Croke Park played host to the provincial decider.
Hello and welcome along to our live coverage of the 2018 Leinster senior hurling championship final between Galway and Kilkenny in Croke Park.
This should be a real cracker on a sunny Sunday afternoon — can Galway make it two in-a-row and retain their provincial crown for the first time, or will Kilkenny turn the tables?
The action gets underway at 4pm (live on RTÉ One) and we’ll have team news shortly.
The teams have arrived, the fans are arriving and atmosphere is building ahead of the showpiece at HQ.
Brian Cody has made five changes to his Cats side, with Richie Hogan and Colin Fennelly both held in reserve on the bench while Billy Ryan makes his championship debut at corner forward.
Reigning Leinster and All-Ireland champions Galway meanwhile have made some changes of their own, with Joe Canning returning to the thick of the action.
Below is how they’re named to start but we’ll have any late changes.
1. James Skehill (Cappataggle)
2. Adrian Tuohy (Beagh)
3. Daithi Burke (Turloughmore)
4. John Hanbury (Rahoon-Newcastle)
5. Padraig Mannion (Ahascragh/Fohenagh)
6. Gearoid McInerney (Oranmore-Maree)
7. Aidan Harte (Gort)
8. Johnny Coen (Loughrea)
9. David Burke (St Thomas’)
10. Joseph Cooney (Sarsfields)
11. Joe Canning (Portumna)
12. Niall Burke (Oranmore-Maree)
13. Conor Whelan (Kinvara)
14. Conor Cooney (St Thomas’)
15. Cathal Mannion (Ahascragh/Fohenagh)
1. Eoin Murphy (Glenmore)
2. Paul Murphy (Danesfort)
3. Padraig Walsh (Tullaroan)
4. Paddy Deegan (O’Loughlin Gaels)
5. Joey Holden (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
6. Cillian Buckley (Dicksboro – captain)
7. Enda Morrissey (Bennettsbridge)
8. Conor Fogarty (Erin’s Own)
9. James Maher (St Lachtains)
10. Martin Keoghan (Tullaroan)
11. TJ Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
12. Richie Leahy (Rower Inistioge)
13. Billy Ryan (Graigue-Ballycallan)
14. Walter Walsh (Tullogher Rosbercon)
15. Ger Aylward (Glenmore)
The sides’ most recent meeting came in the round-robin series at Pearse Stadium with Galway triumphing by 1-22 to 2-11.
It’s the fifth Leinster decider they’ll contest, with the Tribesmen winning just once in the previous encounters — 2012.
Some pre-match reading from the Galway camp to whet the appetite. Just under 10 minutes to go!
And while you’re here, here’s Fintan O’Toole’s report from the Munster final as Cork made it two in-a-row:
It has to be said, Croker is looking fierce well in the sun too. The warm-ups are done, the parade is underway. It’s nearly time.
Which way do you see this going?
THROW-IN! We’re off in Croke Park. Who’ll be crowned 2018 champions?
2 mins – Kilkenny 0-0 Galway 0-0
Kilkenny with two early chances but both go wide. Championship debutant Billy Ryan with the opening effort, there are nerves there though.
4 mins – Kilkenny 0-0 Galway 0-1
Conor Whelan gets us up and running, showing lightening pace before slotting it over.
7 mins – Kilkenny 0-0 Galway 0-1
The sides are settling in, but there are some early nerves, mistakes and uncharacteristic wides. Galway keeper James Skehill is back on his feet after a collision.
8 mins – Kilkenny 0-0 Galway 0-2
Niall Burke gets Galway’s second point of the match.
9 mins – Kilkenny 0-1 Galway 0-2
Cats keeper Eoin Murphy opens their account with a long-range free. His earlier effort had dropped short, so second time lucky it is with a well-struck effort.
11 mins – Kilkenny 0-2 Galway 0-2
TJ Reid’s first shot of the day splits the posts and we’re level.
12 mins – Kilkenny 0-2 Galway 0-3
Joe Canning makes no mistake from the placed ball for the All-Ireland champions.
15 mins – Kilkenny 0-2 Galway 0-3
Canning plays a high ball in towards the hill but Padraig Walsh wins the sliotar excellently, bursting out to win a free. The crowd love it. Murphy’s effort from the free goes wide though, Kilkenny still trail by one.
16 mins – Kilkenny 0-3 Galway 0-3
Kilkenny look in on goal – Walter Walsh catches the sliotar, hands it off to Ger Aylward but he’s kept out and wins a free. Reid converts with ease.
18 mins – Kilkenny 0-3 Galway 0-4
The game is sparking to life a bit more, heavy hits, some immense defending. Galway look a bit more threatening, Canning is blocked down and is awarded a free. He sticks it over.
20 mins – Kilkenny 0-4 Galway 0-4
We’re level — Billy Ryan has arrived and he’s probably just hit the point of the match.
23 mins – Kilkenny 0-4 Galway 0-5
The referee went to hawkeye there after some confusion around a shot and Joseph Cooney’s effort is put down as a score.
24 mins – Kilkenny 0-5 Galway 0-5
TJ Reid draws the sides level from a placed ball once again.
26 mins – Kilkenny 0-5 Galway 0-7
Tenacious defending from Galway there. They win it, Burke flicks the ball to Mannion and his monstrous effort sails over. Niall Burke adds another to send Galway into a two-point lead as they find their groove.
