Thursday 29 September 2016

Kilkenny-Galway player ratings: Eoin Larkin and Conor Whelan were immense

Dermot Crowe

Published 06/09/2015 | 17:48

6 September 2015; Kilkenny's Richie Hogan, left, and Eoin Larkin celebrate with the Liam MacCarthy cup. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; Kilkenny's Richie Hogan, left, and Eoin Larkin celebrate with the Liam MacCarthy cup. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; TJ Reid, Kilkenny, celebrates at the final whistle. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; Johnny Coen, Galway, clears the ball under pressure from Ger Aylward, Kilkenny. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; Referee James Owens moves in to seperate players from both sides, during the second half. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; David Burke, Galway, in action against Eoin Larkin, Kilkenny. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; Kilkenny manager Brian Cody. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; Joe Canning, Galway. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; Joey Holden, Kilkenny, in action against Jonathan Glynn, Galway. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; Jonathan Glynn, Galway, is hooked by Cillian Buckley, Kilkenny. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; Galway supporters celebrate a point. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; Conor Fogarty, Kilkenny, in action against Cathal Mannion, Galway. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Tom?s Greally / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; Michael Fennelly, Kilkenny, in action against David Burke, Galway. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; Joey Holden, Kilkenny, in action against Jonathan Glynn, Galway. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Tom?s Greally / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; Galway supporters celebrate a first half point. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; TJ Reid, Kilkenny, in action against Iarla Tannian, Galway. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin.Picture credit: D?ire Brennan / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; Shane Bannon, Galway, in action against Ger Aylward, Kilkenny. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; Eoin Larkin, left, and Michael Fennelly, Kilkenny, in action against Iarla Tannian, Galway. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin.Picture credit: D?ire Brennan / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; Paul Murphy, Kilkenny, in action against Conor Whelan, Galway. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin.Picture credit: D?ire Brennan / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; TJ Reid, Kilkenny, scores his side's first goal. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin.Picture credit: D?ire Brennan / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; Supporters on Hill 16 before the game. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

There were some huge displays on both side's as Kilkenny fought to a 1-22 to 1-18 victory but who were the star men?

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Player Ratings

Kilkenny

Eoin Murphy: Since Murphy took over the goalkeeping position Kilkenny have been even meaner in surrendering scores. This was a quieter day, his goal only breached from a Joe Canning free in injury time.

Rating: 7

Paul Murphy: Rarely plays an ordinary game for Kilkenny, a brilliant and inspiring player. Started on Cathal Mannion and found the going tough through the first half but characteristic obduracy thereafter.

Rating: 7

Joey Holden: Holden has the unenviable task of replacing the legendary JJ Delaney. Has done so  with quiet efficiency. In trouble from Canning early but well screened by his half back line after the interval.

Rating: 7

Shane Prendergast: First season even though he’s 29. In bother from Conor Whelan and had his most uncomfortable match of the championship.

Rating: 6

Padraig Walsh: Has taken up where older brother Tommy left off. Similar spark in his play. Started on Jonathan Jonathan Glynn. Initially and came into the game after half-time. Inspirational late scored opened a five point lead for first time. 

Rating: 8

Kieran Joyce: Shone when picked in last year’s All-Ireland final replay, big shouldered, big-hearted. Stout-hearted and defiant though not as spectacular this time. 

Rating: 7

Cillian Buckley: Has developed into an outstanding defender and competitor. He struggled containing Jason Flynn, improved in second half. 

Rating: 7

Michael Fennelly: Class midfielder player and tireless worker. Started well, faded, then came strong again and finished with two points.

Rating: 8

Conor Fogarty: A powerhouse midfielder in the Derek Lyng mould, only stronger. One good score and industrious as ever. 

Rating: 7.

Walter Walsh: Fond memories of Galway from 2012. If his form hasn’t always been to the same level he still commands a place and is versatile like many of the Kilkenny players. Helped set up the first goal and finished with two points from play. 

Rating: 7

Richie Hogan: Along with TJ Reid, a player Galway needed to curtail. Not the same influence as earlier in the season but injury has hampered him and he was taken off after scoring twice.

Rating: 7

TJ Reid: Rarely fails to provide a major performance and deadly accurate from dead-balls. Scored the first goal and put in a massive shift.

