Walsh led the Kilkenny celebrations at the final whistle. James Crombie/INPHO
Purr-fect Day

'It's been a tough year for John': Kilkenny boss salutes minor goal hero Walsh

The Mullinavat teenager, who scored 2-5 in yesterday’s final, lost his mother earlier this year.

KILKENNY MANAGER PAT Hoban revealed his delight that scoring sensation John Walsh was the man to inspire their latest All-Ireland minor title success.

Corner-forward Walsh shot a brilliant 2-5 in a rare start this season having previously been used as an impact substitute.

He celebrated both his goals with rousing fist pumps and ended the season on a high having suffered the death of his mother earlier in the year.

“It’s been a tough year for John,” said Hoban. “His mother died in March so on a personal level, I’m really thrilled for the chap.”

Hoban described the Mullinavat teenager as ‘a fantastic talent’ who management felt couldn’t be kept on the bench.

“He’d been showing good form for us in training of late,” continued Hoban. “We trusted him that he could deliver on the big day and thank God he did.”

James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Munster champions Limerick were hot favourites for success but failed to spark and trailed Kilkenny for almost all of the game.

It was a remarkable turnaround for Kilkenny who lost their opening game to Dublin back in April by 2-8 to 0-3 but ultimately went on to claim a record 21st All-Ireland crown.

“I did believe it was possible, absolutely, and I’m not just saying that,” continued Hoban.

It (the Dublin game) wasn’t a fair reflection of the guys, a lot of very talented guys. A lot of them won a colleges All-Ireland this year. You don’t win that by being poor players.

Hoban admitted Kilkenny planned to get on top early and dictate the game to Limerick who’d previously started strong in games.

“Limerick were overwhelming favourites coming into the game,” said Hoban. “We knew that if we gave them a lead, it was going to be a tough, tough battle.

“As the stadium was going to fill, we were hoping Kilkenny support would get in behind the lads and give them something to shout for.”

Hoban reckoned that goal chances – the ones Kilkenny took and the several that Limerick didn’t – was the difference overall. Limerick manager Brian Ryan agreed.

“You need those breaks and we just didn’t get them today,” said Ryan, who admitted Walsh was a handful.

“We moved a few guys onto him but it didn’t work out. It’s disappointing for us overall but we are extremely proud of those young Limerick hurlers.”

Marty and Donal Óg’s commentary perfectly captures the drama of the All-Ireland hurling final

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