Sport Hurling

Friday 23 February 2018

Guinan shows a touch of class to keep Kilkenny on treble trail

Kilkenny had a third team qualify for an All-Ireland final when their intermediate hurlers made light work of the disappointing challenge of Galway in this clash in bright Tullamore on Saturday.

Galway began to lose touch approaching the break and when they conceded four points against one reply during the opening six minutes of the second half, the game began to run away from them.

Galway gave as good as they got during the opening quarter and, with Brian Murphy deadly accurate from frees, they looked lively enough when sharing equally in the opening eight points.

Kilkenny, whose senior and minor sides have qualified for their respective deciders, hit the front again in the 19th minute with a fine point from Bill Beckett (0-5 to 0-4). Senior panelist Paddy Hogan added a score from a long-range free before another senior panelist, Eoin Guinan, landed another point to leave the losers three down.

Kilkenny began to take command and went in ahead at the break by 0-10 to 0-6 after some good hurling by Guinan, Niall Doherty, Richie Dollard and Paul Murphy.

The losers opened the second-half scoring with a pointed free from Murphy. During the minutes that followed, however, they were hit for minors by the impressive Guinan (free), Niall Walsh, Beckett and Nickey Cleere and suddenly the difference shot up to double scores, 0-14 to 0-7.

It was virtually all Kilkenny from there to the finish to seal a place in the final against Munster champions Cork, to whom they lost the All-Ireland final last season, in two weeks' time.

Scorers -- Kilkenny: E Guinan 0-11 (0-4f), B Beckett 0-4, R Dollard, N Cleere, P Hogan (0-2f) 0-2 each, P Hartley, N Walsh, N Doherty 0-1 each. Galway: B Murphy 0-6 (0-4f, 0-1 '65'), M Coughlan, G McInerney, A Carey, J Regan 0-1 each.

Kilkenny -- L Tierney; M Phelan, P Murphy, K Mooney; R Cody, P Hogan, N Doherty; P Hartley, N Walsh; B Beckett, R Dollard, N Cleere; M Grace, P Cleere, E Guinan. Subs: A Healy for P Cleere (38), J Cotterell for R Cody (47), B Lennon for N Cleere (49), N Doherty for M Grace (51), I Duggan for M Phelan (53).

Galway -- N Murray; K Hardiman, B Lohan, P Shiel; C Coen, E Duane, P Burke; J Gilsen, D Africano; M Coughlan, G McInerney, B Murphy; S Lambert, G Sheedy, M Dolan. Subs: R O'Brien for K Hardiman (inj, 15), A Carey for G Sheedy (h/t), J Regan for Africano (37), D Geraghty for M Dolan (42), R Madden for M Coughlan (49).

Ref -- D O'Driscoll (Limerick).

Irish Independent

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