A top class point from rising young star, Richie Leahy, a minute into lost time earned Kilkenny a thrilling victory over the old enemy, Tipperary, in a sizzling National Hurling League clash at packed Nowlan Park today.

A game that produced lively fare during the first half really exploded into life after the break and it had the crowd of 10,587 on their feet into the dying stages.

Kilkenny carried a one-point lead into the interval and hit Tipperary for goals by Walter Walsh and Luke Scanlon within three minutes of the restart.

At that stage Tipperary trailed by seven points (2-13 to 0-12), but by the 56th minute they had produced a remarkable turnaround to hit the front again.

Their on-fire attacker, Michael Breen crashed home the goals, and with towering attacker Mark Russell causing the home sides all sorts of problems on the edge of the square, they looked to have control of things.

But it wasn’t that sort of contest. No one could get a grip, and it was full speed ahead for all right to the finish.

Neither side could pull away and we appeared to be heading for a second successive league draw between the sides after Michael Breen whipped over a lovely equaliser in the 70th minute.

However, in the very next play, T.J. Reid won the Kilkenny puck-out and he picked out Leahy for the winning score.

The result leaves both sides in a must-win situation next weekend if they want to make the quarter-finals, with Kilkenny entertaining Wexford and Tipperary playing Cork at home.

TJ Reid shone, especially in the first half where he landed nine points. Tipperary kept pace but their shooting let them down as they had nine wides on the board before half-time.

Late scores from Michael Breen and a whopper from Brendan Maher in midfield left the minimum between them at the break, with the Cats 0-13 to 0-12 in front.

That set the scene for a rollercoaster of a second half in which the lead switched from side to side before Leahy struck the final blow for the hosts.

Kilkenny – D. Brennan, E. Morrissey, J. Holden, P. Deegan, C. O’Shea, C. Buckley, C. Browne (0-01), J. Maher (0-01), L. Blanchfield (0-01), M. Keoghan, T.J. Reid (0-13, 0-07f), P. Lyng (0-01), R. Leahy (0-03), W. Walsh (1-00), L. Scanlon (1-0).

Subs – A. Murphy (0-01) for Blanchfield (47); L. Ryan for P. Lyng (50); R. Reid (0-01) for Keoghan (59); C. Martin for Scanlon (65).

Tipperary – D. Mooney, A. Flynn, T. Hamill, S. O’Brien, S. Kennedy, J. Barry, D. Maher, B. Maher (0-04), R. Maher (0-01), S. Curran (0-01), B. McCarthy (0-01), P. Maher (0-01), G. Browne, M. Breen (2-09, 0-07f), N. O’Meara (0-02).

Subs – M. Russell (0-01) for G. Browne (ht); C. Darcy (0-01) for O’Meara (42).

Referee – A. Kelly (Galway).