EOIN MURPHY 7
Made a great save from David Fitzgerald in the second half and had earlier denied Shane O’Donnell. One of the best in the business. Sure to see more action in the final.
MIKEY BUTLER 8
It’s says something about the esteem Butler is held in that he was given the task of tracking Tony Kelly here. Stood up to the task too and pushed the Ballyea magician to the fringes.
HUW LAWLOR 8
The anticipated match up with Peter Duggan never really materialised as Kilkenny were on top in so many areas. Part of a defensive effort that strangled the life from Clare early on.
TOMMY WALSH 7
Neat and tidy on the ball, Walsh has a sixth sense for breaking ball around his own goal. Dependable as ever for the Cats.
MIKEY CAREY 6
Tracked Shane O’Donnell for a period and he unwittingly did most in the Kilkenny side to help the Clare cause. Generally a much more reliable sort.
RICHIE REID 7
Made a couple of beautiful catches early on and managed a brilliant block to deny Clare a goal chance. Martin Keoghan grabbed Kilkenny’s first goal in the following passage of play.
PADDY DEEGAN 7
Clare might have played to his strengths, given the ball they sent in, but Deegan was a powerful presence in defence for the Cats. Rarely takes a backwards step.
ADRIAN MULLEN 9
Picked up a knock early on but it didn’t seem to bother him. The understanding he enjoys with clubmates TJ Reid and Eoin Cody is visible. Has a bit of everything.
CONOR BROWNE 7
All industry and energy as ever and helps set the tone for Kilkenny. Picked off a nice point too. Had been shown a yellow card before he was called ashore.
EOIN CODY 8
Another player who Clare simply couldn’t get to grips with. Contributed a brilliant individual point early on in the match and he never looked back from there.
PáDRAIG WALSH 7
Walsh has been whatever Kilkenny have needed through the years and he was part of a middle third effort that didn’t give Clare a second. Withdrawn midway through the second half.
TJ REID 9
Not much more that can be said about Reid at this stage. Clever on the ball, brilliant from frees. Clare couldn’t nail him down and they paid the price.
BILLY RYAN 7
Another good performance. Ryan was a kind break away from a chance on goal on a couple of occasions but chipped in with two points.
MARTIN KEOGHAN 7
Was withdrawn at half-time but not before he grabbed the goal that all but ended the game as a contest just before the break.
CIAN KENNY 7
Seemed to thrive in the less structured nature of the second half. Boasts a lovely touch and was clinical when his goal chance presented itself.
Walter Walsh for Keoghan (HT) set up Kenny’s goal – 8
John Donnelly for Pádraig Walsh (49) a solid outing – 6
Richie Leahy for Browne (62), Alan Murphy for Billy Ryan (66) and David Blanchfield for Carey (72) – not on long enough to be rated.
EIBHEAR QUILLIGAN 7
Brilliant save to deny Eoin Cody in the first half and got a strong hand on Keoghan’s initial shot that turned out to be their first goal but could only look on after Kilkenny started fires everywhere.
RORY HAYES 6
Had his moments in defence and boomed over a lovely point early in the second half but was part of a rearguard that was shipping water from the off.
CONOR CLEARY 5
Disappointment for the Cleary house again with twin brother Eoin losing with the footballers a couple of weeks ago. Never got to the pitch of the game as Clare suffered a systems failure.
PAUL FLANAGAN 5
Did some good work on the ground and never shied away from the task but found himself on TJ Reid contesting high balls on a couple of occasions and the Ballyhale man made hay.
DIARMUID RYAN 7
No shortage of effort from Ryan who grabbed two first-half points and was a willing raider. Kept going on the resumption even if it always felt like a lost cause.
PáIDí FITZPATRICK 5
A late replacement in the side after John Conlon was deemed not fit to start. Struggled with the pace of it but then so did most of his teammates. Didn’t see the second half.
DAVID McINERNEY 6
Struggled to get into it though that could be said of almost all of his teammates. Perhaps a couple of early wides dented the confidence.
DAVID FITZGERALD 7
Another who did his best to dampen the flames in the first half. Fitzgerald chipped in with a few scores and emerged with some credit here.
DAVID REIDY 5
Spent a lot of time in the full-forward line and struggled to make the ball stick early on as Clare looked to go long early and often. Didn’t re-emerge after half-time.
CATHAL MALONE 5
Couldn’t impose himself on the game as Kilkenny dominated in almost every sector. No doubt that he and Clare will have better days in Croke Park.
TONY KELLY 5
Found Mikey Butler hard to shake but Clare were in trouble in every area. Frees were an issue too. A day to forget for Clare and their talisman.
SHANE O’DONNELL 7
Got a couple of sights on goal but Kilkenny were quick to shut the door. And when he did get a shot off, Eoin Murphy was waiting. Never stopped trying even though the cause was long since lost. Probably Clare’s best man.
IAN GALVIN 5
Can perhaps consider himself unlucky to be called ashore so early when Clare were struggling in a number of positions. Didn’t see out the half hour.
PETER DUGGAN 5
He’s been a key man for Clare but he struggled to impose himself from the off here. No real surprise to see him withdrawn.
RYAN TAYLOR 5
Kept going and was rewarded with a point for his efforts in the second half before being replaced.
Aron Shanagher for Galvin (27), couldn’t inspire as he did against Wexford. 6
Mark Rodgers for Reidy (HT), grabbed a couple of points. 7
Cian Nolan for Fitzpatrick (HT), made a difference. 7
Shane Meehan for Duggan (50), was chasing a lost cause. 6
Shane Golden for Taylor (66), not on long enough to be rated.
IN the history of hurling no manager is better than Brian Cody at extracting the maximum return from a team both individually and collectively. So, despite losing twice in the Leinster series, Kilkenny will contest the All-Ireland final on Sunday week.