Saturday 20 October 2018

All Ireland champions Galway dig deep to see off Kilkenny in epic clash and retain Leinster title

Galway 1-28 Kilkenny 3-15

Richie Hogan of Kilkenny in action against Daithí Burke of Galway
Richie Hogan of Kilkenny in action against Daithí Burke of Galway
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

A history-making day in Thurles on a number of fronts as Semple Stadium hosted the Leinster hurling final for the first time and Galway retained the title for the first time after withstanding a spirited comeback by Kilkenny.

It took all of Galway's craft, battling spirit and endurance to fend off a mighty effort by Kilkenny in the second half. Galway led by seven points after 49 minutes but Kilkenny scored an unanswered 1-3 in four minutes to cut the margin to one. It completed a magnificent recovery - they trailed by 12 points after 33 minutes - and given Kilkenny's history against Galway, they seemed set to crown a great day be driving on to take the title.

However, Galway refused to yield and once they regained their composure, they re-established dominance  in the closing stages. They out-scored Kilkenny by 0-6 to 0-1 in the final ten minutes to book a place in the All-Ireland semi-final while Kilkenny face a quarter-final clash with Limerick next weekend. They will be deeply disappointed by the early and late stages of this game but there was a lot to admire about other periods.

Brian Cody will delighted with the form shown by subs, Colin Fennelly and Richie Hogan, both of whom scored 1-1.  Joe Canning was Galway's top scorer on 0-10 (0-6 from frees) while Cathal Mannion contributed six points and was also involved in creating some others.

Galway led by 1-16 to 1-7 at half-time after enjoying two hugely productive periods, which yielded a total of 1-11. They scored 1-6 between the 13th and 19th minutes and 0-5 between the 29th and 33rd minutes. The goal came from Jonathon Glynn, a pre-match replacement for Conor Cooney, in the 13th minute, by which stage Galway were already two points ahead. Kilkenny rallied to cut the deficit to seven points before Galway embarked on their second scoring surge. It took they 12 points clear before Ger Aylward pulled a goal back for Kilkenny in the 34th minute.

Conor Whelan hit his third points to close out the first half scoring and leave Galway taking a nine-point advantage to the dressing-room.

Scorers: Galway - J Canning 0-10 (6f), C Mannion 0-6, C Whelan 0-4, J Glynn 1-1, A Harte, N Burke 0-2 each, J Cooney, C Cooney, J Flynn 0-1 each.

Kilkenny: TJ Reid 0-9 (6f), R Hogan, C Fennelly 1-1 each, G Aylward 1-0, J Donnelly, J Maher, C Fogarty, J Holden 0-1 each

Galway: J Skehill; A Tuohey, Daithi Burke, J Hanbury; P Mannion, G McInerney, A Harte; J Coen, David Burke; J Cooney, J Canning, N Burke; C Whelan, J Glynn, C Mannion.

Subs:  C Cooney for N Burke (47), J Flynn for J Cooney (61), S Loftus for David Burke (69)

Kilkenny: E Murphy; P Murphy, P Walsh, P Deegan; J Holden, C Buckley, E Morrissey; C Fogarty, J Maher; J Donnelly, TJ Reid, R Leahy; B Ryan,W Walsh, G Aylward.

Subs: L Blanchfield for Walsh (17), C Fennelly for Ryan (jt), R Hogan for Leahy (ht), R Lennon for Morrissey (48), L Scanlon for Donnelly (62).

Ref - J Owens (Wexford)

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