), B Hogan, J Tennyson, D Lyng (0-01), M Rice, R Hogan (0-02), H Shefflin (1-08, 1-00 pen, 0-07f), E Larkin (0-03), E Brennan (0-03), R Power (0-01), A Fogarty.

Subs: TJ Reid (0-1) for Fogarty (49), M Fennelly (0-01) for Lyng (51),M Comerford (1-00) for Hogan (55)

Tipperary: B Cummins, P Stapleton, P Maher, P Curran, D Fanning, C O'Mahony, B Maher, J Woodlock, S McGrath (0-01), P Kerwick, S Callinan (0-03), J O'Brien, N McGrath (0-02), E Kelly (0-13, 7f, 3 ’65), L Corbett (0-04).

Subs: B Dunne for O’Brien (46), W Ryan for Kerwick (65), M Webster for Woodlock (68)

Referee: D Kirwan (Cork).