Friday 15 December 2017

Brennan's men blitz Model to maintain Cats' upward curve

Kilkenny 0-30 Wexford 1-14 Bord Gáis Leinster U-21 HC final

Kilkenny celebrate their victory over Wexford in the Bord Gais Energy Leinster U21 championship at Nowlan Park last night. Photo: RAY McMANUS/SPORTSFILE
Kilkenny celebrate their victory over Wexford in the Bord Gais Energy Leinster U21 championship at Nowlan Park last night. Photo: RAY McMANUS/SPORTSFILE

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Kilkenny may be finding it hard going at senior level at the moment but they are flying on the under-age scene.

This big win over Wexford in the Leinster under-21 hurling final in Nowlan Park yesterday evening was their second provincial victory in three days.

The Kilkenny minors won the Leinster final on Sunday, beating Dublin in the decider.

This under-21 win - managed by Eddie Brennan - earned the Cats a place in the All-Ireland semi-finals against Antrim.

The Cats looked comfortable when running up a fine total of 30 points, although Wexford were down to 14 men from the 18th minute.

But even before the dismissal the visitors looked to be struggling, and the home fans in the 6,089 crowd were never made to sweat as the favourites claimed a 25th title.

Kilkenny's Liam Blanchfield and Darren Byrne of Wexford battle for possession during the Bord Gais Energy Leinster GAA Hurling Under 21 Championship Final. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Kilkenny's Liam Blanchfield and Darren Byrne of Wexford battle for possession during the Bord Gais Energy Leinster GAA Hurling Under 21 Championship Final. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Wexford were in trouble early on, but they were really facing an uphill battle when wing-back Brian Quigley was red-carded in the 18th minute for a foul on Richie Leahy.

They were already 1-2 to 0-8 behind, but they went backwards after that.

There was nice movement about Kilkenny's play from the off, although their finishing was poor. Billy Ryan and Leahy shot early points, but against that they registered three wides by the third minute.

Wexford conceded another minor to Alan Murphy (free) before they bounced back level with a goal from full-forward Stephen O'Gorman from 14 metres on the left.

James Burke of Kilkenny clears under pressure from Cathal Dunbar. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
James Burke of Kilkenny clears under pressure from Cathal Dunbar. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Within a minute Kilkenny were back in front though, via another free from Murphy.

On they drove, with the flying Leahy registering for a third time by the 14th minute to extend the home side's lead to 0-5 1-0.

When Quigley saw red in the 18th minute, Murphy pointed to extend the gap to 0-9 to 1-2.

From there to the break Kilkenny continued to pile on the points, working up a lead of 0-17 to 1-6 as all six forwards shared in the scoring.

Kilkenny maintained their position in the second-half, and never looked troubled.

Wexford's Brian Quigley receives a red card from referee Patrick Murphy. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Wexford's Brian Quigley receives a red card from referee Patrick Murphy. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Scorers - Kilkenny: R Leahy, A Murphy (5f) 0-5 each; L Scanlon, S Morrissey, J Cleere, J Bergin (3f) 0-3 each; J Donnelly, B Ryan 0-2 each; P Lyng, L Blanchfield, S Walsh, E Kenny 0-1 each. Wexford: J Coleman 0-5 (5f); S O'Gorman 1-0; C Dunbar, R O'Connor, J Doyle 0-2 (1f) 0-2 each; J O'Connor, D Codd, C Moore 0-1 each.

Kilkenny - D Brennan; M Cody, C Delaney, J Burke; D Mullen, J Cleere, T Walsh; L Scanlon, P Lyng; A Murphy, J Donnelly, S Morrissey; R Leahy, L Blanchfield, B Ryan. Subs: R. Bergin for Burke (h-t), J Bergin for Murphy (38), E Kenny for Blanchfield (43), J Walsh for Ryan (50), S Walsh for Donnelly (56).

Wexford - D Hughes; C Firman, D Byrne, S Reck; B Quigley, A Maddock, G Molloy; J O'Connor, R White; S Kelly, R O'Connor, J Coleman; C Dunbar, S O'Gorman, H O'Connor. Subs: J Firman for Kelly (h-t), D Codd for H O'Connor (35), J Doyle for Coleman (40), C Moore for White (44), D Pepper for S O'Gorman (47).

Referee: P Murphy (Carlow).

Rowan White keeps control after a challenge from Kilkenny's Pat Lyng. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Rowan White keeps control after a challenge from Kilkenny's Pat Lyng. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

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