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Kilkenny have clinched their 18th Allianz Hurling League title after they proved too strong for Tipperary at Nowlan Park, running out 2-23 to 2-17 winners.
The victory was the ninth occasion the Cats have claimed the league crown during Brian Cody's reign and there surely haven't been many that have tasted sweeter.
Written off after losing their opening two fixtures of the season, Kilkenny bounced back to go on a streak of six consecutive wins, culminating in a final in which they hung in at times before deservedly pulling away from the Premier County with a dominant second half display.
Despite being under the hammer for periods of the first half, 0-10 from TJ Reid - three of his points coming from play - kept Kilkenny in touch with Tipperary at half-time, trailing 0-11 to 1-10.
But a Walter Walsh goal not long after the restart was the signal for the Cats to take control of the match and they gradually pulled clear on the scoreboard with substitute Conor Fogarty's three-pointer late on putting the result beyond doubt.
Jason Forde did his best to keep Tipp in the contest by notching a stunning 2-12 of his side's 2-17 score but he got little help from his forwards when it mattered most.
They will now need to lift themselves to get their campaign to regain the Liam McCarthy Cup going next month and some hard questions will be asked about how they were outfought and outclassed in the final 30 minutes or so.
After watching Cillian Buckley lift the Dr Croke Cup, Cody and his players will be confident of going all the way once the Championship begins.
Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne
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