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Analysis: How Kilkenny champs repeated with historic win

Kilkenny made it four-in-a-row when they beat Tipperary to win the All Ireland Hurling Title at Croke Park on Sunday.

In front of 82,000 fans at GAA Headquarters, the two teams served up a pulsating game full of skill and intensity.

Tipperary were in no way overawed by their opposition, and unlike other teams this year got off to a great start, racing into a 0-4 to 0-2 lead after 15 minutes.

However, the Cats proved why they are so good by slipping into another gear and rattling off four points in four minutes to go 0-6 to 0-4 ahead.

The game ebbed and flowed for the rest of the half, and when the halftime whistle blew, Kilkenny were two points to the good, 0-13 to 0-11.

The second half was more point for point action as the teams matched each other for every score, but Tipperary looked like they had the drive to deny Kilkenny their place in history.

However, that objective got all the more difficult when Benny Dunne was sent off on 54th minute for a dangerous challenge on Tommy Walsh and Tipp were down to 14 men, but still managed to stretch their lead to three points (0-20 to 0-17) after 59 minutes.

The game’s second turning point came when Kilkenny won a penalty in the 63rd minute and Henry Shefflin blasted it to the back of the net to give the Cats a one-point lead.

On the next attack, Kilkenny launched a long ball and substitute Martin Comerford scored Kilkenny’s second goal to put the champions in the driving seat.

Kilkenny dominated the rest of the game and ran out winners by a score of 2-22 to 0-23.

Tipperary played a brilliant game but losing the man at a crucial period in the second half and losing the first goal proved too much for the challengers.

For Kilkenny, if they could not before today’s win, can rightfully claim to be one of the greatest teams in the 125-year history of the GAA.