Rating: 8

Ger Aylward: One of the season’s finds, though he made his championship  debut in 2013, and is now 23. Strong on the ball, and clinical. Taken off but scored two points and the second might have been a goal.

Rating: 7

Colin Fennelly: Pace to burn, but indifferent forward and not always the lethal finisher he could be. He never stopped working and got first score in the final ten minutes.

Rating: 7

Eoin Larkin: Vastly experienced, Larkin has overcome injury to remain an important member of the Kilkenny attack.

Rating: 9

Subs:

Richie Power: Replace Hogan with an hour played. Not long enough on to leave an impression.

John Power: Second of the Powers came on with eight minutes left. Like his brother, inadequate time to leave an imprint.

Galway

Colm Callanan: Has won back the jersey from his rival James Skehill and is now the recognised number one in a position that over the years was never stable for long. Beaten by a low shot for the goal, otherwise a solid match.

Rating: 7

Johnny Coen: Eager to rid himself of the ghosts of Walter Walsh and the 2012 All-Ireland final replay. A quality hurler and great engine, who reads play exceptionally well. Very lucky not to be red carded for a dangerous challenge on Colin Fennelly.

Rating: 8

John Hanbury: Unglamorous, but fast and sticky and physical. Coming off his best show when playing in the corner in the semi-final. Early error led to Walter Walsh setting up Reid’s goal but made a critical hook on Colin Fennelly in the second half and can be satisfied with his overall display.

Rating: 8

Padraig Mannion: Having been relieved of duties on Seamus Callanan, Mannion finished strong in the semi-final, more in line with his earlier top-rank displays. On Larkin he had difficulty in the air but made some good contributions.

Rating: 7

Aidan Harte: Less celebrated member of the defence but vastly improved and settled now in the side. Not one of his better days. Started on Colin Fennelly and struggled, before being replaced.

Rating: 5

Iarla Tannian: A huge presence for Galway, he played on wing this time. One great catch over Reid a crowd-pleaser in first half. Not the same impact after half-time.

Rating: 7

Daithi Burke: A marvellous hurler, tidy and tenacious, and destined to be asked to cover one of Kilkenny’s key players. Started centre back on Hogan. One great field from over Hogan in first half and one of Galway’s better players.

Rating: 8

Andy Smith: Best game by a stretch in the semi-final against Tipp, but he didn’t repeat the same level of performance. Eventually substituted.

Rating: 6

David Burke: Has rediscovered some of his 2012 form. Beautiful stickman and capable scorer, but faded and came in and out of the game after the interval.

Rating: 8

Conor Whelan: Newcomer this season, only turns 19 next month, the Kinvara player faced the ultimate test against the Kilkenny defence. An outstanding match in setting up scores, picking off two points and never stopping. When the cause looked lost he kept showing.

Rating: 9

Cyril Donnellan: Injury has limited Donnellan’s normal rampaging presence in recent seasons. Taken off in the semi-final, Galway were counting on him having a bigger influence. Great first half but he couldn’t maintain it and later taken off.

Rating: 7

Jonathan Glynn: Came of age this year, peaking in the win over Cork. A target man for puck outs, he needed to raise his performance from the Tipp game. Couldn’t enjoy the influence that Galway would have hoped for.

Rating: 7

Jason Flynn: A sweet striker and highly reliable free-taker and one of the summer’s most electric forwards. Three outstanding long-range frees in the first half and a brilliant score from play.

Rating: 8

Joe Canning: Canning, by his high standards, had room for improvement on his previous outings. Two early scores from play and a good first half but he was not a factor for too much of the second half and missed one relatively easy free. Late goal a mere consolation.

Rating: 7

Cathal Mannion: Free-scoring, roaming forward who arrived last year and moved up a level this season, relieving some of the pressure on Canning. Hoping to atone for a quiet Leinster final against Kilkenny but it was a largely anonymous day.

Rating: 5

Subs:

David Collins: On after 24 minutes for Harte. A good match, embellished by two wonderful scores from long distance.

Rating: 8

Conor Cooney: Replaced Smith after 56 minutes with Galway fading and four points down. Poor effort for a point that went wide. Contributed little in the short time he was given.

Rating: 6

Greg Lally: A nice striker but missed a good scoring chance after coming on in the 64th minute for Donnellan.

Rating: 6

Shane Maloney: The match-winner against Tipp had only five minutes to impress. Too little, too late. Not on long enough for a rating.

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