TIPPERARY inflicted a second successive defeat on Kilkenny, by 2-17 to 1-19, leaving the Cats as the only team in Division 1A without a point.
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With three rounds remaining and three counties (plus Division 1B winners) to qualify for the league semi-finals, qualification is still well within Kilkenny's range but only if they beat Waterford next Monday.
Tipperary led by a point on the half-hour mark (their goal in the 27th minute cannoned into the net off John O'Dwyer's helmet) but by half-time they had pulled six points clear after out-scoring Kilkenny by 1-3 to 0-1 in the final five minutes.
Lar Corbett scored the second goal, flicking the sliotar to the Kilkenny net, after timing his run to perfection.
Eoin Kelly closed the scoring with a deftly struck point, before Kilkenny's Tommy Walsh and Tipp's Noel McGrath were both sent off for second yellow cards.
In an edge-of-the-seat finish at Fraher Field, Waterford came up with two late points from Brian O'Sullivan and Seamus Prendergast to make it honours even with Cork at 0-15 to 1-12, and leave both sides quietly pleased. Cork had fought back from eight points in arrears at the break to lead by two entering the dying embers of the contest.
Waterford battled bravely to the finish and manager Michael Ryan praised their durability: "With three minutes to go, we were two points behind against a Cork team that were on the rise and we were playing against a strong wind. We put in a fantastic finish, scored two great points and fully deserved the draw."
CLARE manager Davy Fitzgerald took up the verbal cudgel on behalf of his young players to plead with the Banner followers for patience and understanding.
A deserved 0-18 to 1-13 victory over last year's All-Ireland finalists Galway, at Cusack Park, gave Fitzgerald the perfect platform to state his case again.
"We lost to Waterford by a point and you'd swear someone had died around there. I can't understand it," said Fitzgerald.
"None of these top six teams are bad teams.
"There's very little between the lot of them.
"I was disappointed we lost to Waterford, but we were within a point of them.
"These guys are giving everything for Clare," added Fitzgerald.