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Dominant Kilkenny hammer Clare to book place in All-Ireland senior final

39.626 was the attendance in Croke Park.

Kilkenny 2-26

Clare 0-20

THIS TIME THERE was to be no semi-final mistake made by Kilkenny.

paddy-deegan-with-david-reidy Paddy Deegan with David Reidy. Source: Evan Treacy/INPHO

The last four stage has been one where Kilkenny have faltered for the past two seasons but there was no such slippage this evening in Croke Park. Instead they delivered a masterclass that saw them power past Clare to reach the All-Ireland final on 17 July.

Goals either side of half-time from Martin Keoghan and Cian Kenny paved the way for Brian Cody to take his team to the senior hurling decider for the 17th time. Keoghan’s finish at the second attempt after Eibhear Quilligan’s initial block, had a critical look to it just before the break. It was the last score of the first half, occurred moments after Peter Duggan had been halted in his efforts to find the net and ensured Kilkenny retreated at the break with a handsome lead, 1-17 to 0-6.

ian-galvin-with-tommy-walsh Clare's Ian Galvin with Kilkenny's Tommy Walsh. Source: Evan Treacy/INPHO

The contest was essentially over by that midway mark. Kilkenny’s position was unassailable, the second green flag raised eight minutes into the second half when Walter Walsh brought down a puckout and played in Cian Kenny, the James Stephens man charging through the gap in the Clare defence and finishing clinically to the net.

The Ballyhale influence in their attack shone through with TJ Reid amassing 0-10 in a man-of-the-match showing, Adrian Mullen sparkling with 0-5 and Eoin Cody posted a tally of 0-3.

The game was a major letdown for Clare. Their form collapsed from an early stage as the Munster finalists found themselves chasing Kilkenny. Defensive lynchpin John Conlon was a late withdrawal through injury, Paidi Fitzpatrick brought in to start. Clare attacking stars Tony Kelly and Peter Duggan both failed to score from play, with O’Loughlin Gaels youngster Mikey Butler producing a terrific display in quietening Kelly.

Clare began in a bright fashion with a couple of early points, Shane O’Donnell dancing clear for a 4th minute score that edged them 0-2 to 0-1 ahead. But Kilkenny hit back with five unanswered points to establish real daylight between the teams. The scoring surges continued in the first half, six points on the spin between the 23rd and 30th minutes.

It took a superb save from Qulligan to tip away a goalbound Cody shot a half hour in, Billy Ryan popping the rebound over the bar. Kilkenny set the net dancing in front of Hill 16 soon after, Clare forced into damage limitation as they stared at that 14-point interval deficit.

adrian-mullen-with-diarmuid-ryan Kilkenny's Adrian Mullen with Clare's Diarmuid Ryan. Source: Evan Treacy/INPHO

Clare’s shooting betrayed their approach work throughout the game. They amassed a staggering 23 wides, hit the post with another effort, dropped a bunch of shots short and Eoin Murphy denied David Fitzgerald a goal with a fine reaction save in the finale. Their points tally improved noticeably in the second half as they raised 14 white flags but ten points was as close as they got on the scoreboard to their opponents.

Shane O’Donnell, Diarmuid Ryan and Fitzgerald tried to ignite their scoring charge, while David McInerney was outstanding at the back in the second half. But a comeback never truly looked on after Kenny’s second goal.

Richie Reid, Huw Lawlor and Paddy Deegan anchored the defence, along with the impressive Butler, while TJ Reid popped over a couple of stylish points from play in the closing stages.

The Leinster champions push forward with a final date against Limerick or Galway now beckoning them.

Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 0-10 (0-7f), Adrian Mullen 0-5, Cian Kenny 1-2, Eoin Cody 0-3, Martin Keoghan 1-0, Pádraig Walsh 0-2, Billy Ryan 0-2, Conor Browne 0-1, Walter Walsh 0-1.

Scorers for Clare: Shane O’Donnell 0-4, Tony Kelly 0-4 (0-3f, 0-1 ’65), Diarmuid Ryan 0-3, David Fitzgerald 0-3, Mark Rodgers 0-2, David McInerney 0-1, Peter Duggan 0-1 (0-1f), Ryan Taylor 0-1, Rory Hayes 0-1 each.

Kilkenny

1. Eoin Murphy (Glenmore)

4. Tommy Walsh (Tullaroan),3. Huw Lawlor (O’Loughlin Gaels), 2. Mikey Butler (O’Loughlin Gaels),

5. Michael Carey (Young Irelands), 6. Richie Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks – captain), 6. Paddy Deegan (O’Loughlin Gaels),

9. Conor Browne (James Stephens), 15. Cian Kenny (James Stephens)

12. TJ Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks), 11. Padraig Walsh (Tullaroan), 13. Billy Ryan (Graigue-Ballycallan),

8. Adrian Mullen (Ballyhale Shamrocks), 14. Martin Keoghan (Tullaroan), 10. Eoin Cody (Ballyhale Shamrocks)

Subs

23. Walter Walsh (Tullogher-Rosbercon) for Keoghan (half-time)

24. John Donnelly (Thomastown) for Walsh (49)

25. Richie Leahy (Rower-Inistioge) for Browne (61)

22. Alan Murphy (Glenmore) for Ryan (66)

18. David Blanchfield (Bennettsbridge) for Carey (72)

Clare

1. Eibhear Quilligan (Feakle)

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2. Rory Hayes (Shannon Wolfe Tones), 3. Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown), 4. Paul Flanagan (Ballyea)

5. Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe), 7. David McInerney (Tulla), 17. Paidi Fitzpatrick (Sixmilebridge)

10. Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge), 15. Ryan Taylor (Clooney/Quin)

12. Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg Ennis), 8. David Fitzgerald (Inagh/Kilnamona), 11. Tony Kelly (Ballyea)

9. David Reidy (Éire Óg Ennis), 13. Ian Galvin (Clonlara), 14. Peter Duggan (Clooney Quin)

Subs

18. Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones) for Galvin (26)

26. Mark Rodgers (Scarriff) for Reidy (half-time)

23. Cian Nolan (Smith O’Briens) for Fitzpatrick (half-time)

19. Shane Meehan (Banner) for Duggan (51)

21. Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge) for Taylor (65)

Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Croke Park

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