Kilkenny 0-20 Tipperary 3-25
Reporting by Marisa Kennedy in Croke Park
Tipperary are the All-Ireland champions for the third time this decade following a sensational 14-point win over Kilkenny in Croke Park this afternoon.
It was a case of ‘goals win games’ as efforts from Niall O’Meara, Seamus Callanan and John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer proved the difference though the major turning point in the match came just before the break when Richie Hogan received a straight red from referee, James Owens.
It caps off a remarkable return to the helm for Liam Sheedy as the experienced old guard and newer recruits combined for a memorable win.
Read our major talking points from the All-Ireland final below.
Seven of Kilkenny’s opening nine scores came from placed balls, courtesy of TJ Reid, and all from opportunistic locations. When Reid, John Donnelly and Colin Fennelly took them on and ran at them, they were unable to cope with their pace, especially up the middle and had to foul to prevent further damage. It’s an issue that hunted Tipperary throughout the championship, especially against Laois when Mark Kavanagh scored 11 points from frees.
Tipp’s Lack of Ball-Winning Forwards
Tipperary’s inability to win primary possession from long-range deliveries really hindered them throughout the opening half. The forwards were second to the ball with Joey Holden, Cillian Buckley and Padraig Walsh finding much success on the wings in particular. In the half-forward, Tipperary desperately missed the influence of Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher and his ability to win the dirty ball. Every breaking ball fell to a Kilkenny jersey with the likes of John McGrath having to travel far out the field to take the short pass and work the ball up.
Pace Of Colin Fennelly
Colin Fennelly proved a huge handful for Barry Heffernan to deal with in the opening period with his pace proving no match for the relatively inexperienced full-back. His danger was clear from the start when he excellently won possession over the head of the retreating John McGrath and only for a late hook from the Loughmore-Castleiney man, Kilkenny would have had their first goal after just three minutes. His ability to round his marker in the blink of an eye was something Kilkenny continually looked to utilise.
Kilkenny Fail To Make First Half Dominance Count
For all their possession and attack-minded play in the first 30 minutes, Kilkenny failed to translate their dominance into scores. Tipperary levelled the game in the 25th minute with Niall O’Meara’s goal and finished the half strongly with points from Seamus Kennedy and Noel McGrath. Kilkenny were heavily reliant on frees from Reid throughout the first half with eight of their 11 first-half points coming from the Ballyhale Shamrocks man.
— The GAA (@officialgaa) August 18, 2019
Richie Hogan Red
Kilkenny fans were incensed in the 33rd minute when Richie Hogan received a straight red from referee, James Owens, for a strong challenge on Cathal Barrett. The decision certainly divided opinion with the stadium letting out a collective gasp, however, Hogan had his elbow raised when challenging Barrett and caught him just below the neck. While to send anyone off on All-Ireland final day is an extremely harsh call, Owens, technically, made the right call.
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) August 18, 2019
TJ Reid v Seamus Callanan
The thinking prior to this All-Ireland final was that the Hurler of the Year would come from the team that lifted the Liam MacCarthy Cup but following today’s encounter, it is still impossible to call whether Reid or Seamus Callanan will receive the accolade. Though held to just one point from play, Reid finished his day with 0-10 and was phenomenal from open play. Meanwhile, Callanan was kept extremely quiet by Huw Lawlor in the opening period but roared into life in the second, registering 1-1 in less than two minutes. It was his eighth goal in eight games to top off a superb year for the Tipperary captain.
Tipperary Turn On The Style
As we saw in the All-Ireland semi-final between Tipp and Wexford, it’s not always a foregone conclusion that the team with the numerical advantage will drive on and use it to their benefit but in this case, that is exactly what Tipperary did. They registered 2-6 in a blistering 11-minute period with wonderful goals from Callanan and John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer. Jason Forde and Dan McCormack floated to the wings, John McGrath played deep while ‘Bubbles’ and Callanan roamed around the edge of the square. Noel McGrath picked off a superb point from the wing with absolute ease which summed up the finesse of the Premier forwards.
The Liam Sheedy Effect
Liam Sheedy wrote himself into the Tipperary history books nine years ago when he guided a young side to All-Ireland glory, stopping Kilkenny’s ‘drive for five’. However, this victory is even more remarkable. Twelve months ago Tipperary were nowhere near an All-Ireland final, let alone to lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup. Following their dismal championship exit in June, they were demoralised, without a manager and bearing the brunt of huge criticism. Enter Sheedy. His skills at motivation are widely known but to turn the same group around in such a short period of time, was remarkable. He built an experienced and skilled backroom team around him without ego and together with the players, they restored pride to the Premier County.