BY NIALL SHERRY
Laois up next for Lyng’s men
Allianz League Division 1B (Round Two)
UPMC Nowlan Park
Tipperary made it two wins from two as they punished their hosts sloppy first half performance to record a rare UPMC Nowlan Park league victory in round two of the Allianz hurling league last weekend.
Let’s be blunt – Kilkenny were not good in the opening 35 minutes. Derek Lyng’s men came out second best in almost every facet of the game as the visitors built up an incredible 12-point lead at the interval. This ‘horrible’ half of hurling cost the Cats dearly, as they went on to out-score their neighbours after the short whistle, but in truth they had always left themselves too much to do.
Liam Cahill’s men were hungrier from the first whistle and were never behind in a contest that had much more of a championship feel to it. Man of the Match Jason Forde opened the scoring inside the first 20 seconds and a further 1-14 would follow from the Silvermines clubman as the Tipp forwards lead the Kilkenny defence a merry dance in the opening period.
Kilkenny almost replied with a major, when good play from Billy Drennan gave Walter Walsh a sniff of goal, but the big Tullogher man was denied and had to make do with raising a white flag. The deadly Forde popped over a free before a long stoppage in play saw Tipperary No.8 Paddy Cadell leave the field injured and be replaced by John Campion. The visitors then suffered another injury blow when corner-back Cathal Barrett exited the fray, following a heavy collision with a teammate and this resulted in Eoghan Connolly entering proceedings.
Galmoy’s Billy Drennan then slotted a free from out on the left side, before Jason Forde hit a brace and the lively Jake Morris also pointed to leave the Premier County up by three with 17 minutes on the clock. Drennan then struck over another placed ball after Tullaroan’s Mossy Keoghan was crudely halted in his tracks.
A poor clearance out of the Kilkenny defence gave Noel McGrath the opportunity to rifle over a point under no pressure. Lisdowney’s Aidan Tallis then turned a goal-bound Jason Forde shot over the bar, but was unable to prevent the Silvermines player raising the first green flag of the day minutes later. Seamus Callanan took control of the sliotar before sending an accurate pass to Forde who made no mistake in blasting to the Cats net.
Derek Lyng replaced Cian Kenny with Thomastown’s John Donnelly as he sought to arrest Tipp’s physical dominance around the middle third, and this move paid dividends across the rest of the contest as Donnelly showed desire and fight as he struck 0-4. The Sash’s Shane Walsh fired over a point on 28 minutes, but the attacker was getting little change out of the Tipp defence. Kilkenny keeper Tallis then denied Jake Morris a certain goal with a fine stop, Jason Forde converted the resulting ‘65 to give the visitors a 7-point lead with 30 minutes played.
Billy Ryan then went on a strong run out on the left side and showed great skill and composure to split the posts as the home crowd searched for something to cheer. Two more Tipp scores followed in quick succession, Roscrea’s Alan Tynan’s effort was built on by sub John Campion who rifled over from distance. Seven minutes of additional time echoed around UPMC Nowlan Park and more damage was to be inflicted on Derek Lyng’s charges before the relative safety of the changing rooms.
Jason Forde hit another brace while John Donnelly did likewise for the Cats, but the big score in additional time would come from Tipp as they put the game seemingly beyond Kilkenny’s reach. Padraig Walsh played a pass in the direction of captain for the day Darragh Corcoran, but the Shamrocks man wasn’t as sharp to the sliotar as he should have been, which allowed Alan Tynan to nip in and secure possession, before passing to Conor Bowe whose shot was brilliantly saved by Tallis, but the parried ball was collected by Jake Morris who calmly finished to the net.
From the restart, Morris collected the ball and split the posts for the final score of a shambolic first half for Kilkenny. Carlow whistler Patrick Murphy blew for the interval with the Kilkenny faithful in shock as their side trudged off trailing 2-13 to 0-7, twelve points in arrears.
A double change was made by Kilkenny boss Lyng as he searched for the balance that would allow his charges to complete. David Blanchfield and Conor Fogarty replacing Conor Heary and Killian Doyle respectively.
The Cats opened the scoring in the second half thanks to a third point of the game from John Donnelly, after a nice pass from Paddy Deegan. Ronan Maher then picked out Conor Bowe from a sideline cut and the latter pointed for his sides 14th point of the day. The home side then almost created a goal chance with Walter Walsh barging his way through the Tipp defence, but the sliotar was cleared and danger averted.
Kilkenny then hit two on the spin courtesy of Mossy Keoghan and a long range free from Billy Drennan. Glenmore’s Alan Murphy was then introduced in place of All-Star defender Mikey Butler, which meant a little bit of a re-jig in the Cats defensive line-up. Unfortunately for Murphy, his first involvement saw him strike a poor pass straight to the opposition who moved the ball to Jason Forde who rifled over.
