Kilkenny started the 2012 Allianz Hurling League with an eight-point victory over rivals Tipperary at Nowlan Park. Kilkenny started with twelve of last year’s All Ireland winning team while Tipperary began with nine finalists from last September. Kilkenny began impressively. Colin Fennelly won a free which Richie Power pointed beforeNoel McGrath levelled. Brendan Cummins, a late replacement for Darren Gleeson in the Tipperary goal saved well from a T.J. Reid shot from close range, with Richie Power converting the resulting ’65’.
T.J. Reid then fed Matthew Ruth for Kilkenny’s third point before Michael Rice added a fourth.T.J.Reid was again involved in Kilkenny’s next score catching a David Herity puck-out and pointing. Kilkenny’s first goal arrived after twelve minutes Kilkenny moved when Richie Power collected the ball near the left sideline and was fouled by Conor O’Mahony for a penalty which he drove to the net himself.
With the score reading 1-5 to o-1 in Kilkenny’s favour Tipperary rallied and enjoyed their best spell of the game with frees from Conor O’Mahony and Pa Bourke and a score from play from Noel McGrath before another pointed Bourke free reduced the deficit. Richie Power ended a long scoreless spell for Kilkenny with a close range free before Pa Bourke and Michael Rice exchanged points with Rice’s coming from a clever flicked pass from Mathew. Ruth. With half time approaching Richie Power and Pa Bourke exchanged frees before Kilkenny demonstrated an excellent passing movement through Brian Hogan, Richie Power and T.J. Reid to set up Eoin Larkin for a sweetly struck point. The half time score read Kilkenny 1-10 to Tipperary’s 0-8.
Early second half points from Noel Mc Grath amd Pa Bourke reduced the deficit to three points but then on forty one minutes Kilkenny struck for their second goal as T.J. Reid fielded a puck out and fed Eoin Larkin. Larkin drove towards goal and despite losing possession the team captain did well to scoop the ball to the Tipperary net. Richie Power added two more frees pushing his side 2-12 to 0-10 clear with twenty five minutes remaining. Kilkenny added two more pointed frees from Richie Power and an EoinLarkin point while Brendan Maher raised a white flag for Tipperary.
Kilkenny’s defence was caught off guard in the 56th minute when John O’Brien should have goaled having been set up by Brian O’Meara but his shot went wide of the far post.
Tipperary substitutes Eoin Kelly and Shane Bourke added a late collection of points, with Bourke registering three from play as the deficit was cut to 2-15 to 0-13 but appropriately it was Richie Power who closed out the scoring with two more frees to bring his personal tally for the day to 1-11.
Scorers – Kilkenny: R. Power 1-11 (1-0 penalty, 0-1free, 0-1 ’65’), E. Larkin 1-2, M. Rice 0-2, M. Ruth, T.J. Reid 0-1 each
Tipperary: P. Bourke 0-6 (0-5frees, 0-1 ’65’), N. McGrath, S. Bourke 0-3 each, C O’Mahony (0-1free), B. Maher, E. Kelly 0-1 each
KILKENNY: David Herity; Jackie Tyrrell, J.J. Delaney, Noel Hickey; Tommy Walsh, Brian Hogan, Paul Murphy; Paddy Hogan, Michael Fennelly; T.J. Reid, Michael Rice, Eoin Larkin (captain); Colin Fennelly, Richie Power, Matthew Ruth.
Subs used: Conor Fogarty for J.J.Delaney (57 m.), John Mulhall for Colin Fennelly (63m), Richie Doyle for Paddy Hogan (66m).
TIPPERARY: Brendan Cummins; Donagh Maher, Paul Curran (capt), Michael Cahill; Shane Maher, Conor O’Mahony, Padraic Maher; Brendan Maher, David Young; Gearoid Ryan, Noel McGrath, Adrian Ryan; Pa Bourke, Brian O’Meara, John O’Brien.
Subs- Shane Bourke for Adrian Ryan (half-time), Eoin Kelly for Gearóid Ryan (49m), James Woodlock for John O’Brien (57m), John O’Keeffe for Paul Curran (60m), Shane McGrath for Pa Bourke (64m).
Referee: Michael Wadding (Waterford)