Declan Rooney reports from Croke Park
GALWAY CLAIMED A third All-Ireland minor title in four years as ten points from Donal O’Shea and a strong second half showing from Jeffrey Lynskey’s side saw them overtake Kilkenny for victory.
Despite trailing by four points early on Galway recovered well and with Diarmuid Kilcommins and Dean Reilly impressing in the second period they eventually ran out deserving winners in Croke Park.
Considering they have been so convincing in their three games to date it was a surprise to see Galway dominated in the opening stages. Only 20 seconds had elapsed when wing-back Darragh Maher roamed forward for a point, while Conor Kelly’s first of four first-half frees doubled their lead in the fourth minute.
Kilkenny’s bright start was aided by their form under the Galway puck-out and Ciarán Brennan robbed a Patrick Rabbitte clearance to put Kilkenny 0-3 to 0-0 ahead, before he slotted a sideline cut in the sixth minute following another stray Galway restart.
All was not rosy in that period though as Kilkenny should have been even further ahead. They stuck four wides in the first five minutes – and eight by the interval – which allowed Galway to stay in the game.
Galway finally got the ball into their dangerous full-forward line in the seventh minute and a pull on Niall Collins by Padraig Dempsey resulted in a penalty, which flew over the bar off the stick of Donal O’Shea.
Coming into the final O’Shea had been Galway’s top scorer with 1-27 and after nine minute he found a yard of space to fire his second of the game and he repeated the dose a minute later with a good point from distance.
Galway were well and truly settled at that juncture and further scores from both Oisín Flannerys and an O’Shea free saw them take the lead by the 12thminute.
The worry for Kilkenny was that they found themselves in arrears after such dominance early on, but Cian Kenny pointed for them before Jack Buggy slotted a second sideline cut of the half by his team and Kenny’s frees saw them into a 0-9 to 0-7 lead five minutes from the break.
O’Shea was off target with a routine free for Galway, but he hit two scores before half-time, including a huge free from his own half in injury-time as his side trailed by 0-10 to 0-9.
Kilkenny were fast out of the blocks in the second half when Kenny points after ten seconds, and despite a free moments later from Kelly, Galway soon took over.
Diarmuid Kilcommins landed a great score from the right to split those two Kilkenny points, and Galway then kicked on with four points without reply – including Kilcommins’ brilliant second from the sideline – to move 0-14 to 0-12 clear.
A Kelly free halted Galway momentarily but the Tribesmen’s progress, but with his bench making an impact, Lynskey’s side made further inroads with scores from Evan Duggan, Dean Reilly and Sean McDonagh and they ran out convincing winners in the end.
Scorers for Galway: Donal O’Shea 0-10 (0-6f, 0-1 pen, 1 65), Dean Reilly 0-3, D Kilcommins 0-2, Sean McDonagh 0-2, O Flannery (St Thomas) 0-1, O Flannery (Pearses) 0-1, Evan Duggan 0-1, Colm Cunningham 0-1.
Scorers for Kilkenny: C Kelly 0-7 (0-7f), C Kenny 0-2, D Maher 0-2, C Brennan 0-2 (1 sl), J Buggy 0-1 (1 sl).
1 Patrick Rabbitte (Athenry)
2 Michael Flynn (Ballygar)
3 Shane Jennings (Ballinasloe)
4 Oisin Salmon (Clarinbridge)
5 Shane Quirke (Athenry)
6 Séan Neary (Castlegar) (captain)
7 Evan Duggan (St Thomas)
8 Jason O’Donoghue (Gort)
9 Oisín Flannery (St Thomas)
10 Diarmuid Kilcommins (Annaghdown)
11 Oisin Flannery (Padraig Pearses)
12 Adam Brett (Killimordaly)
15 Dean Reilly (Pádraig Pearses)
14 Donal O’Shea (Salthill/Knocknacarra)
13 Niall Collins (Cappataggle)
19 Colm Cunningham (Maigh Cuillin) for O’Donoghue (33)
22 Connell Keane (Beagh) for Brett (34)
24 Sean McDonagh (Mountbellew/Moylough) for Flannery (Pearses) (41)
17 Ian McGlynn (Kilconieron) for Flannery (St Thomas) (45)
23 Keelan Creaven (Sylane) for Collins (49)
1 Jason Brennan (Young Irelands)
2 Pádraig Dempsey (Mullinavat)
3 Jamie Young (O’Loughlin Gaels)
4 Dylan Crehan (Dunnamaggin)
5 Darragh Maher(St Lachtains)
6 Shane Staunton (Clara)
7 Jamie Harkin (Bennettsbridge)
8 Conor Kelly(O’Loughlin Gaels)
9 Cian Kenny(James Stephens)
10 Ciarán Brennan (Bennettsbridge)
11 Jack Buggy (Erins Own)
12 George Murphy (Rower Inistioge)
13 Cathal O’Leary (St Lachtain’s)
14 Jack Morrissey (St Patrick’s)
15 Killian Hogan (Mooncoin)
19 Eoin Guilfoyle (James Stephens) for O’Leary (41)
17 Pádraic Moylan (Dicksboro) for Buggy (43)
24 Jack Doyle for Murphy (52)
21 Killian Rudkins (Barrow Rangers) for Hogan (57)
18 Dan Coogan (Erin’s Own) for Morrissey (62)
Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick).
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