On Saturday night Tipperary face off against Kilkenny in the 32nd meeting of the sides in the last 20 years. It’s the oldest and most hotly contested rivalry in the sport, and while the 2 counties will never profess any fondness for each other, what neither can deny is that they have been involved in a number of classics in the last 20 years. Here we take a look at 10 of the best during that time. A word of warning to Tipp fans though: you may want to cover your eyes for a couple.


10: Tipperary 2-29 Kilkenny 2-20

2016 All-Ireland final


It ended as a one sided victory, though for a long time, Kilkenny, as is their wont, seemed primed to steal another. That sense of Déjà vu however was overcome by a virtuoso like performance from Seamus Callanan who shot a staggering 9 points from play, while Bubbles O’Dwyer and John McGrath chipped in with a handsome 1-3 each. Given it’s the last fixture played between the 2 sides, this game will no doubt have a bearing on both sides determination levels for Saturday.


  1. Kilkenny 2-17 Tipperary 0-20

2013 National League final


A fine contest that, nevertheless, seems to pale somewhat in comparison with the other 8 that are ahead of it. Michael Fennelly was the man in this one, scoring 2 goals as Kilkenny won their first ever League title in front of their home fans in Nowlan Park for 80 years. The fact that they did it without Brian Cody on the sidelines, only added to the achievement, although his absence may have had ramifications for their earliest exit from the championship in 17 years later that summer.


  1. Kilkenny 5-14 Tipperary 5-13

2003 National League final


Seems a game from a bygone era now, and yet, by any metric, it qualifies as a near classic. As is so often the case in this rivalry, it was a game Kilkenny should have lost but somehow contrived to win. 8 points down with 10 minutes to go, those old Gowran National School chums DJ Carey and Charlie Carter goaled to level the game for the Cats before Henry Shefflin won the day by kicking, yes, kicking a point. You say they don’t play football in Kilkenny? Course they do. Just not with a big ball.


Of more pertinent concern to Tipperary was the loss of their brilliant young back Philip Maher to an injury he never truly seemed to recover from. With that and the 2002 semi-final victory, Kilkenny were setting a precedent for defeating Tipp in close games. Just to mix things up though, they ended up hammering them in an All-Ireland semi-final that August.


  1. Kilkenny 2-25 Tipperary 1-27

2014 National League final AET


The second of three wondrous games played between the sides in the space of a year. They also managed a fourth (All-Ireland replay) which will forever remembered for THAT hook by JJ Delaney. Back in May however, such thoughts were far away from their mind. Tipp looked in the ascendancy for the most part but Kilkenny were kept in the hunt through TJ Reid’s 2 hammer like penalties. A late Kieran Bergin point brought the game into extra time, where the sides looked to be heading for a replay, before the effervescent Reid popped up once more to finally seal the deal for his side.


  1. Kilkenny 2-26 Tipperary 4-17

2009 National League final

Some players announce themselves during a Kilkenny Tipperary game. For Danesfort’s Richie Hogan indeed, this was a watermark day. Three years a minor, DJ Carey’s cousin, he always seemed destined for greatness, but this was the first time he truly pronounced himself a senior star. With the sides level going into injury time Hogan faced up to an onerous free near the side-line with Tipperary’s manager Liam Sheedy giving him some “encouragement” within earshot. Hogan nailed the free, and although Tipp bounced back, he was one of Kilkenny’s best players as they powered to victory in extra time.

  1. Kilkenny 1-20 Tipperary 1-16

2002 All-Ireland semi-final


Tipperary went through the whole of the 2001 league and championship season unbeaten and entered this game as defending All-Ireland champions. Kilkenny were after winning the 2000 All-Ireland and came into this tie as defending league and Leinster champions. No matter which way you looked at it, this was a heavyweight clash.


Despite their successes though, Kilkenny were distinctly underwhelming in their Leinster final victory against Wexford a few weeks prior. They had an ace up their sleeve for this game though, by the name of Denis Joseph Carey.


The Dodger only played three championship games against Tipperary in his career, and for 2 of them, he was kept relatively quiet. In this one however, his influence was the difference. His defence splitting hand pass that provided the match winning goal to Jimmy Coogan was proof, if it were needed, of his greatness. Tipperary battled manfully, but it was that extra stroke of genius on the eastern side of the border that eventually won the day.


