Seamus Callanan, Bubbles O'Dwyer and John McGrath had appetite for destruction

Tipperary Player Ratings on day when Kilkenny were finally beaten in the championship after five attempts by Tipp

Seamus Callanan, Bubbles O'Dwyer and John McGrath had appetite for destruction
By Eamonn Wynneewynne@nationalist.ie@TheNationalist

Darren Gleeson

Darren Gleeson - 8 out of 10 - It was a day of redemption for the goalkeeper, a substitute when Tipp last lifted the McCarthy Cup and a beaten finalist two years ago.

He went short with some of his early puckouts but as the game advanced his long and accurate deliveries rained down on the beleaguered Kilkenny defence, as the forwards won possession and went to town. He made the first of his important saves in the 18th minute when he blocked Colin Fennelly's low shot at his near post. He made another valuable save from Kevin Kelly after 55 minutes, at a stage when Kilkenny were pressing hard in an effort to close the gap, but the Portroe 'keeper ensured they were deprived of the opportunity to gain any momentum. He also saved a late effort at the expense of a '65 but by then his team were home and hosed. He served as Brendan Cummins' deputy for six long years but finally stepped out of the shadows on Sunday.

Cathal Barrett

Cathal Barrett - 8 out of 10 - He won a few important early frees, including one when he shipped a heavy tackle from Walter Walsh. He also got the decision from referee Brian Gavin when he stopped Liam Blanchfield in his tracks in the first half and the Kilkenny player was penalised for over-carrying. The Holycross/Ballycahill man was typically tigerish in the tackle and the discomfort he endured at times in the semi-final against Galway was a distant memory last weekend. Perhaps his most telling contribution came 13 minutes into the second half when he won possession, darted from defence and played the pass from which Bubbles O'Dwyer made hay by scoring the team's opening goal.

James Barry

James Barry - 7 out of 10 - The Upperchurch player suffered a misfortunate slip early in the second half when Colin Fennelly almost played Kevin Kelly in for a goal but the alertness of his defensive colleagues Michael Cahill and Padraic Maher saved the day. Apart from that he was rock solid and held no less an opponent than Fennelly scoreless. Even when Kilkenny pressed hard in the dying embers of this contest he stubbornly refused to yield, and always stood firm at the edge of the square.

Michael Cahill

Michael Cahill - 8 out of 10 - The corner back was at his most effective in the first half when he won an amount of ball and prowled his area of the pitch to good effect, setting in motion a few attacks that led to scores. When Kevin Kelly seemed poised to shoot a goal three minutes into the second half he put a halt to the Kilkenny player's gallop with a sturdy challenge, and Padraic Maher completed the mopping-up process. He was replaced by Donagh Maher five minutes from the end of normal time having made a valuable contribution to the cause.

Seamus Kennedy - 7 out of 10 - There was a real Roy of the Rovers end to the season for the St. Mary's Clonmel player. Brought into the panel last November, the talented dual star didn't see a minute of action in the National League and had to wait until May to make his senior hurling inter-county debut, in the championship against Cork. Since then he has cemented his place in the starting fifteen and on Sunday he showed why, with a more than capable performance on the biggest day of all. His confidence levels were sent soaring when he took a pass from Bonner Maher and scored a point in the 11th minute. Two minutes later he made a timely interception when Kilkenny threatened. He blocked a late effort by Colin Fennelly when the defence absolutely refused to budge and concede a consolation goal.

Ronan Maher - 8 out of 10 - He anchored the defence with ruthless efficiency in what was a stunning performance by a 20 year-old in his first appearance in an All-Ireland Senior Final. He turns 21 next month but his tender years and relative inexperience were never a hindrance, as he kept close tabs on Kilkenny danger man Richie Hogan. He was at it from the first whistle, rising high to win a ball before setting up the game's opening score for Seamus Callanan in the third minute. He shook Liam Blanchfield with a thundering but legitimate shoulder after a quarter of an hour, as his team continued to show that they really meant business. His range of short and long passes were a joy to watch, including his crossfield assist for a Seamus Callanan point in the 21st minute.

Padraic Maher - 8 out of 10 - As a raw 20 year-old seven years ago he collapsed onto the Croke Park turf in a flood of tears following a heartbreaking All-Ireland Final defeat to Kilkenny. He returned twelve months later to win an All-Ireland and now has his second Celtic Cross, as the tears he shed on Sunday were tears of joy. His form has steadily improved as the championship has progressed and for a defender he must have set some sort of a record by scoring a point from play in each of his side's five championship games this season. The point he scored on Sunday in the 50th minute was a real spirit-raising effort, as Tipp tightened their grip on proceedings, and he and his younger brother Ronan were lynchpins of a hardworking and tight defensive unit.

