Sunday 17 December 2017

Kilkenny qualify for league semi-final with thrilling win over Cork

J.J. Delaney, Kilkenny, in action against Luke Farrell, Cork.
J.J. Delaney, Kilkenny, in action against Luke Farrell, Cork.
Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

KILKENNY qualified for the league semi-finals and condemned Cork to the relegation playoffs with a 0-20 to 2-12 victory at Nowlan Park.

Kilkenny will face Anthony Cunningham's Galway in a repeat of the All-Ireland final in the semis.

Paudie O'Sullivan had a great chance to give Cork a great start but Eoin Murphy stopped his goal-bound effort Conor Lehane opened the scoring with a fine run and score for the Rebels and Patrick Horgan doubled their early advantage.

Eoin Larkin pulled back a brace of free for the Cats free but Paudie O'Sullivan and Stephen Moylan hit back for Jimmy Barry-Murphy's men.

Another Larkin free cut Cork's lead to one but Conor Lehane immediately responded with points from play from Lehane, Moylan and Daniel Kearney.

Eoin Larkin and Lester Ryan struck for the Cats to cut the Rebels advantage before Murphy pulled off another good save.

Colin Fennelly was fouled in the area as the first half drew to a close but Richie Hogan's penalty was stopped by Anthony Nash.

Points from Larkin and Fennelly saw Kilkenny finish the half strongly and the teams were level at seven points apiece.

Richie Hogan opened the scoring in the second half to push the Cats a point in front but Paudie O'Sullivan cancelled it out within minutes.

Larkin helped the Cats retake the lead but the lead changed hands as Pat Horgan put the Rebels 0-10 to 0-9 in front.

A fine solo effort from Hogan restored parity as the second began a a furious pace and another Larkin free put Cody's men one up.

The lead changed hands again as Stephen Moylan set up Luke Farrell blasted a goal and then he added another point to make it 1-11 to 0-11.

Kilkenny substitute Richie Power pulled one back and Colin Fennelly and Richie Hogan added to it to make it a draw game.

Fennelly then drove at the heart of the Cork defence and put the Cats back in the ascendancy and was then hauled down as Kilkenny earned second penalty and Power hit it over the bar.

Pat Horgan hit his third point of the game to make it a one-point game again with minutes remaining but Power responded.

Richie Hogan added another and put three between the sides and Fennelly completed a fine individual performance with another white flag.

Kilkenny seemed to be strolling to victory until Conor Lehane blasted to the net from an acute angle to put one between the sides but Michael Fennelly pointed with the last puck and the Cats held on.

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