  1. Tipperary 4-17 Kilkenny 1-18

2010 All-Ireland final


Redemption for Tipp, after the bitterest of defeats 12 months prior. Lar Corbett really dirtied his bib by his ridiculous stalking of Tommy Walsh in the 2012 semi-final, but this will forever be remembered as his day. He only touched the ball 7 times during the game, but from those touches he produced 3 goals. Kilkenny will point to the fact that their team was beset by injuries, and that, despite Tipp’s goals, the game was truly in the balance until the last few minutes. They couldn’t deny though, that of the 2 finals, the Premier deserved to win at least one. Maybe they left it 12 months too late, but they got there eventually.


  1. Kilkenny 2-22 Tipperary 0-23

2009 All-Ireland final


Perhaps the most contentious of all the games between the sides over the last 20 years. Tipp will argue, with good reason, that the foul on Richie Power that preceded Henry Shefflin’s game-changing penalty took place outside the large rectangle. They may also even argue that Power fouled Paul Curran in the build up to Martin Comerford’s killer second goal. What they can’t argue though, is that they should have been out of sight by then. Seamus Callanan and Eoin Kelly missed gilt edged goal-scoring opportunities as PJ Ryan had his finest hour between the sticks. Kilkenny seemingly sauntered to a three in a row. The fourth, despite the 5 point margin, was won by the proverbial skin of their teeth.


  1. Kilkenny 5-20 Tipperary 5-14

2014 National League


Liam Fennelly once remarked a few years ago that hurling wasn’t made for February. Well, he never told the two sides who stepped out on the field on February 23rd 2014 and produced a game for the ages. Liam’s nephew Colin Fennelly had perhaps his best ever day in a Black and Amber by shooting an implausible 3-5 from play. Seamus Callanan meanwhile, scored three goals for the other side, yet still finished on the losing side, a trick he would repeat against Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final a year later. From 10 points down Kilkenny turned a potential humiliation into a stirring comeback victory. Where have we heard that before?


  1. Kilkenny 3-22 Tipperary 1-28

2014 All-Ireland final (first game)


Probably the highest quality game of hurling witnessed in the modern era. On the balance of play Tipperary deserved to win, but the indomitable spirit of Kilkenny and attacking genius of Richie Hogan, TJ Reid and Richie Power somehow combined to let them emerge, miraculously, with a draw. Well, that and hawkeye of course. Tipp fans will curse forever more the fact that Bubbles O Dwyer’s last minute free went astray. The neutrals, if there were any, would merely have treasured a classic.



Attachments area

Preview YouTube video Kilkenny vs Tipperary: All-Ireland Hurling Final 2016 Highlights

Kilkenny vs Tipperary: All-Ireland Hurling Final 2016 Highlights

Preview YouTube video Kilkenny win National Hurling League

Kilkenny win National Hurling League

Preview YouTube video Kilkenny v Tipperary – 2014 Hurling League Final

Kilkenny v Tipperary – 2014 Hurling League Final

Preview YouTube video Allianz National hurling league final 2009 (Kilkenny v Tipperary)

Allianz National hurling league final 2009 (Kilkenny v Tipperary)

Preview YouTube video Kilkenny v Tipperary – 2002 All-Ireland SHC Semi-Final

Kilkenny v Tipperary – 2002 All-Ireland SHC Semi-Final

Preview YouTube video Tipperary vs Kilkenny All-Ireland Hurling Final 2010

Tipperary vs Kilkenny All-Ireland Hurling Final 2010

Preview YouTube video Tipperary v Kilkenny 2009 All Ireland SHC Final

Tipperary v Kilkenny 2009 All Ireland SHC Final

Preview YouTube video Kilkenny v Tipperary Highlights – 2014 Hurling League

Kilkenny v Tipperary Highlights – 2014 Hurling League

Preview YouTube video Kilkenny vs Tipperary All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final 2014 1st Game

Kilkenny vs Tipperary All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final 2014 1st Game

Mark Townsend

Sportstalk Writer


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