Tipperary captain Karen Kennedy takes a shot on.

Tipp’s class and resilience to the fore ahead of defining period

By Joe Scully

Tipperary manager Denis Kelly was delighted with his sides three-point victory over Kilkenny on Saturday afternoon as they secured their place in the All-Ireland semi-finals.

Speaking after the game, the Toomevara native was happy with the way his side overcame a strong second-half comeback from the cats who reduced a ten point half time deficit to just two at one stage.

“They came back strong and look we were excepting that,” Kelly began.

“The wind, as we stand here in the middle of the field is very strong, so they were bound to come back.

“I guess we struggled to win a bit of ball around the middle of the field and half-forward line, and we were definitely grasping for air for a while, but when we started holding the ball up in our own half-forward line again, we got back in the game and just about held out.

“Kilkenny are a fine side and no doubt we haven’t seen the last of them just yet.”

Kelly was also delighted with the impact off the bench, yet again, and how the leaders in the team really stood up in the final ten minutes.

“You can’t beat a bit of experience coming on and we needed everyone,” Kelly added.

“It was all hands on the pump for a while, but Cait (Devane) got her hand on a couple of balls and then Mary (Bourke) won a couple of frees and got a point to finish up, and that’s one of the things this year our panel is very strong, we have four or five subs who would be starting in any other team in the country.”

Player of the Match

Also speaking in the aftermath of the game was player of the match Roisin Howard was delighted with the win and the fact her side are through to an All-Ireland semi-finals.

“Kilkenny came back at us with the aid of a strong breeze, but we managed to hold out and got a few vital scores near the end,” she said.

“We won a vital free near the end and there were a few players involved, it was cl ever passing to get it to the right player to win the free.

“The impact of the bench was crucial with the likes of Cait and Mary making an impact, Mary came on and got a vital point where she broke through and I don’t think anyone else would have had the energy in the legs, and that was a vital score for us and look it’s a panel effort at the end of the day and we are delighted with the win.”

Team captain Karen Kennedy was also delighted with the win but also knows improvements are needed going forward.

“Yeah, we are happy with the win and being in a semi-final,” she began.

“But there is also a lot of that performance we will be unhappy with, but we have a few weeks now to look at things and improve on it before the semi-final.”

However, the Thurles Sarsfields native was happy with how her side saw out the game when coming under pressure near the end.

“We knew that they (Kilkenny) would have their time on top, and we probably took a while to get to grips with it, but in the end as you said, we did step up and took back control of the game and steadied the ship and thankfully get over the line,” she added.