Tipperary 2-17 Kilkenny 3-14
Old rivals Kilkenny ended Tipperary’s 100 per cent record in Division 1A of the Allianz Hurling League – as TJ Reid bagged 3-05 at Semple Stadium.
Reid’s haul included a penalty goal in each half and four frees as the Cats provided proof positive that they haven’t gone away.
Fresh from registering their first win of the campaign against Cork last Sunday, Kilkenny upped their performance levels considerably again, as Tipp needed a 70th-minute point from sub Steven O’Brien to maintain their unbeaten start.
But Tipp could point to late missed chances too, as John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer flashed efforts wide from each wing.
In truth, a draw was a fair result as this helter-skelter fixture was a throwback to some of the classic games between the counties in recent years.
In front of 14,763 spectators, this was rip-roaring stuff and while Tipp led by four points at half-time, 2-11 to 2-07, there was never a suggestion that there would be a clear-cut winner.
The sides traded four goals in an entertaining first half, Tipp striking first in the third minute when John McGrath took advantage of chaos in the Kilkenny full-back line to pounce from close range.
But Kilkenny were level at 1-01 each when Reid fired home a bullet in the fifth minute as Tipp goalkeeper Darragh Mooney was left rooted to the spot.
Tipp reeled off the next four points of the game and by the 22nd minute they had their biggest lead of the game to date when Niall O’Meara found the back of the Kilkenny net.
O’Dwyer was the provider and O’Meara held his nerve to strike an angled finish across Eoin Murphy and into the far corner.
That goal sent Tipp into a 2-07 to 1-02 lead but in a hugely-physical encounter Reid was leading the Kilkenny charge.
He goaled again on the half-hour mark for a penalty, awarded by referee James Owens for a Michael Cahill foul on Alan Murphy.
Again, Mooney had no chance, as Reid struck the ball with venomous speed from the 20m line.
Even then, there was still time for six further points in the opening half, Tipp winning that spell by 0-04 to 0-02 to lead by four at the break.
But from the 22nd minute, when Tipp had that eight-point advantage, they were outscored by 0-04 to 1-05 approaching half-time.
In the second half, Tipp managed to keep daylight between themselves and the Cats, as the first competitive meeting of the counties since last year’s All-Ireland final reached a rich crescendo.
With 13 minutes of normal time remaining, Kilkenny had the chance to level when Liam Blanchfield was fouled, and Reid blasted past the stationary Mooney again.
Richie Hogan, moved into full-forward, was proving a handful for James Barry and a couple of classy points kept the scoreboard ticking over for the Noresiders.
But on four occasions down the home straight they were deadlocked, and Kilkenny goalkeeper Murphy had a big say in that.
Four minutes from time, John McGrath looked odds-on to goal when he skipped past Paul Murphy, but Eoin Murphy performed heroics to keep him out.
On the follow-up, Seamus Callanan screwed a ground-stroke wide and buoyed by that, Kilkenny edged ahead with a point from Cillian Buckley.
O’Brien levelled in the 70th minute, but the two additional minutes failed to provide a winner.
Tipperary: D Mooney; J O’Keeffe, J Barry, M Cahill; T Hamill, R Maher, P Maher (0-01); S Curran (0-02), M Breen; D McCormack (0-02), N O’Meara (1-01), N McGrath (0-01); J O’Dwyer (0-01), S Callanan (0-06, 3f, 165), J McGrath (1-02)
Subs: K Bergin for Breen (35), J Forde for McCormack (55), S Kennedy for Cahill (58), S O’Brien (0-01) for O’Meara (68)
Kilkenny: E Murphy; P Murphy, P Walsh, C O’Shea; C Fogarty, S Prendergast, J Cleere; P Deegan, C Buckley (0-03); C Fennelly, R Hogan (0-04), TJ Reid (3-05, 2-00 pens, 0-04f); A Murphy, W Walsh (0-02), L Blanchfield
Sub: J Maher for A Murphy (40)
Referee: James Owens (Wexford)