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Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
John McVitty/INPHO Kilkenny's Padraig Walsh.
# Convincing
Kilkenny begin defence of Leinster title with 16-point win over Westmeath
Walter Walsh, TJ Reid, James Maher, Billy Ryan and Mikey Carey all found the net for the Cats.

Kilkenny 5-23
Westmeath 1-19

Robert Cribbin reports from TEG Cusack Park

KILKENNY GOT the defence of their Leinster title off to the perfect start when they ran out 16-point winners over Westmeath in TEG Cusack Park.

The scoreline is somewhat unjust on a Westmeath side that were very competitive for three-quarters of the contest but in the end, Kilkenny’s extra firepower told as they lashed in five goals.

Walter Walsh, TJ Reid, James Maher, Billy Ryan and Mikey Carey all found the net for the Cats and that was in sharp contrast to a Westmeath team that largely depended on Killian Doyle’s free-taking exploits with the corner forward scoring 14 points in total.

Cheered on by a big home crowd, the Lake County were impressive in the opening quarter and with Killian Doyle finding his range they led 0-10 to 0-6.

Kilkenny were very sluggish in those opening few minutes and it wasn’t until Mikey Carey knocked in a 24th-minute goal that they found a route into the game.

Billy Ryan, Padraig Walsh and Cian Kenny then added to the Kilkenny tally as Brian Cody’s side led 1-12 o 0-12 at the interval.

TJ Reid appeared for his first appearance of the season as a half-time substitute and within three minutes of his introduction, he knocked over a point from play.

Kilkenny as was expected then gradually eased clear on the scoreboard and their second goal arrived in the 53rd minute when Billy Ryan latched onto a rebound after Walter Walsh was earlier denied by Westmeath stopper Conor Bracken.

TJ Reid, James Maher and Walter Walsh all added on further goals before the end but Westmeath themselves struck late when Owen McCabe got a consolation effort but it was Kilkenny who eased to victory.

Scorers for Kilkenny - TJ Reid (1-4, 0-2fs, 0-1 65), Alan Murphy (0-7, 0-6f), Walter Walsh (1-2), Padraig Walsh (0-4), James Maher (1-1), Billy Ryan (1-1), Mikey Carey (1-0), Adrian Mullen (0-2), Cian Kenny and Eoin Cody (0-1 each)

Scorers for Westmeath - Killian Doyle (0-14, 0-11f), Owen McCabe (1-0), Joey Boyle (0-2), Niall O’Brien, Davy Glennon and Darragh Egerton (0-1 each)

Kilkenny:

1. Eoin Murphy (Glenmore)

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

5. Mikey Carey (Young Irelands), 6. Paddy Deegan (O’Loughlin Gaels), 7. David Blanchfield (Bennettsbridge)

8. Cian Kenny (James Stephens), 9. Adrian Mullen (Shamrocks Ballyhale)

10. Walter Walsh (Tullogher Rosbercon), 11. Padraig Walsh (Tullaroan), 12. Eoin Cody
(Shamrocks Ballyhale

13. Billy Ryan (Graigue-Ballycallan), 14. Martin Keoghan (Tullaroan), 15. Alan Murphy
(Glenmore)

Subs:
25. John Donnelly (Thomastown) for Keoghan 34 mins
24. TJ Reid (Shamrocks Ballyhale) for Kenny half-time
21. James Maher (St Lachtain’s) for Murphy 45 mins
22. Conor Browne (James Stephens) for Blanchfield 58 mins
26. Shane Walsh (Tullaroan) for Ryan 65 mins

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Westmeath:

1. Conor Bracken (St Oliver Plunketts)

2. Darragh Egerton (Clonkill), 3. Conor Shaw (Brownstown), 4. Jack Galvin (Cullion)

5. Aaron Craig (St Oliver Plunketts), 6. Tommy Doyle (Lough Lene Gaels), 22. Kevin Regan (Cullion)

8. Cormac Boyle (Raharney), 9. Robbie Greville (Raharney)

10. Joey Boyle (Raharney), 11. Derek McNicholas (Lough Lene Gaels), 12. Davy Glennon
(Mulagh, Galway)

17. Niall O’Brien (Castletown Geoghegan), 14. Niall Mitchell (Clonkill), 15. Killian Doyle
(Raharney)

Subs:

24. Eoin Keyes (Raharney) for O’Brien 49 mins
26. Ciaran Doyle (Raharney) for McNicholas 54 mins
18. Tommy Gallagher (Castlepollard) for Craig 61 mins
25. Owen McCabe (Fr.Dalton’s) for Boyle 69 mins
23. Alan Cox (Delvin) for Regan 69 mins

Referee: Rory McGann (Clare)

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