Carlow just fall short as Kilkenny book place in final
Kilkenny 2-14 Carlow 2-12 Leinster U-21 HC Semi-Final
Kilkenny hurlers had to see off a storming second-half display from Carlow before escaping with a two-point victory in a rousing clash before an attendance of 2,000 at Netwatch Cullen Park.
Substitute Jack Kavanagh’s goal in the 63rd minute came just too late for the hosts as the final whistle blew from the puck-out, leaving Carlow to reflect on what could have been a famous win for Johnny Nevin’s men.
In perfect conditions, wing-back Jason Cleere put the visitors in front in the first minute with a fine long-range point from play as the Noresiders took early control.
Well-crafted goals from full-forward Ciarán Ryan and corner-forward Liam Hickey in the fifth and 13th minutes provided the visitors with a comfortable cushion as they went on to establish a 2-9 to 0-8 interval lead, with Carlow ruing a number of missed frees.
The game appeared to be going along expected lines at that stage, but Carlow showed wonderful spirit in a superb rally.
Home full-forward Peter Shaw shot 1-1 in the space of two minutes, and with Diarmuid Byrne dominant at midfield, the pressure built on Kilkenny.
But three Carlow wides when they were on top slowed their momentum.
But the Noresiders also hit a succession of wides in seeking points from long range to close out the game and were left clinging on for victory after Kavanagh’s late, late goal.
It was a measure of the Carlow rally that they outscored their opponents by 2-4 to 0-5 in that second half.
Scorers – Kilkenny: C Martin 0-5 (4fs), C Ryan 1-2, L Hickey 1-1, L Blanchfield 0-2, J Cleere, P Deegan, M Mansfield, J Maher 0-1 each. Carlow: K McDonald 0-4 (3fs), P Shaw 1-1, C Nolan 0-3, J Kavanagh 1-0, T Joyce, M Kavanagh (1f) 0-2 each,
Kilkenny – D Brennan; C Delaney, C Wallace, E Cody; J Cleere, E Morrissey, B Troy; P Deegan, M Mansfield; C Martin, W Brennan, J Maher; L Hickey, C Ryan, L Blanchfield. Subs: K Blanchfield for Deegan (37); L Scanlon for Brennan (49); T Phelan for Scanlon (injured) (54); S Morrissey for Ryan (60).
Carlow – J Barron; S Whelan, G Coady, M Malone; J Murphy, D Wall, M Grady; D Byrne, C Fenlon; M Kavanagh, K McDonald, T Joyce, J Doyle; P Shaw, C Nolan. Subs: J Kavanagh for Fenlon (h/t); E O’Hara for Doyle (injured) (40); J Doyle for McDonald (62).
Ref – J Heffernan (Wexford).