Kilkenny earned a comfortable 2-17 to 0-15 victory over a much-changed Tipperary on Sunday. The Premier County started only seven members of their All-Ireland final starting line-up and Kilkenny led throughout.
Richie Power was the star man for the Cats, scoring regularly from frees and converting a penalty he created in the first half.
Kilkenny enjoyed the better of the first half and took a 1-10 to 0-8 lead into the break. Richie Power scored 1-5 for the Cats and Pa Bourke scored five points for Tipperary during the first period.
The early stages belonged to Kilkenny as they quickly opened up a 1-5 to 0-1 lead over the Premier County.
Power opened the scoring from a free in the 2nd minute before Noel McGrath equalised with a fine point from distance.
TJ Reid had a slight goal opening in the fourth minute, but Gleeson saved well. Power then scored from the resulting 45. Kilkenny quickly added 1-3 as they opened a decisive early lead.
The pick of the points came from Michael Rice, who scored a good point from the right sideline, and TJ Reid, who bounced the sliotar on his hurley before firing a shot off the upright and over.
Kilkenny were awarded a slightly harsh penalty in the 11th minute after Power was fouled at the edge of the area. Power took the penalty himself and fired Kilkenny into a seven point lead.
Moments later Noel McGrath had a goal chance but his kicked effort went wide. Conor O’Mahony reduced the arrears with an impressive long-distance free from his own half, while Pa Bourke scored from a free in the 16th minute.
O’Mahony missed with another long-range free in the 17th minute before Noel McGrath hit a wide a minute later. McGrath scored a quality point in the 19th minute to reduce the deficit to four points, however, and Pa Bourke scored from a free on the right touchline in the 21st minute.
The counties then exchanged points and wides. Fennelly was fouled clearly in the 23rd minute and Richie Power easily scored from directly in front of the goal. Pa Bourke made it a three score game with a 45 in the 27th minute.
John O’Brien shot wide left under pressure from three Kilkenny defenders, while TJ Reid shot wide from distance minutes later.
Kilkenny then scored a fantastic point in the 28th minute. TJ Reid played a long pass along the ground, which was flicked up by Ruth. Michael Rice caught it and fired over Kilkenny’s seventh point of the game.
The Cats were gifted their eighth point of the game after a mistake from Michael Cahill gave them a free in front of the posts. Richie Power scored easily from the opportunity. Pa Bourke managed to respond with a point from a free minutes later, but Kilkenny were in the ascendency.
Some great movement from Kilkenny led to their next point. Power passed to TJ Reid, who passed forward to Larkin. The forward turned his marker and fired over another point.
Richie Power scored from another free two minutes from the end of the first half to make it a six point game. Pa Bourke responded for Tipperary with a free of his own.
Tipperary’s David Young tried an audacious shot from the halfway line as the first half drew to a close, but his effort hit the crossbar and Kilkenny cleared their lines.
Kilkenny continued their impressive play in the second half, but it was Tipperary who made the better start to the second period.
Padraic Maher’s long-range shot was saved by Herity, who dropped the sliotar, leading to nervous moments in the Kilkenny area. Noel McGrath then scored the first point of the second period from distance. Bourke added another point to cut the deficit to three points.
Larkin scored a great solo goal in the 41st minute to give Kilkenny momentum and control of the match. The forward turned his marker and held off Paul Curran, Michael Cahill and Donagh Maher as he ran in on goal. His effort was disrupted but he managed to poke the sliotar home and give Kilkenny a six point advantage.
Richie Power quickly pushed home the advantage with a free from midfield and another from close-range. Power finally missed from a free in the 47th minute, while Brendan Maher scored a badly needed point for Tipperary in the 49th minute/
Tipperary stopped a possible goal in the 51st minute. Fennelly lined up for a powerful shot about 15 yards from goal, but an outstretched hurley from Shane Maher denied the Kilkenny forward. A free was conceded moments later, however, and Power scored another point.
Tipperary almost got back in the match in the 56th minute after a well worked opportunity. Brian O’Meara was knocked to the ground, but quickly passed to John O’Brien, who flicked the ball forward before shooting just wide.
Richie Power again scored from a free in the 59th minute, while Eoin Larkin added a point immediately afterwards to make it a ten point game with ten minutes to play.
Tipperary has a mini-revival in the closing period but could not overcome the deficit. Eoin Kelly scored a good point from the left wing eight minutes from time, while Shane Bourke quickly added two more from the left-hand side of the field.
Power scored from two frees in the closing minutes, with Shane Bourke replying for Tipperary. Kilkenny closed out the match for a comfortable eight point victory over the Premier County.