Tuesday 23 January 2018

Waterford trapped in goal drought as Kilkenny's flow drops too

Ger Aylward. Photo: Sportsfile
Ger Aylward. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Goal-shyness has become an accepted part of Waterford's game over two seasons but, surprisingly, it now appears to have spread to Kilkenny.

Long regarded as masters of the goal-scoring art, Kilkenny have managed just one in each of their last six Championship games against Waterford, Galway, Dublin, Galway (twice) and Waterford last year.

It's a huge drop from the five goals they hit against Wexford in last year's Leinster semi-final, when Ger Aylward, who is out of action with a knee injury this season, scored a hat-trick.

Despite the decrease in their goal yield over their last six games, Kilkenny won five and drawn one, underlining their ability to improvise as required.

The goal-a-game return is a drop of 1.6 on the 2014 championship, 1.5 down on 2012 and 1.3 down on 2011 and 2010.

Read more: Mind games

Kilkenny's worst year for goals in recent times was 2013 when they managed only two in six Championship games. Unsurprisingly, they lost twice and drew once. Jonjo Farrell (2) and TJ Reid have scored their three goals in this year's campaign.

Waterford have found goals even harder to come by, having scored only one (Maurice Shanahan v Clare in the Munster semi-final) in the current campaign.

Since then, they have drawn blanks against Tipperary, Wexford and Kilkenny, but still managed to win twice.

Waterford also failed to score a goal against Kilkenny in last year's All-Ireland semi-final or against Tipperary in the Munster final.

The last time they scored two goals in a Championship game was against Dublin in the All-Ireland quarter-final 13 months ago having earlier hit Cork for three in the Munster semi-final.

Galway and Tipperary have been more prolific. Tipperary have scored eight goals in their last two games, split between John McGrath, Michael Breen (three each) and Seamus Callanan (two).

Galway have scored seven goals in four games, although it must be noted that five of them came against Westmeath and Offaly, both of whom are outside the top eight.

They were held goalless by Kilkenny in the Leinster final and by Tipperary in last year's All-Ireland semi-final, although they still managed to win the latter.

Irish Independent

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