28 mins – Kilkenny 0-6 Galway 0-7
The Cats rob the ball from Mannion and work it up the field. Reid finds Aylward, but his shot on goal is dealt with at ease by Skehill. The ref awards a free for an earlier foul on Reid though, and the same player converts.
31 mins – Kilkenny 0-7 Galway 0-7
The latest brilliant catch in this game comes from Conor Whelan. Ryan gets his second of the day at the other end. We’re level again.
34 mins – Kilkenny 0-7 Galway 0-7
There are some really basic errors being made by both sides, and no shortage of wides. Both will hope to stick their noses in front before the break. One minute added time. Niall Burke is shown a yellow card for continual fouling.
35 mins – Kilkenny 0-8 Galway 0-7
And it’s Kilkenny who take the lead — another TJ Reid free moments before the whistle sounds.
HALF-TIME: Kilkenny 0-8 Galway 0-7
It’s been a fairly cagey and congested encounter in Croke Park so far, but the Cats are one up. What did ye make of that half?
SECOND HALF! We’re underway once again.
37 mins – Kilkenny 0-8 Galway 0-8
Joe Canning levels matters to give the Tribesmen confidence on the restart. Brilliant save by Murphy just before that.
39 mins – Kilkenny 0-8 Galway 0-9
Inspirational point from the hurley of Canning under serious pressure. Incredible stuff, to cap some immense defending led by Walsh before that.
40 mins – Kilkenny 0-9 Galway 0-9
TJ Reid ensures the sides are level for the seventh time.
42 mins – Kilkenny 0-10 Galway 0-10
A fine score from Conor Cooney from play. Both sides are upping the ante. Reid cancels it out with a free at the other end — after it was brought forward by the referee. Level again.
46 mins – Kilkenny 0-11 Galway 0-10
How did Kilkenny keep that one out? Incredible defending from Paul Murphy to stop Conor Whelan as he turned on the pace and was headed straight for goals. There’s an exciting passage of play then, capped by an Aylward point at the other end.
48 mins – Kilkenny 0-11 Galway 0-11
Kilkenny sub — Liam Blanchfield is on for Martin Keoghan, while the wind blows Canning’s long-range free off course and wide. Galway rally and Niall Burke fires it over to level the score.
51 mins – Kilkenny 0-11 Galway 0-13
SAVE! Skehill keeps TJ Reid’s goal-bound effort out and Galway head up the field through Canning. His pass is stopped brilliantly by Murphy but the Tribesmen get it back — Mannion fires over. Whelan adds another. Galway with a two-point lead.
53 mins – Kilkenny 0-12 Galway 0-13
Reid with another free to reduce the deficit to one. The atmosphere is rising, the standard of hurling has improved and the second half is much livelier.
54 mins – Kilkenny 0-12 Galway 0-14
And almost immediately at the other end, Mannion cancels it out and makes it a two-point game once again.
56 mins – Kilkenny 0-12 Galway 0-15
Walsh grabs a hold of Cooney and he’s shown a yellow card and penalised with a free against him. Canning puts three between them from there.
58 mins – Kilkenny 0-13 Galway 0-15
Walter Walsh with his first point of the day.
Changes on both sides — John Donnelly is in for Richie Leahy while Johnny Glynn replaces Conor Cooney. Richie Hogan comes in to roars from the crowd too while Aylward makes way.
60 mins – Kilkenny 0-13 Galway 0-15
Glynn makes his impact felt immediately with a super catch in the air. Elsewhere moments after it’s a free-in to Kilkenny as Reid has the chance to reduce the gap to one.
61 mins – Kilkenny 0-14 Galway 0-15
And he makes no mistake.
63 mins – Kilkenny 0-14 Galway 0-16
Niall Burke with a beauty.
Colin Fennelly is on the field, Billy Ryan makes way. Big finish coming up.
64 mins – Kilkenny 0-14 Galway 0-16
Fresh legs for Galway as Brian Cocannon comes in for Cathal Mannion.
65 mins – Kilkenny 0-15 Galway 0-16
One-point game! Maher with a lovely effort.
67 mins – Kilkenny 0-15 Galway 0-18
The same player is pulled up and a scorable — but tricky — free given against him. Canning shows his class once again, and nails it. Joseph Cooney tags on another from play.
68 mins – Kilkenny 0-16 Galway 0-18
Donnelly points, and there’s two in it again. This is getting fiery, two minutes plus add-ons to go.
70 mins – Kilkenny 0-16 Galway 0-18
Canning puts a long-range free wide and looks very disappointed. Jason Flynn comes in for Conor Whelan. We’ll have three minutes added time.
70 mins – Kilkenny 0-17 Galway 0-18
Richie Hogan magically sends a ball to Morrissey and he fires it over. A point in it!
71 mins – Kilkenny 0-18 Galway 0-18
AMAZING! TJ Reid with a huge, huge score to level matters. WOW.
72 mins – Kilkenny 0-18 Galway 0-18
Messy play with the pressure on as players in both jerseys lose the ball. Immense. Here we go. Referee has the sliotar, he’s going to throw it in. Clock’s just gone red.
FULL-TIME: Galway 0-18 Kilkenny 0-18
And we’re off to a replay.
Probably a fair result, it must be said but both Galway and Kilkenny will be disappointed. The replay should be fixed tomorrow.
That’s all from me. We’ll have a full match report on The42 in the coming minutes so you can relive all the action there. Thanks for reading, and enjoy your evening!