Galway edge Kilkenny in dramatic free-taking contest to claim inaugural Wild Geese trophy in Sydney
Galway 4-23 Kilkenny 3-26 (Galway win 4-3 after free-taking contest)
Galway emerged as the winners of the first ever Wild Geese trophy after overcoming Kilkenny following a free-taking competition after a dramatic draw in the Spotless Stadium in Sydney.
The contest between the 2017 All-Ireland champions and the 2018 National League winners finished in a high-scoring 4-23 to 3-26 tie, with both sides fielding a mixture of experienced heads and young players.
Remarkably, Galway roared back to force extra time despite trailing by 14 points towards the end of the first half. The game's decisive moment came at the death when Tribesmen substitute John Mooney hit the net, tying the game.
Galway were then more accurate from the 65m line, converting four efforts to Kilkenny's three. Jason Cleere and Conor Martin missed for the Cats while Niall Burke converted to win the Wild Geese trophy for Galway.
An even opening 15 minutes was quickly turned on its head after former All Star Ger Aylward bagged two goals, putting Kilkenny 2-14 to 0-6 in front. Galway rallied with a goal from Niall Burkem making it a more manageable 2-15 to 1-10 deficit at the break.
Joe Canning saw red for a high tackle on Enda Morrissey after 54 minutes but goals from Cathal Mannion, Davy Glennon and Mooney were enough to take the game to the free-taking contest, where Galway kept their nerve to prevail.
Scorers for Galway: Cathal Mannion 1-4, Joe Canning 0-7 (5f, 1’65), Niall Burke 1-3 (3f), Davy Glennon 1-1, Joe Mooney 1-0, Aidan Harte 0-2, Brian Concannon 0-2, Conor Whelan 0-1, Shane Moloney 0-1, Johnny Coen 0-1, Fearghal Flannery 0-1.
Scorers for Kilkenny: Richie Hogan 0-11 (6f, 2 ’65), Ger Aylward 2-0, Walter Walsh 1-2, James Maher 0-3, Conor Fogarty 0-2, Richie Leahy 0-2, Martin Keoghan 0-1, Jason Cleere 0-1, Liam Blanchfield 0-1, John Donnelly 0-1, Luke Scanlon 0-1, Eoin Murphy 0-1 (f).
GALWAY: Fearghal Flannery; Paul Killeen, Daithi Burke, Sean Linnane; Padraic Mannion, Gearoid McInerney, Aidan Harte; Johnny Coen, Sean Loftus; Joseph Cooney, Joe Canning, Jason Flynn; Conor Whelan, Niall Burke, Cathal Mannion. Subs used: Davy Glennon for Conor Whelan, Brian Concannon for Joseph Cooney (both 29), Shane Maloney (41), Shane Bannon for Paul Killeen (50), Joe Mooney for Johnny Coen (63), Colm Callanan for Fearghal Flannery (63), Jack Coyne for Jason Flynn (63)
KILKENNY: Eoin Murphy; Enda Morrisey, Huw Lawlor, Conor Browne; Jason Cleere, Conor Delaney, Conor Fogarty; Liam Blanchfield, James Maher; Martin Keoghan, Richie Hogan, Richie Leahy; Ger Aylward, Walter Walsh, John Donnelly. Subs used: Bill Sheehan for Ger Aylward (47), Luke Scanlon for John Donnelly (49), Conor Martin for Liam Blanchfield (62), Pat Lyng for Richie Leahy (68)
Referee: James Owens (Wexford)