Jackie Cahill reports from Croke Park
BRIAN Cody’s Kilkenny produced a powerful second half display to see off Galway in this afternoon’s Leinster senior hurling final at Croke Park.
The Cats retained their provincial crown with a seven-point victory over the Tribesmen at GAA HQ.
TJ Reid scored 1-9 for Kilkenny as they advanced to the All-Ireland semi-finals, with Galway’s Joe Canning hitting 1-8, including 1-1 from play.
This was another dominant display by Kilkenny, who followed up their demolition job on Wexford with another polished display.
At half-time, Kilkenny led by three points but the highlight of the first half was undoubtedly Joe Canning’s superb goal three minutes before the break.
Collecting clubmate Andy Smith’s long ball, Canning spun, caught and struck in one fluid movement to leave beat Kilkenny netminder Eoin Murphy.
It was a crucial score to drag Galway back into contention as they had fallen seven points behind, 0-6 to 1-10, when TJ Reid netted for Kilkenny in the 26th minute.
Ger Aylward’s attempted pass was flicked up in the air by Galway defender Daithí Burke and Reid pounced before rounding Colm Callanan to score.
The sides had been level four times in the first 16 minutes but after the sides were deadlocked at 0-5 apiece, Kilkenny opened up that seven-point advantage within 12 minutes.
David Burke’s point on the half hour mark was Galway’s first score from play for 27 minutes but after Fergal Moore drove over a long-range point, Canning struck with one of the goals of the season.
Eoin Larkin popped over an over-the-shoulder effort to conclude the first half scoring and ensure a three-point interval lead.
Galway opened the second half scoring with a goal from sub Jason Flynn but they could never get ahead as Kilkenny remained calm.
Hurler of the Year Richie Hogan, Eoin Larkin and Ger Aylward were others to enjoy big outings as Joey Holden generally coped well with the Canning threat.
Cathal Mannion failed to sparkle for Galway, managing one first half point but struggling to find space in which to operate.
Once Kilkenny got on a roll in the second half they proved impossible to stop and are now just 70 minutes away from another All-Ireland decider.
Galway got back to within three points in the final ten minutes but TJ Reid’s catch from Eoin Murphy’s puckout set up Hogan for a crucial score and they kicked for home after that.
Even without Michael Fennelly, laid low with a virus, the Cats had too much craft but David Burke was unlucky in the 49th minute when a shot flashed wide at a critical stage for Galway.
Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 1-8 (0-7f), Jason Flynn 1-0, Cyril Donnellan 0-3, Fergal Moore, David Burke, Jonathon Glynn & Cathal Mannion 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 1-9 (0-5f, 0-1 65), Eoin Larkin & Richie Hogan 0-4 each, Ger Aylward 0-3 each, Walter Walsh & Colin Fennelly 0-2 each, Conor Fogarty 0-1.
1. Colm Callanan (Kinvara)
3. John Hanbury (Rahoon-Newcastle)
4. Padraig Mannion (Ahascragh-Fohenagh)
2. Johnny Coen (Loughrea)
5. Fergal Moore (Turloughmore)
6. Iarla Tannion (Ardrahan)
7. Daithi Burke (Turloughmore)
8. Andrew Smith (Portumna)
9. Aidan Harte (Gort)
10. David Burke (St Thomas’s)
11. Cyril Donnellan (Padraig Pearses)
12. Johnathan Glynn (Ardrahan)
15. Cathal Mannion (Ahascragh-Fohenagh)
14. Joe Canning (Portumna)
13. Davy Glennon (Mullagh)
24. Jason Flynn (Tommy Larkins) for Glennon (27)
17. Joseph Cooney (Sarsfields) for Harte (39)
21. Padraig Brehony (Tynagh Abbey Duniry) for David Burke (59)
22. Niall Healy (Craughwell) for Cathal Mannion (61)
18. Paul Killeen (Tynagh Abbey Duniry) for Hanbury (64)
1. Eoin Murphy (Glenmore)
2. Paul Murphy (Danesfort)
3. Joey Holden (c) (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
4. Jackie Tyrrell (James Stephens)
5. Padraig Walsh (Tullaroan)
6. Kieran Joyce (Rower Inistioge)
7. Cillian Buckley (Dicksboro)
10. Walter Walsh (Tullogher Rosbercon)
9. Conor Fogarty (Erins Own)
22. John Power (Carrickshock)
11. Richie Hogan (Danesfort)
14. Colin Fennelly (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
13. Ger Aylward (Glenmore)
12. T J Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
15. Eoin Larkin (James Stephens)
17. Shane Prendergast (Clara) for Tyrrell (50)
24. Mark Kelly (O’Loughlin Gaels) for Power (58)
23. Matthew Ruth (James Stephens) for Fennelly (70+1).
Referee: James McGrath (Westmeath)