Galway's Aaron Niland celebrates his goal. Eamonn McGee/INPHO
Final Four

Clare and Galway power through to set up minor hurling showpiece

Cork couldn’t contain Aaron Niland, who struck 1-11, while Kilkenny fell short against Banner.
All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship semi-finals

Stephen Barry reports from FBD Semple Stadium

CLARE’S FOURTH ALL-Ireland minor hurling final will be a re-run of their only win, with the Banner and Galway winning through to make it a battle of neighbours at Semple Stadium on Sunday fortnight.

A sixth consecutive double-digits win elevated Galway into the final, powered by 1-11 from Aaron Niland.

Cork gave them their toughest challenge all year as Barry O’Flynn (1-2) put a first goal past Galway keeper Shane Murray in almost five hours of hurling.

But the Westerners were never rattled and closed it out with a goal from substitute Harry Holmes (1-1).

The first half was nip and tuck, with more wides than scores in the first quarter.

Points from Barry Walsh (0-5), Jayden Casey, Finn O’Brien, and O’Flynn had Cork a point ahead after 16 minutes but Galway outscored them by 2-5 to 0-1 from there to the break.

Jason Rabbitte (1-1) drifted inside and after initially falling to the ground, he found his feet to collect Seán Murphy’s delivery and produced a dizzying turn to allow the finish.

And after a Ben Walsh pointed response, Niland picked up on a loose ball, stepped away from two pursuers, and rifled a bullet to the far corner.

ciallin-brennan-under-pressure-from-ronan-keane Kilkenny's Ciallín Brennan (right) under pressure from Clare defender Ronan Keane. Eamonn McGee / INPHO Eamonn McGee / INPHO / INPHO

Three more points padded their half-time lead out to nine, 2-8 to 0-5.

Cork had their breakthrough goal in the 39th minute. Barry Walsh charged through two tacklers before offloading to O’Brien. His initial shot was blocked on the line by Thomas Blake but O’Flynn followed in to finish.

The deficit was suddenly just three, 2-9 to 1-9, but Galway would outscore the Rebels by 1-9 to 0-1 to the finish.

A HawkEye point by Colm Burke, and the break in arbitrating on it, settled the Tribesmen as they clipped the next 1-4, culminating in a goal from Holmes.

The other semi-final was defined by a red card for Kilkenny full-forward Ed McDermott in the eighth minute.

Kilkenny had a couple of similar challenges highlighted following their Leinster final loss to Galway and while there was mitigation here in Eoin Gunning dipping to shake off a tackle, the shoulder-to-head contact was clear enough to make up referee Kevin Jordan’s mind.

The Munster champions won the second half by 0-12 to 0-5 as their opponents, despite going 50 minutes before hitting their first wide, couldn’t match Clare’s volume of shots.

Ronan Kilroy was all over the park, assisting six Banner points and scoring two more, while centre-back James Hegarty knocked over 0-6, including five long-range placed balls.

Free-takers Conor Doyle and Greg Kelly led the way for the Cats with 0-5 each.

Clare captain Gunning manned the free role and although Kilkenny worked the wings, he was central in back-to-back points to help Clare into a 0-11 to 0-10 halfway lead.

More fine work from Gunning set up a 39th-minute goal chance for Ógie Fanning but Billy O’Sullivan made the save.

By then, Clare were already midway through a five-point streak as they stretched away for victory.


  • Galway 3-18 Cork 1-10
  • Clare 0-23 Kilkenny 0-15
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