Saturday 21 April 2018

Little learned from 52-point Derry mauling

Kilkenny 8-35 Derry 0-7

Richie Leahy of Kilkenny after scoring his side's third goal during the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All-Ireland U21 Championship Semi-Final match between Kilkenny and Derry at Semple Stadium in Tipperary. Photo: Sportsfile
Richie Leahy of Kilkenny after scoring his side's third goal during the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All-Ireland U21 Championship Semi-Final match between Kilkenny and Derry at Semple Stadium in Tipperary. Photo: Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

A 52-point landslide win is no way to prepare for an All-Ireland final with an in-form Limerick, but Kilkenny manager Eddie Brennan used it as a platform to call for structural change of the U-21 championship.

Galway's 43-point win over Derry in 1997 is the closest any team has come to that winning margin in the last two decades, but after the latest Derry result, Brennan thinks it's time for the playing field to be levelled.

"There was talk of taking the game up to Derry, but unfortunately, I'm not tasked with promoting hurling in Derry," said Brennan.

"We have to look at this structure. Maybe, we need to look at potentially scrapping the provincial championships and making an open draw. Maybe, this is the competition for that, whereby you put everybody into a hat and have a 16-team competition or whatever it is."

Derry manager Colm McGurk said they should have been in the second-tier competition.

"It was a hard day at the office. We knew coming down here that it was going to be tough," said McGurk.

"We thought we could maybe hold them for five, ten, 15 or 20 minutes but Kilkenny came out of the traps real hard and made sure we didn't have any hope.

"It's unfortunate we took a bit of a creasing but that's the way sport is."

For the record, Kilkenny led 5-12 to 0-4 at half-time after two Billy Ryan goals, while John Donnelly's six second-half points and goals from Shane Walsh, Eoin Kenny and Luke Scanlon added to Derry's misery.

Scorers - Kilkenny: S Walsh 2-7 (2fs); J Donnelly 1-7; B Ryan 2-0; L Blanchfield 0-6; R Leahy 1-2; E Kenny, Luke Scanlon 1-1; A Murphy, J Walsh 0-3; N McMahon, D Mullen, S Morrissey, H Lawlor, R Bergin 0-1. Derry: C O'Doherty 0-3; C Steele, D Cartin, C Reilly, B Laverty 0-1.

Kilkenny - D Brennan 7; M Cody 8, C Delaney 7, N McMahon 8; D Mullen 7, J Cleere 6, T Walsh 7; L Scanlon 8, H Lawlor 8; B Ryan 7, S Morrissey 7, R Leahy 8; S Walsh 9, J Donnelly 9, L Blanchfield 7. Subs: J Walsh 8 for Ryan (21), A Nolan 7 for Cleere (23), E Kenny 8 for Morrissey (h-t), A Murphy 8 for Leahy (h-t), R Bergin 7 for T Walsh (48).

Derry - F McEldowney 5; C Kelly 6, S McGuigan 6, S Higgins 5; E McGill 5, R McCartney 6, P Turner 5; C Steele 7, C McAllister 6; T Magee 5, C O'Doherty 8, G Farren 6; D Cartin 5, O McKeever 5, C Reilly 6. Subs: B Laverty 7 for Magee (h-t), P Burke 6 for Farren (h-t), C McCrystal 5 for McEldowney (38), S McKeever 5 for Turner (43), S F Quinn 5 for McGuigan (53).

Ref - J O'Brien (Laois)

Irish Independent

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