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Kilkenny's Richie Reid lifts the cup.
Kilkenny's Richie Reid lifts the cup.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Kilkenny outfight Galway and storm to Leinster three-in-a-row

TJ Reid’s 12 points drove the Cats to victory.
Jun 4th 2022, 9:03 PM 45,508 44

Kilkenny 0-22

Galway 0-17

KILKENNY DO WHAT Kilkenny do.

The Cats outbattled Galway to completed the Leinster SHC three-in-a-row and lifted the Bob O’Keeffe Cup for the 74th time in their history.

It was the 18th provincial title they’ve won under Brian Cody, who shared a brief handshake with his opposite number Henry Shefflin on the field afterwards.

Shefflin was the one who made the move and as he walked away looked unhappy that his former manager didn’t initiate it.

Having lost to Galway and Wexford in the round robin phase, the Cats limped into this final by virtue of their superior scoring difference. They became the first team to lose a game and go on to win the Leinster championship. They did so in typical Kilkenny fashion.

This was an angry, determined performance from Cody’s side. One that had been lacking from them in recent weeks.

brian-cody-and-henry-shefflin-after-the-game Brian Cody and Henry Shefflin of Galway shake hands after the game. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

They were a different animal here compared with Salthill five weeks ago. Kilkenny outfought and outworked the Tribesmen and crucially, took the chances when they presented themselves. 

They lived on their nerve at stages and were fortunate that Galway missed a number of goal chances. Credit must go to Eoin Murphy for several outstanding saves, the majority of them arriving in the first period.

After scoring 1-10 in each of the last two Leinster finals, TJ Reid found his feet from frees fired over 0-12. He made some glorious fetches over Daithi Burke and Padraig Mannion over the course of the game. 

Having struggled with injury for much of this year, it was his best display of the season for Kilkenny. 

Galway went through the round robin phase unbeaten and they’ll feel they’ve missed a big opportunity to make a statement here. They were under par and well below the high standards set in previous games. 

It was a stop-start game with almost half of the scores arriving from frees and neither side really got into their flow.

Outside of Conor Whelan, who shot four from play, and brief moments of quality from Cianan Fahy, the rest of the Galway attack struggled for rhythm. 

Brian Cody went with yet another midfield combination, this time pairing Conor Fogarty with Cian Kenny. Fogarty certainly added a lot in the war zone, though Kenny found himself replaced at half-time.

Kilkenny could call upon the experience of Padraig Walsh and Walter Walsh during the final quarter.

Galway went with a dangerous two-man full-forward line of Whelan and Brian Concannon as Cathal Mannion played a roaming roll from the corner. He was tightly marked by Mikey Butler and saw little joy over the 70 minutes. 

conor-whelan-and-huw-lawlor Galway's Conor Whelan and Huw Lawlor of Kilkenny. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Interestingly Galway won the toss and opted to play against the stiff breeze.

As expected after the defeat to Wexford a fortnight ago, Kilkenny brought plenty of fight in the first period. Seven of their 11 first-half points arrived from turnovers, which said a lot about their aggression in the tackle. 

They raced into an early 0-4 to 0-1 lead.

Adrian Mullen, lining out at centre-field, drifted across into pockets of space and rifled over a pair of important scores. Conor Cooney’s excellence on the placed ball kept Galway in touch. He stroked over a delightful sideline cut that the previous incumbent of the number 11 jersey, Joe Canning, did with regularity during his career.

The story of the opening 35 minutes was Galway’s missed goal chances. Much of that was down to Eoin Murphy’s excellence in goals. Joseph Cooney raced through and saw his kicked effort denied by the stopper.

Then Conor Cooney’s pass into Concannon looked certain to raise the green flag but was saved brilliantly by Murphy. Conor Whelan unleashed a shot at the near post that the net minder deflected wide.

jack-grealish-and-eoin-cody Galway's Jack Grealish and Eoin Cody of Kilkenny. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Galway fought their way back into the game but were lucky that James Owens didn’t stop a stamp from Cianan Fahy on Richie Reid. 

Three scores in quick succession left Kilkenny four clear as the break approached. A brace from Conor Cooney ensured Galway’s deficit was two, with the wind to come in the second period.

Conor Whelan started the second-half with plenty of bite and stroked over a pair of scores. Kilkenny always seemed able to keep their opponents within arm’s length.  

Galway went close to another goal after a Cooney effort struck the post. It dropped to Whelan who drilled at goal only for Murphy to turn it out for a 65 that Cooney converted.

Cianan Fahy bulldozed his way through for a score, but TJ Reid was imperious from frees and took his tally to 0-11 as the game ticked into the final 10 minutes. 

A couple of Cooney frees was all Galway could muster in the closing stages. Padraig Walsh and Mullen tagged on late scores to put the icing on the cake. 

Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 0-12 (0-11f, 0-1 65), Adrian Mullen 0-4, Paddy Deegan 0-2, Billy Ryan, Martin Keoghan, Richie Leahy and Padraig Walsh 0-1 each.

Scorers for Galway: Conor Cooney 0-9 (0-5f, 0-2 65, 0-1 sideline), Conor Whelan 0-4, Cianan Fahy 0-2, Fintan Burke and Padraic Mannion (0-1f).

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),

8. Conor Fogarty (Erins Own), 13. Cian Kenny (James Stephens)

10. Billy Ryan (Graigue-Ballycallan), 9. Adrian Mullen (Ballyhale Shamrocks), 12. Richie Leahy (Rower Instioge)

14. Martin Keoghan (Tullaroan), 11. TJ Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks), 15. Eoin Cody (Ballyhale Shamrocks)

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Subs

23. Walter Walsh (Tullogher Rosbercon) for Ryan (blood sub, 27-29)

17. Conor Delaney (Erin’s Own) for Butler (blood sub, 29-ht)

19. Conor Browne (James Stephens) for Kenny (ht)

23. Walsh for Leahy (45)

24. Padraig Walsh (Tullaroan) for Ryan (53)

25. John Donnelly (Thomastown) for Keoghan (60)

Galway 

1. Éanna Murphy (Tommy Larkins)

4. Darren Morrissey (Sarsfields),  3. Daithí Burke (Turloughmore), 2. Jack Grealish (Gort)

5. Padraic Mannion (Ahascragh Fohenagh), 6. Gearóid McInerney (Oranmore Maree), 7. Fintan Burke (St Thomas’),

10. Tom Monaghan (Craughwell), 21. Johnny Coen (Loughrea)

14. Cianan Fahy (Ardrahan), 11. Conor Cooney (St Thomas’), 8. Joseph Cooney (Sarsfields)

12. Cathal Mannion (Ahascragh Fohenagh), 13. Conor Whelan (Kinvara), , 15. Brian Concannon (Kilmordaly) 

Subs

25. Jason Flynn (Tommy Larkins) for Monaghan (44)

20. Ronan Glennon (Mullagh) for Fahy (54)

9. David Burke (St Thomas’) for Coen (60)

23. Gavin Lee (Clarinbridge) for Concannon (70)

Referee: James Owens (Wexford).

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Kevin O'Brien

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