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Shefflin gets one over on Cody as Galway beat Kilkenny with last puck

Conor Cooney nailed the winning score with a 75th minute free.

Galway's Conor Whelan and Huw Lawlor of Kilkenny.
Galway's Conor Whelan and Huw Lawlor of Kilkenny.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Galway 1-24

Kilkenny 3-17

AN AFTERNOON OF high drama in Pearse Stadium.

The much-awaited first showdown between Henry Shefflin and Brian Cody resulted in a barnstormer as the Ballyhale man picked up a late, late victory over his old manager in a thrilling encounter.

The pair shared an intense handshake after the final whistle, with Cody furious the Colm Lyon’s decision to award a late free to Galway for a foul by Paddy Deegan on Tom Monaghan. 

Kilkenny looked to have salvaged a draw when John Donnelly fired in a goal in the third minute of stoppage-time to bring them level. Eanna Murphy was disappointed with his effort to save Donnelly’s shot, but the rebounded quickly and immediately picked out Monaghan’s run in midfield. 

Monaghan was fouled by Deegan and after a delay, Conor Cooney landed the game-winning score from the free.

It was the final play of the game and Cooney did well to hold his nerve, considering what happened late in the Wexford game. On that occasion his stoppage-time was taken off him for taking too long and it led to Wexford forcing a dramatic draw.

Galway’s celebrations at the final whistle indicated how important it was they won this game after their failure to beat the Model County in the opening round. 

Monaghan was outstanding on the half-forward line while Joseph Cooney, alternating between there and midfield, continued his excellent form and they shot 0-8 between them.

Yet Kilkenny proved once again they’re never a beaten docket. They went in at half-time six behind and lost TJ Reid, presumably to injury. Cody’s side did have the wind behind them and they dragged themselves back into the game, led by the excellent Eoin Cody.

The Ballyhale ace was shackled late in the game by man-of-the-match Padraic Mannion, but was Kilkenny’s leading forward over the course of the day. 

paddy-deegan-and-conor-cooney Paddy Deegan fouls Conor Cooney. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

They showed remarkable heart to fightback to level terms. They exerted so much energy getting back into the game and when Donnelly struck at the death it looked as if they rescued a draw.

Shefflin won’t be happy with Galway’s third quarter performance that allowed Kilkenny back into the game. They were clinical in the opening half, scoring 1-17 of which 1-10 arrived off turnovers. 

Backed by a strong breezed, the Tribesmen roared into a three-point lead before Kilkenny could take breath.

Galway struggled to deal with open country in front of their full-back line in the opening quarter. Kilkenny’s half-forwards dropped deep, leaving the Galway half-backs unsure whether to follow their men or mark space. TJ Reid played a floating full-forward role as Kilkenny went with a two-man full-forward line of Eoin Cody and Billy Ryan.

Cody had a devastating early impact, batting in a 6th minute goal after he weaved around Jack Grealish and Daithi Burke. Then Cody capitalised on a Grealish slip and picked out Billy Ryan on the edge of the area. The Graigue-Ballycallan sharpshooter made no mistake from close-range. 

That pushed Kilkenny 2-5 to 0-9 clear, but Galway would outscore them by 1-8 to 0-3 in the second quarter. Shefflin’s side started to play around Kilkenny’s sitting centre-back Paddy Deegan and the forwards began hitting some lovely scores. 

Brian Concannon stroked over a wonder point from the tightest of angles and then showed great vision to set-up Johnny Coen for the game’s crucial goal in the 24th minute. 

Galway pressed on before the interval as Tom Monaghan and Joseph Cooney grabbed a brace apiece to leave them six clear.  

Kilkenny lost Reid to injury at the break, delivering a hammer blow to Kilkenny’s chances Alan Murphy, introduced for James Maher shortly before the interval, hit the frees in his absence and had three points, two from play, on the board by the 43rd minute.

mikey-butler-and-brian-concannon Mikey Butler and Brian Concannon hit the deck. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Conor Whelan arrived off the bench for Galway, returning from a hamstring injury he suffered against Wexford, and almost immediately he was involved in a pair of goal chance.s

A long Eanna Murphy restart broke kindly to Tom Monaghan who powered through on goal. His shot forced a stunning save from Eoin Murphy and Whelan’s follow-up went wide. 

Moments later, he was sent through by Concannon but was whistled for overcarrying after being held up by Huw Lawlor. The Cats slowly but surely got a foothold back in the game. They reeled off five-in-a-row to reduce the deficit to a point by the 53rd minute. 

Some outstanding Kilkenny defending resulted in Cody levelling the game. Galway got their first score since the 34th minute through Conor Cooney and then his namesake Joseph clipped another as the hosts retook the lead.

David Burke and Conor Cooney (free) added one either side of an Alan Murphy placed ball. Cooney stretched the Tribe lead to three before Donnelly hit the net, leaving it up to Cooney to win it for Galway.

Scorers for Galway: Conor Cooney 0-6 (0-5f), Tom Monaghan and Joseph Cooney 0-4 each, Brian Concannon 0-3, Johnny Coen 1-0, Fintan Burke (0-2 sidelines) and Cathal Mannion 0-2 each, Padraic Mannion, David Burke, Ciaran Fahy 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kilkenny: Eoin Cody 1-2, Alan Murphy 0-5 (0-4f), TJ Reid (0-2f) and Walter Walsh 0-3 each, Billy Ryan and John Donnelly 1-0 each, Padraig Walsh 0-2, Adrian Mullen and Mikey Carey 0-1 each.

Galway

1 Éanna Murphy (Tommy Larkins)

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

5 Pádraic Mannion (Ahascragh-Fohenagh), 6 Gearóid McInerney (Oranmore/Maree), 7 Fintan Burke (St Thomas’)

10 David Burke (St Thomas’), Johnny Coen (Loughrea)

8. Joseph Cooney (Sarsfields), 11 Conor Cooney (St Thomas’), 9. Tom Monaghan (Craughwell), 

14 Brian Concannon, 12. Cianan Fahy (Ardrahan), 15 Cathal Mannion (Ahascragh-Fohenagh) 

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Subs 

26. Conor Whelan (Kinvara) for Fahy (45)

23. Gavin Lee (Clarinbridge) for Grealish (52)

19. TJ Brennan (Clarinbridge) for Coen (72)

Kilkenny

1. Eoin Murphy (Glenmore)

2. Mikey Butler (O’Loughlin Gaels), 4. Tommy Walsh (Tullaroan), 3. Huw Lawlor (O’Loughlin Gaels)

5. Michael Carey (Young Irelands), 6. Paddy Deegan (O’Loughlin Gaels), 7. Conor Browne (James Stephens)

8. James Maher (St. Lachtain’s), 12. Adrian Mullen (Ballyhale Shamrocks) 

10. Walter Walsh (Tullogher-Rosbercon), 11. Pádraig Walsh (Tullaroan), 9. Cillian Buckley (Dicksboro)

13. Billy Ryan (Graigue-Ballycallan), 14. TJ Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks), 15. Eoin Cody (Ballyhale Shamrocks)

Subs

22. Alan Murphy (Glenmore) for Maher (31)

26. Tom Phelan (Conahy Shamrocks) for Reid (ht)

19. David Blanchfield (Bennettsbridge) for Browne (43)

23. John Donnelly (Thomastown) for Buckley (55)

24. Martin Keoghan (Tullaroan) for Ryan (66).

Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork)

About the author:

Kevin O'Brien  / Reports from Pearse Stadium

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