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Tipperary’s bid to retain the Liam MacCarthy Cup came unstuck on Sunday afternoon last in Croke Park when Kilkenny stormed to victory with a powerful display which left Declan Ryan’s men trailing in their wake.

Tipperary’s bid to retain the Liam MacCarthy Cup came unstuck on Sunday afternoon last in Croke Park when Kilkenny stormed to victory with a powerful display which left Declan Ryan’s men trailing in their wake.

Yes, Brian Cody worked the oracle for the Cats for the eight time since 1999 as they resumed their almost customary spot at the summit of the hurling world.

It was the day when it all went wrong for Tipperary. The players struggled to get to the pitch of the game and were never able to match Kilkenny’s intensity on the day. They failed to get to the same levels reached in 2009 and 2010. And yet, there were only four points between them at the end.

Tipperary showed great character to to get back into the game - a Pa Bourke goal in the 20th minute of the second half giving them a great lift as they whittled away the eight point deficit.

But, it wasn’t to be and the Cats held out for a famous win - described by Cody, their wonderful Manager, as one of their sweetest.

Tipp might be down, but they are not out. Captain Eoin Kelly has stated that the players will use their hurt to drive them on in 2012. And, he promised better days ahead for the loyal supporters who turned out to greet them in the rain.

Check out inside for full match reports, analysis, reaction, the Tipperary banquet on Sunday evening in the Burlington Hotel, and the homecoming on Monday evening in Semple Stadium.