NHL Div 1A & 1B focus: Tipp put Cats into the drop zone
It was a day of double delight for Eamon O'Shea's Tipperary crew with their 2-22 to 1-13 win over the Cats at Semple Stadium.
As well as clinching a place in the league quarter-finals, they also dispatched Kilkenny into most unusual territory where they will face a play-off to stay in 1A.
Even if Kilkenny beat Clare in the final series of games next Sunday, it won't be enough to take them out of the relegation zone (the bottom two teams play off to decide who drops to 1B) after suffering three successive losses for the first time under Brian Cody.
Defeats by Dublin and Galway left Kilkenny needing a positive response yesterday but their performance level came nowhere close to being high enough to match a slick Tipperary outfit.
And so the All-Ireland champions slumped to a third successive defeat, trailing in 12 points behind a Tipperary team that scored more in the opening 35 minutes than Kilkenny did in the entire game.
"There was no doubt about the result. The better team won. That's all there's to it," said Cody.
Cork have qualified for the next phase with a degree of comfort that you just couldn't have envisaged on the opening night when they fell flat on their face to a Kilkenny side minus more than half their All-Ireland winning team. Two goals from Paudie O'Sullivan helped seal a a 2-17 to 0-20 over Galway at Pearse Stadium.
Galway lost but have the comfort of being able to lose again to Dublin next week and still avoid an Allianz Div 1A relegation play-off, courtesy of their wins over Kilkenny and Clare which gives them head-to-head supremacy over both if they finish level with either next Sunday evening.
Wexford claimed their third win of Division 1B, thanks to a 5-21 to 0-25 victory over Laois in Portlaoise. Ian Byrne scored 0-15 for Liam Dunne's men, but it was their goals which eventually broke Laois' resolve. Four of them came in the second half, as Wexford managed to find the back of the net at crucial stages in the game.
Antrim were trounced 4-30 to 0-10 by Waterford in their Division 1B clash at Walsh Park.