Brendan Maher - 8 out of 10 - The captain spoke beforehand of the hurt he had suffered from past defeats against Kilkenny and he used that hurt as an important motivational tool on Sunday. He must have covered more ground than any other player and it was a testament to his fitness and skill that he was still going strong at the finish. He put in a shift to get through all the unselfish and hard graft that allowed others to flourish. The heartbeat of this team, he has led his county in exemplary fashion for the past three seasons and now he has been amply rewarded.

Michael Breen - 5 out of 10 - It was just one of those days for the Ballina player, who found that the game passed him by. It was no great surprise when he was summoned ashore ten minutes into the second half, when he was replaced by Jason Forde. While he didn't make much of an impression he didn't do anything particularly wrong either and his direct opponent Conor Fogarty wasn't that prominent. It's important to remember too that Tipperary mightn't even have reached the final had it not been for his influential performances throughout the championship, when he was a strong presence at centrefield and scored 3-5 from play in three games, an impressive haul for a midfielder.

Dan McCormack - 6 out of 10 - One of the team's unsung heroes and one of five players making their debuts in the All-Ireland Senior Final. He shot a couple of wides in the first half but that never affected the confidence of a player who has been a willing workhorse all season. He capped his debut appearance in Croke Park on the first Sunday of September by scoring his first point in five championship games, eight minutes before half time. He slotted into midfield when Michael Breen was substituted ten minutes into the second half and kept things ticking over in the engine room.

Patrick Maher - 8 out of 10 - It was another powerhouse display by the Bonner, who never stops working from start to finish. He was a constant thorn in the Kilkenny defence, making a real nuisance of himself and never allowing the opposition any time on the ball. His finishing isn't always the best but he chipped in with two points on this occasion. He has experienced some frustrating days in the blue and gold shirt against Kilkenny but this wasn't one of them. His bravery, honesty and incessant workrate all afternoon typified his team's attitude.

Noel McGrath - 8 out of 10 - He was always cool and resourceful and he possesses a vision and level of skill with which few players are blessed. He popped out an assist for his brother John's spectacular goal just after the hour mark, a pass so tempting that it should have come with a gilt edge and embossed with the word invitation. His clever pass for Dan McCormack's point stands out in the memory, as he imposed his own qualities on the game and shaped much of his team's attacking intent. Sunday completed the recovery and rehabilitation following his serious illness last year.

John O'Dwyer - 9 out of 10 - Bubbles took a wrecking ball to Kilkenny's dream of another three-in-a-row on more than one occasion. There was that sublime sideline cut that sailed between the posts after eight minutes and the free that he converted from his own '65 on the cusp of half time. He was a constant threat and his most important intervention came 13 minutes into the second half when he collected Cathal Barrett's pass, rounded Paul Murphy and left the corner back floundering in his wake before crashing a low shot to the net past Eoin Murphy. He almost scored another goal a minute later but this time he was denied by Murphy when he had a go from a tight angle. Before Sunday he may have only seen 25 minutes of championship action since the end of June but he fully justified Michael Ryan's decision to include him in the starting line-up, with the manager later describing the Killenaule man as " a little bit irresistible".

Seamus Callanan - 9 out of 10 - The Drom/Inch player scored two points from the substitute's bench when Tipp last lifted the McCarthy Cup before Sunday. Six years later he was the best player on the pitch as Kilkenny were again put to the sword in dramatic fashion. He oozed menace from start to finish, scoring 13 points, 9 from play, and was only denied a goal to round it all off when his rising shot flew a few inches too high two minutes before the break. His elegant control in the build-up to that point suggested he could control a snowflake in a storm. The Kilkenny full back Joey Holden was like a man arriving seconds late for a departing bus, and he watched time and time again as the Tipp full forward left without him.

John McGrath - 8 out of 10 - What a find the young Loughmore/Castleiney player has turned out to be season. Blessed with the effervescence of youth, the 22 year-old showed maturity beyond his tender years in his first All-Ireland Senior Final appearance. He took his goal with some aplomb, finishing high into the net in clinical style and emphasising his appetite for destruction. He also picked off three points from play and was unfazed by neither the occasion nor the opposition. He scored 3-2 against Waterford in the Munster Final, 1-1 against Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final and now 1-3 in the All-Ireland Final - a combined total of 5-6 and all but one goal (the penalty in the Munster Final) coming from play. This victory means he will now collect his third All-Ireland medal, following his Minor Football success in 2011 and his Minor Hurling win the following year.

Substitutes - Jason Forde - 7 out of 10 - He was only on the field a few seconds when he collected John McGrath's pass and scored a point. He laid on the pass for a Seamus Callanan point and scored another point 11 minutes from the end of normal time. He could have scored a goal but he and John McGrath were denied in the 50th minute.

Niall O'Meara, Donagh Maher, Kieran Bergin and Tomás Hamill - Not on long enough to earn ratings. -