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September rivals line up league showdown

Published 01/04/2013 | 05:00

Kilkenny’s Walter Walsh gets some close attention from Conor O'Sullivan of Cork during the Allianz NHL Division 1A game at Nowlan Park
Kilkenny’s Walter Walsh gets some close attention from Conor O'Sullivan of Cork during the Allianz NHL Division 1A game at Nowlan Park

KILKENNY and Galway are booked in for another major shoot-out after securing places in the Allianz Hurling League semi-finals with wins in yesterday's final round of divisional games.

The clash on April 21 will be the fifth meeting between the counties since last July, having met in the Leinster final, All-Ireland final (draw and replay) in September and NHL in February.

Neither last year's All-Ireland champions nor runners-up scored a goal yesterday but returned enough points to win their games and secure knockout places. Kilkenny came from behind in the final quarter to beat Cork by two points in Nowlan Park, while Galway beat Waterford by three points in Walsh Park.

The other semi-final will be between Tipperary and either Limerick or Dublin, who meet in the 1B final next Sunday.

On an afternoon of high drama, fortunes fluctuated in 1A, where only two points separated top from bottom at the start of play. Waterford led the table but the defeat by Galway left them level on points with the Tribesmen and squeezed out on the head-to-rule rule.

Waterford's defeat left them in fourth place in the table, and the only county in the division with no further league action. Tipperary, who topped the group on the head-to-head rule, Kilkenny and Galway all march on in pursuit of the title, while Clare and Cork will meet in a relegation play-off on April 14.

Clare, who were promoted from 1B last year, beat Cork by six points in their group game last month. Clare were well beaten by Tipperary yesterday, while Cork, who led by three points after 53 minutes, were reeled in by Kilkenny, who scored nine points in the final quarter.

Limerick, who drew with Wexford yesterday, had already secured a place in the 1B final and were joined by Dublin, who beat Carlow.

Carlow and Antrim will meet in the 1B relegation play-off.

Irish Independent

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