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GAA | Cody's young Cats lay down a marker

Watch the full-time highlights from the Allianz Hurling League Final between Kilkenny and Tipperary! — The GAA (@officialgaa) April 8, 2018 Deegan produced an excellent performance at corner back, and Donnelly, Keoghan, and Leahy registered a point apiece. Six of yesterday's starting team have yet to taste Championship hurling, and Cody was also without the likes of Colin Fennelly, Richie Hogan and Paul Murphy against Michael Ryan's Tipperary. "I had confidence in the players that we had, the younger players coming through," Cody said afterwards. "Obviously, it is a time for ourselves, we are blooding a lot of newer players, younger players. They are decent players but we have a long way to go, obviously." Tipp - who were also without several key senior players - entered the league decider as favourites, despite losing on their last eight visits to Nowlan Park. It took the game a while to get going, but it was the Premier County who shaded the early encounters, leading 03 to 0-1 after 10 minutes. Kilkenny only won 50% of their own puck-outs in the first half, and didn't register a score from play until the 20th minute. Jason Forde was in ominous form for Tipp, bagging 1-6 in the first half, but eight points from the immense TJ Reid meant that the Cats trailed by just two points (1-10 to 0-11) when the half-time whistle sounded. Forde scored a stunning 2-12 (1-1 from play) for the visitors on the day, but it wasn't enough to see Michael Ryan's men secure their first win in Kilkenny since 2008. Kilkenny roared into life in the second half. Walter Walsh, who enjoyed a largely forgettable first half, found the back of the net shortly after the restart.
A fine score from Kilkenny's Walter Walsh! — The GAA (@officialgaa) April 8, 2018 Eoin Murphy then produced a stunning save to deny half-time substitute John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer a certain goal a few minutes later, but the Cats were also wreaking havoc at the other end. Tipperary struggled hugely after the break, and registered just one score from play in the second half, courtesy of John McGrath. TJ Reid amassed 15 points for Kilkenny on the day, with three of those coming from play, often at crucial times in the game. The gifted forward has finished the league with a tally of 1-81 in just six games. Cody's substitutes also impressed. Liam Blanchfield, who is still only 21, scored a point after coming on, and delighted the home supporters with a bone-crunching shoulder on Ronan Maher. Conor Fogarty was also introduced to the fray, and the experienced campaigner also grabbed a goal to put the Cats nine ahead with just five minutes on the clock. He drove forward and found the back of the net with an excellent low strike. Forde pulled back a goal from a free to reduce the deficit, but Tipperary never looked like producing a memorable comeback. Tipp have now lost successive league finals, and Michael Ryan will be particularly disappointed with his outfit's second half showing at Nowlan Park. It was a great day for Kilkenny GAA, as the camogie side claimed their third Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League Division 1 title in a row beforehand. Kilkenny: E Murphy (0-1, 1f); J Holden, P Walsh, P Deegan; C Delaney, C Buckley, E Morrissey; R Leahy (0-1), J Maher; M Keoghan (0-1), TJ Reid (0-15, 11f, 1 sideline), J Donnelly (0-2); A Murphy, W Walsh (1-2), B Sheehan Subs: L Blanchfield (0-1) for Murphy 41m; L Scanlon for Sheehan 44m; C Fogarty (1-0) for Leahy 48m; C Martin for Donnelly 63m Tipperary: D Mooney, A Flynn, J Barry, M Cahill. B Heffernan, R Maher, P Maher; B Maher, S Kennedy (0-1); S Curran (0-1), B McCarthy, J McGrath (0-2), M Breen, J Forde (2-12, 1- 9f, 1 65, 1 sideline), W Connors (0-1) Subs: John O'Dwyer for Breen ht; C Barrett for Kennedy 45m; M Russell for Curran 60m; D Maher for J Barry 60m, C Darcy for McCarthy 66m
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