Fintan O’Toole reports from Croke Park
KILKENNY’S CLASS SHONE through again today in Croke Park as a phenomenal second-half display won out against Galway to claim the Liam MacCarthy Cup.
Trailing 0-14 to 1-8 at the break, Kilkenny took over in the second-half and once they hit the front in the 47th minute, they never looked back.
Brian Cody’s side dominated the game thereafter to retain their title and a late Joe Canning goal from a 20-yard free was merely a consolation score for the Tribesmen.
The game unfolded in a different fashion in the opening period as Galway took the fight to Kilkenny. They settled well to go 0-4 to 0-2 clear in the 9th minute and fill their fans with hope.
However Kilkenny pounced for a goal in the 13th minute, TJ Reid rattling the net after being placed in space by Walter Walsh. A Reid free moments later left the Cats ahead 1-4 to 0-5 but it didn’t prove a setback for Galway as they pushed forward again.
Canning, Jason Flynn and Conor Whelan all weighed in with some memorable points and they enjoyed a four-point advantage at one stage – 0-12 to 1-5 by the 27th minute.
Kilkenny rallied before the interval yet Canning had the final say of the half as his fine point created a three-point lead for Galway.
Brian Cody’s side emerged a different proposition in the second-half. They quickly wiped out Galway’s lead to draw level at 1-11 to 0-14. David Collins banged over a point form distance to restore Galway’s lead but Kilkenny reeled off six of the game’s next seven points.
Trailing by 1-17 to 0-16 at the midway mark of the second-half, the signs looked ominous for Galway. Collins second point cut the gap to three but Canning missed a free at a vital stage.
From there Kilkenny closed out the game in a clinical fashion with Colin Fennelly (2), Padraig Walsh, Michael Fennelly and Walter Walsh all raising white flags.
Canning’s late shot to the net brought some joy for Galway but it wasn’t going to alter this outcome. Kilkenny, champions once more.
Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 1-7 (0-4f, 0-2 ’65), Ger Aylward 0-3, Richie Hogan, Walter Walsh, Michael Fennelly, Colin Fennelly, Eoin Larkin 0-2 each, Padraig Walsh, Conor Fogarty 0-1 each.
Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 1-8 (1-5f), Jason Flynn 0-4 (0-3f), Conor Whelan, David Collins 0-2 each, David Burke, Cyril Donnellan 0-1 each.
1. Eoin Murphy (Glenmore)
2. Paul Murphy (Danesfort)
3. Joey Holden (captain, Ballyhale Shamrocks)
4. Shane Prendergast (Clara)
5. Pádraig Walsh (Tullaroan)
6. Kieran Joyce Rower (Inistioge)
7. Cillian Buckley (Dicksboro)
8. Michael Fennelly (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
9. Conor Fogarty (Erins Own)
14. Colin Fennelly (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
11. Richie Hogan (Danesfort)
12. TJ Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
13. Ger Aylward (Glenmore)
10. Walter Walsh (Tullogher Rosbercon)
15. Eoin Larkin (James Stephens)
24. Richie Power (Carrickshock) for Hogan (60)
23. John Power (Carrickshock) for Aylward (62)
1. Colm Callanan (Kinvara)
4. Padraig Mannion (Ahascragh-Fohenagh)
3. John Hanbury (Rahoon-Newcastle)
2. Johnny Coen (Loughrea)
6. Iarla Tannian (Ardrahan)
7. Daithi Burke (Turloughmore)
5. Aidan Harte (Gort)
8. Andrew Smith (Portumna)
9. David Burke (St Thomas’s)
13. Jason Flynn (Tommy Larkins)
11. Cyril Donnellan (Padraig Pearses)
12. Jonathan Glynn (Ardrahan)
10. Conor Whelan (Kinvara)
14. Joe Canning (Portumna)
15. Cathal Mannion (Ahascragh-Fohenagh)
22. David Collins (Liam Mellowes) for Harte (24)
21. Conor Cooney (St Thomas) for Smith (56)
20. Greg Lally (Gort) for Donnellan (64)
23. Shane Moloney (Tynagh-Abbey-Duniry) for Flynn (65)
Referee: James Owens (Wexford)