Kilkenny 2-17 1-16 Tipperary

Richie Power and Conor O'Mahony
Richie Power attempts to burst away from Conor O'Mahony at Croke Park

Kilkenny clinched their 33rd All-Ireland Senior Hurling title as they deservedly avenged last year's final defeat by Tipperary at Croke Park.

The fired-up Cats hit the opening five points and while Tipp fought back to trail by only two, Michael Fennelly's goal put Kilkenny five up at the break.

Richie Hogan's magnificent 49th-minute goal extended Kilkenny's lead to eight.

Pa Bourke's goal helped Tipp close to within three by the 64th minute but the Cats held on.

In front of 81,314 spectators at GAA headquarters, Kilkenny showed their intentions right from the off as they dominated the early stages.

Shefflin opened the scoring with a second-minute free and Tipp's Michael Cahill had to make a brilliant interception as Eddie Brennan appeared set to rattle the net a minute later.

Further points from play from Eoin Larkin, the impressive Richie Hogan, Richie Power and Shefflin had the Cats five points ahead by the 15th minute with Tipp yet to open their account.

At that stage, Kilkenny were winning nearly all of the individual battles as they appeared determined to atone for last year's final defeat by the Premier County.

Surprise Tipp selection John O'Keeffe was being given a torrid time in open play by Shefflin although the great man's shooting was not at its best as he was off target from three chances.

Noel McGrath finally got Tipp scoring in the 60th minute and there was only two in it when Kelly knocked over successive frees for the holders.

Play was held up for five minutes after referee Brian Gavin was caught by a swinging Tommy Walsh hurley after a skirmish near the Kilkenny goals.

There was still only two in it by the 31st minute but then came a crucial blow as Shefflin's quick line-ball picked out Hogan, who delivered a perfect ball to a charging Michael Fennelly who blasted to the net.

Tipp hit two of the remaining three scores before half-time but Kilkenny still had a healthy 1-8 to 0-6 lead at the interval.

By that stage, Brendan Maher had replaced O'Keeffe in the Tipp defence while manager Declan Ryan also introduced Benny Dunne and Pa Bourke at half-time.

Kilkenny remained five ahead by the 48th minute as both teams notched four points in the 13 minutes after half-time.

A minute later, the Cats looked firmly in control as Hogan took one touch on his hurley and hammered an unstoppable shot past Cummins after Brennan's run and pass.

But Tipp were back within striking distance at only four points down with 15 minutes left after sub Bourke lashed a low shot past David Herity after Lar Corbett's neat lay-off.

It was one of last year's hat-trick hero Corbett's few contributions during the afternoon with him held scoreless by Jackie Tyrrell.

Tipp needed to get the next score to leave only a puck of the ball between them but instead a Colin Fennelly point increased Kilkenny's lead after a five-minute scoring lull.

The holders kept battling and there was only three between the teams with six minutes left after scores from Noel McGrath and Eoin Kelly.

Shefflin quickly tagged on another Kilkenny score after a brilliant piece of fielding by the impressive Paul Murphy and while Kelly's eighth free cut the lead to three again, TJ Reid immediately responded with a further Cats point.

Tipp's last real throw of the dice was Bourke's run at goal in the final minute of normal time before he was brilliantly hooked by Reid.

Eoin Kelly's first point from play left three between the sides again but Eoin Larkin had the final scoring say for the Cats.

Tipperary: B Cummins, P Stapleton, P Curran, M Cahill, J O'Keeffe, C O'Mahony (0-1), Padraic Maher, G Ryan (0-2), S McGrath, S Callanan, N McGrath (0-3), Patrick Maher, E Kelly (0-8), J O'Brien (0-1), L Corbett. Subs: B Maher for O'Keeffe, B Dunne (0-1) for S McGrath, P Bourke (1-0) for Callanan, D Young for O'Mahony, J O'Neill for O'Brien.

Kilkenny: D Herity, P Murphy, N Hickey, J Tyrrell, T Walsh, B Hogan, JJ Delaney, M Fennelly (1-0), M Rice (0-1), E Brennan (0-1), R Power (0-2), H Shefflin (0-7), C Fennelly (0-2), E Larkin (0-2), R Hogan (1-1). Subs: TJ Reid (0-1) for Brennan, J Mulhall for R Hogan.

Referee: B Gavin (Offaly)

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