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15-Dec-2016 02:17

“Luckily enough, the umpire called for Hawk-Eye and it was in play.

I have a sneaking suspicion that if Hawk-Eye hadn’t been in play at the time that the point would have been awarded.

The Munster champions fought their way back, and an O' Dwyer penalty tapped over the bar made it a one-point game.

But two goals in the space of four minutes from brothers Richie and John Power ensured Kilkenny's name would be on the cup for the 35th time.

Again Tipperary led by two points at half-time, 1-07 to 0-08, thanks to Callanan's first goal of the day.

But Kilkenny produced their now customary blitz upon the restart and scored five points without reply.

“Myself and Eoin (Kelly) were on the bench so we weren’t seeing much game time but Larry (Corbett) was playing and he’s a loss. I think he’s the best full-back in the country at the moment.

Our defence on that day in particular were absolutely outstanding.

“We hurled very well and put ourselves in a strong position to win the game, by maybe more than three points." O' Brien feels that Kilkenny, who benched Walter Walsh, Joey Holden and Hogan for the replay, learned more than an unchanged Tipperary from the drawn game.

“We were living off scraps in the forwards for the first half. “After half-time we seemed to get a stranglehold on the game, and put ourselves in a position to push on and win. “It was edge-of-the-seat stuff if you were in the stands but from a player’s point of view, your tongue was hanging out every minute. And to be part of it was extra special." With 20 seconds left on the clock, Brian Hogan bore down on the Tipperary 45 and collided with defender Padraic Maher. The Tipperary fans celebrated but the umpire took the wise step of consulting Hawk-Eye.

Two-time All-Ireland winner John O' Brien replaced Callanan before the free was taken. "You could tell from the scoreboard alone it was a classic but you don’t really realise until afterwards when you read the papers and watch The Sunday Game.“Tipp with the likes of John Mc Grath and Michael Breen, and Kilkenny with guys like Liam Blanchfield." That said, Power feels the Michael Fennelly's absence will be huge disadvantage for the reigning All-Ireland champions.