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McDonagh hits 2-8 as Galway complete All-Ireland minor three-in-a-row

Galway were far too strong for Kilkenny in today’s Croke Park curtain-raiser.

Galway's Seán McDonagh with Kilkenny's Zach Bay Hammond.
Galway's Seán McDonagh with Kilkenny's Zach Bay Hammond.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Galway 3-14
Kilkenny 0-12

A FAMILIAR TALE unfolded on All-Ireland minor hurling final day, Galway reigning supreme as they secured the plaudits and silverware.

The 2019 triumph was secured to accompany the previous successes in 2017 and 2018. For the first time the county completed a three-in-a-row at this grade.

And that notable feat was achieved with a degree of comfort and style in Croke Park today. Galway had 11 points to spare over Kilkenny at the final whistle and Brian Hanley’s side were hugely impressive in the manner in which they accelerated clear after half-time.

Centre-forward Seán McDonagh pointed the way as he has throughout Galway’s campaign. The Mountbellew-Moylough player finished with 2-8 to his credit while he was aided up front by impressive attacking showings from Ruben Davitt and Greg Thomas.

Galway chalked up 14 wides but that statistic did not alter the outcome as they took control in the second half. Their defence was formidable throughout, giving them a base to build on with wing-back John Cooney and full-back Eoin Lawless particularly impressive.

The tale of the first half revolved around the two goals Galway put on the board. The opening one provided an early platform, corner-forward Davitt darting onto a long delivery and finishing skilfully to the net in the 8th minute.

Kilkenny spent much of the opening period trying to overcome that setback only to be hit by the concession of a second goal on the cusp of half-time. Thomas was the player fouled and McDonagh stepped up to the subsequent penalty to drill home his strike.

That left Galway in possession of a 2-6 to 0-7 advantage, Kilkenny reliant on the inputs of Billy Drennan (0-4) and Colman O’Sullivan (0-2) to sustain their challenge in the first half. They only scored two points in the first quarter but their shooting improved noticeably after that and Kilkenny grew in confidence with those forwards providing leadership.

But the concession of that second goal rocked Kilkenny and Galway emerged powerfully in the second half as they reeled off five points without reply – McDonagh (3), Davitt and Thomas – inside the opening 12 minutes.

Kilkenny tried to fight back, Peter McDonald and Liam Moore chipped in to cut the deficit to eight points, 2-12 to 0-10, as they match moved into the final quarter. 

Then Galway’s third goal arrived and it was the strike that sealed the deal. McDonagh blasted a fierce shot to the net in front of Hill 16 with the goal created by a superb defence-splitting hand pass from Thomas. From there Galway closed out the match successfully.

Scorers for Galway: Seán McDonagh 2-8 (0-6f, 0-1 ’65, 1-0 pen), Ruben Davitt 1-2, Tiernan Killeen 0-2, Alex Connaire, Greg Thomas 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kilkenny: Billy Drennan 0-6 (0-5f), Colman O’Sullivan 0-2, Peter McDonald, Liam Moore, Timmy Clifford, Braedon Wheeler 0-1 each.

Galway

1. Michael Egan (Cappataggle)

4. Adam Nolan (Kilnadeema Leitrim)
3. Eoin Lawless (Athenry)
2. Christy Brennan (Clarinbridge)

7. John Cooney (Sarsfields)
6. Ian McGlynn (Kilconieron – captain)
5. Enda Collins (Carnmore)

8. Liam Leen (Clarinbridge)
9. Alex Connaire (Sarsfields)

12. Tiernan Killeen (Loughrea)
11. Seán McDonagh (Mountbellew-Moylough)
10. Colm Cunningham (Moycullen)

15. Greg Thomas (Ballygar)
14. Shane Morgan (Loughrea)
13. Ruben Davitt (Oranmore-Maree)

Subs

18. Gavin Lee (Clarinbridge) for Cunningham (46)
17. Seán O’Hanlon (Turloughmore) for Morgan (51)
19. Éanna Davoren (Moycullen) for Collins (55)
22. Colm Molloy (Kilnadeema-Leitrim) for Davitt (60)
23. Niall Glynn (Ahascragh-Fohenagh) for Thomas (61) 

Kilkenny

1. Aidan Tallis (Lisdowney)

2. Billy Reid (Glenmore)
3. William Halpin (Slieverue)
4. Tristan Roche (St Martins)

5. Peter McDonald (Thomastown)
6. Pádraic Moylan (Dicksboro)
7. Zach Bay Hammond (Thomastown)

8. Liam Moore (Dicksboro)
9. James Aylward (Mooncoin – captain)

10. Pierce Blanchfield (Graiguenamanagh)
11. Timmy Clifford (Dicksboro)
12. Colman O’Sullivan (Tullogher Rosbercon)

13. Billy Drennan (Galmoy)
14. Jack Doyle (Windgap) 
15. Ian Byrne (Glenmore)

Subs

18. Denis Walsh (Dunnamaggin) for Blanchfield (39)
17. Andy Hickey (Dunnamaggin) for Aylward (44)
19. Braedon Wheeler (Piltown) for Byrne (52)
20. Aran Murphy (Dicksboro) for Drennan (59)

Referee: Patrick Murphy (Carlow)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Croke Park

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