Kilkenny player ratings: Donnelly’s coming of age display a rare bright spark for Cats

Eoin Murphy

6Our Rating

The Cats won just 13 of his 37 restarts, the vast majority of which went long. There wasn’t a huge amount he could have done for the three Tipperary goals.


Paul Murphy

6Our Rating

Coped reasonably well on Jason Forde in a full-back line that was under siege in the second-half. Conceded scores from play in the 48th and 50th minutes, but was fairly solid other than that spell.


Huw Lawlor

7Our Rating

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He broke even on Callanan, but the Drom-Inch ace scored 1-1 and set-up another goal in the seven minutes after half-time. Otherwise, Lawlor was out in front and competed well in the air to prove he belongs at this level.


Joey Holden

5Our Rating

He wasn’t taken to the cleaners like he was on Callanan in 2016, but conceded a few scores during separate spells on John McGrath and John O’Dwyer.


Conor Fogarty

6Our Rating

Niall O’Meara sped by him for the game’s crucial goal in the 26th minute. Won a free for a TJ Reid score but otherwise failed to have an impact on the proceedings.


Pádraig Walsh

6Our Rating

Scored a 60th minute point but didn’t make much more of his accustomary breaks forward and it took him a while to get to grips with centre-forward O’Meara. Wasn’t allowed to sit back to protect his full-back line due to the quality of Tipp’s movement in attack.


Paddy Deegan

7Our Rating

Made plenty of clearances and managed to keep Dan McCormack under wraps. 


Cillian Buckley

5Our Rating

A subdued performance from Buckley, who battled a serious knee injury during the summer. Kilkenny were overran in the middle third during the second-half as Tipp made good use of the extra man and worked the ball through the lines effectively. Taken off after 47 minutes.


Conor Browne

6Our Rating

Bombed forward for one great run down the flank in the first-half. It was surprising that he didn’t attach himself to the hip of Noel McGrath as expected. He was taken off seven minutes after Buckley, replaced by James Maher after 54 minutes.


John Donnelly

8Our Rating

Kilkenny’s best player on the day, the young Thomastown forward stood up in a major way. He clipped over three points and made a few brilliant catches from Murphy’s puck-outs. A coming of age performance from Donnelly in his first All-Ireland final.


Walter Walsh

6Our Rating

Had enough of an impact early on to force Tipp to move Padraic Maher onto him near the end of the first-half. He set-up Colin Fennelly’s goal chance after five minutes and constantly ran at the Premier defence, but was turned over a number of times. 


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TJ Reid

7Our Rating

Finished with 0-11 from 12 shots but only managed to score once from play. Hogan’s dismissal meant Tipperary had a spare man to drop in front of the full-back line which made life difficult for Reid. As ever, he worked incredibly hard but it wasn’t their day.

Adrian Mullen

5Our Rating

Came down with an illness during the week and it clearly affected his energy levels. He was the first Kilkenny player hauled off, after 39 minutes, on a forgettable day for the young Ballyhale Shamrocks attacker. He’ll be back. 

Colin Fennelly

5Our Rating

Came across a Ronan Maher in the form of his life. He started well and had an early goal chance denied by a majestic John McGrath hook. Was set-up by Reid for a point in the 57th minute but never got firing. 

Richie Hogan

5Our Rating

Scored an early point but his All-Ireland final ended after 33 minutes for a red card following his late hit on Cathal Barrett. Hogan caught the Premier defender on the head with his elbow and received his marching orders. It was undoubtedly the turning point of the game.


Billy Ryan 7 – Scored two points after his introduction for Mullen. He looked lively in the Kilkenny attack.

Richie Leahy 6 – Came on for Buckley 12 minutes after half-time but it was a difficult task for the young midfielder as Tipperary sprayed the ball around the field in the final quarter.

James Maher 6 – Replaced Browne on 54 minutes, as both of Kilkenny’s midfielders were taken off. Didn’t have a huge involvement in the game. 

Conor Delaney 6 – Came in for Holden with 12 minutes left. Tipp were cruising to victory by that stage. 

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