Lyng’s men rallied and hit the next three scores via John Donnelly, Conor Fogarty and another placed ball from Billy Drennan. Just as it appeared that the Cats were gathering a head of steam, they would contribute to their own un-doing. Cillian Buckley who like many of his teammates wasn’t having his finest afternoon was blown up for over carrying and Forde punished this error. The same player repeated this just a minute later and his task was made a lot easier as ref Murphy brought the free forward, following some dissent.
Again, the home side responded, cracking points from play from young Billy Drennan and an even better one from Padraig Walsh dared the Kilkenny faithful to believe that the comeback was on. These hopes were soon checked when Forde went over another point. One of the Cats bright sparks, John Donnelly then forced Tipp keeper Barry Hogan into a smart save. Billy Drennan fired over the ‘65 before he struck another lovely point from play. But like before, Tipp cancelled that score out, again Forde showing his radar was on-point, firing over from some 70 metres.
The men in black and amber needed goals and they got a major of their own on 58 minutes. Billy Ryan took a superb catch before going on a strong run towards the Tipp goal. He had the presence of mind to send a pass towards Alan Murphy wo intelligently flicked the sliotar in the direction of Mossy who gathered before rifling past Barry Hogan in the Tipp goal. The deficit was now five points. The large home crowd got a little louder. Noel McGrath sent over his second point of the day. Billy Drennan then nailed a free from his own half, then one from slightly closer to the Tipp target. Derek Lyng’s side were dealt a blow when Alan Murphy. had to leave the field having failed to recover from the knock he took when assisting the Cats goal. Drennan then slotted another free, the gap now down to four. Carlow ref Murphy, then gave a veery soft free to the Premier and Jason Forde made no mistake. Forde hit the next two points of the game. His first effort a stunning sideline cut, the second an easy point after a poor restart from Kilkenny.
Three minutes of additional time were signaled, just enough time for two further scores for the home side, one from Mossy, one from Billy Drennan. Tipp sub Mark Kehoe took the last score of the day before the long whistle sounded. Final score from UPMC Nowlan Park, Kilkenny 1-21, Tipperary 2-24.
Kilkenny Scorers: B Drennan 0-10 (7fs, 1 65); M Keoghan 1-2; J Donnelly 0-4; C Fogarty, W Walsh, B Ryan, S Walsh, P Walsh all 0-1 each.
Tipperary Scorers: J Forde 1-15 (7fs, 2 65s, 1sl); J Morris 1-2; C Bowe, N McGrath 0-2 each; A Tynan, J Campion, M Kehoe all 0-1 each.
Kilkenny: A Tallis; M Butler, H Lawlor, C Heary; C Buckley, P Walsh, D Corcoran; P Deegan, c Kenny; W Walsh, B Ryan, K Doyle; B Drennan, M Keoghan, S Walsh. Subs: J Donnelly for Kenny (24), D Blanchfield for Heary (h-t), C Fogarty for Doyle (h-t), A Murphy for Butler (40), G Dunne for Murphy inj (61).
Tipperary: B Hogan; C Barrett, M Breen, J Ryan; E Heffernan, P Campion, R Maher; P Cadell, D McCormack; A Tynan, N McGrath, J Morris; J Forde, S Callanan, C Bowe. Subs: J Campion for Cadell inj (5), E Connolly for Barrett inj temp (11), M Kehoe for Callanan (53), B O’Mara for P Campion (54), S Kennedy for J Campion (61), S Ryan for Morris (67).
Referee: P Murphy (Carlow)
>> SHERRY SAYS…
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will Derek Lyng’s Kilkenny team.
The first half performance of the starting XV wasn’t great, the players looked flat, appeared to lack the necessary desire and hunger for the fight that Liam Cahill’s side unsurprisingly brought. Supporters will accept losing to a better side, providing their team leaves everything on the pitch. Last Sunday not many in black and amber could say that.
Some players looked out of their depth, and that’s a worry in such a condensed season. The manager will no doubt have a crucial two weeks to get everything in order before they travel to O’Moore Park on Sunday week.
Positives? Billy Drennan once again delivered, notching 0-10 while Mossy hit 1-2. First-half sub, John Donnelly had a massive impact and finished the game with 0-4. More importantly, he was heavily involved in the good bits about Kilkenny on a difficult day at the office. Subs David Blanchfield, Conor Fogarty and Alan Murphy all made a difference when introduced, and the loss of Murphy was a blow as Kilkenny looked to turn the tide. We actually won the 2nd half, 1-14 to 0-11, oh how that opening period cost us.
Former All-Star keeper Eoin Murphy was back in the panel, while TJ had a watching brief. Over the next couple of games, we should see these two along with the other Shamrocks players come back into the fold. There’s no doubt the likes of newly appointed captain Eoin Cody and the machine that is Adrian Mullen will add some experience and quality to the Kilkenny squad.
No one said it would be easy….and Derek Lyng and his backroom team will roll up their sleeves and give everything to ensure days like these are the exception and not the rule. Bring on Laois.