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IT WAS THE first of an Easter Sunday hurling double-header in the Gaelic Grounds as the Cats and the Tribesmen face off.

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Happy Easter Sunday and welcome to the Gaelic Grounds. Feast of hurling in store here, first up is Kilkenny against Galway at 2pm in this Allianz hurling league double-header.

Here’s the Kilkenny team that is named to start:

Eoin Murphy (Glenmore); Paul Murphy (Danesfort), JJ Delaney (Fenians), Brian Kennedy (St Lachtain’s); Padraig Walsh (Tullaroan), Brian Hogan (O’Loughlin Gaels), Cillian Buckley (Dicksboro); Michael Fennelly (Ballyhale Shamrocks), Richie Hogan (Danesfort); Walter Walsh (Tullogher Rosbercon), Colin Fennelly (Ballyhale Shamrocks), TJ Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks); John Power (Carrickshock), Mark Kelly (O’Loughlin Gaels), Henry Shefflin (Ballyhale Shamrocks).

And here’s the Galway team that is named to start:

Colm Callanan; Johnny Coen, Ronan Burke, David Collins; Aidan Harte, Joseph Cooney, Daithi Burke; David Burke, Padraif Brehony; Niall Burke, Conor Cooney, Andy Smith; Joe Canning, Jonathan Glynn, Cathal Mannion.

Big news in the Galway camp is the inclusion of the JC’s from the team that was named during the week. Joseph Cooney and Joe Canning are drafted in to start.

Westmeath’s James McGrath is the referee.

Right, we’re getting set for this on a beautiful day for hurling.

And we’re under way at the Gaelic Grounds.

Wides all round in the early stages, two for Galway and one for Kilkenny. Slow burning start.

Kilkenny 0-1 Galway 0-0: 2 mins – Michael Fennelly bursts through to hit the opening point of the match.

Galway 0-1 Kilkenny 0-1: 4 mins – Andy Smith ties the teams with a fine point.

Kilkenny 0-2 Galway 0-1: 6 mins – Henry Shefflin makes his first major impact as he splits the posts from distance.

An early scrape between Joe Canning and Brian Kennedy, could be feisty between that pair.

Kilkenny 0-2 Galway 0-2: 7 mins – Back level again as Conor Cooney clips over from distance for Galway.

Galway 0-3 Kilkenny 0-2: 8 mins – Colm Callanan comes out from goal to put Galway as he bangs over a long range free.

Galway 0-4 Kilkenny 0-2: 12 mins – Niall Burke makes good headway down the left flank and lofts over a stylish point under pressure.

Galway 0-4 Kilkenny 0-3: 14 mins – Kilkenny pull a point back through Colin Fennelly. Moments later he has a chance to tie the game but his shot is under hit and Callanan is able to gather before clearing.

Kilkenny 0-4 Galway 0-4: 15 mins – Level again as TJ Reid snaps over a free following a push on the back of Mark Kelly.

Galway 0-5 Kilkenny 0-5: 17 mins – Joe Canning gets on the scoresheet for the first time in the game but it’s quickly cancelled out by Henry Shefflin as he notches a class point.

Galway 0-6 Kilkenny 0-5: 22 mins – Galway hit the front through a fine score from Cathal Mannion but were grateful moments before that for the intervention of Colm Callanan as he repelled a TJ Reid shot for goal from close range.

The Galway fans rise in unison as they think Joe Canning is about to find the net but it goes wide for a ’65. Conor Cooney made the initial burst, his shot was deflected towards Canning who flicked it goal ward but the Kilkenny defence got a touch to divert it past the post.

Galway 0-7 Kilkenny 0-5: 23 mins – Galway still get something to show for their efforts as Cooney slots over the ’65. Interesting to see Cooney staying on placed ball duties despite the return of Canning to the starting side.

Galway racking up the wides now, they’re at seven after Cooney misses a couple of chances.

Galway 0-9 Kilkenny 0-5: 28 mins – Cooney points again for Galway as he shows neat footwork to evade the Kilkenny rearguard. Matters could have improved further for Galway before that as they had another chance to hit the net but as Padraig Brehony sized up a goal chance with a whip off the ground, Padraig Walsh got back in time to expertly hook him. Cooney has just pointed again from a free and Galway are four clear.

Galway 0-10 Kilkenny 0-5: 32 mins – Double scores now as Cooney strikes over another free after Brehony was fouled by Cillian Buckley.

Kilkenny think they’ve hit the net as Colin Fennelly unleashes a piledriver to the top corner but referee James McGrath had earlier blown for a free out.

Galway 0-11 Kilkenny 0-5: 34 mins – Cooney strikes another free between the posts. They’re six points clear now but have amassed eight wides and should be further ahead.

Half-Time: Galway 0-11 Kilkenny 0-6: TJ Reid points a free as Kilkenny cut the gap to five at the break. Galway will certainly be happier with Kilkenny’s Michael Dempsey just after remarking to RTE Radio that his side are being ‘outfought’. Interesting to see can they revive themselves in the second-half. We’ll be back with all the action.

We’re back under way for the second-half here.

Yellow card for Galway corner-back David Collins.

Galway 0-11 Kilkenny 0-7: 38 mins – First blood to Kilkenny as TJ Reid points a free. 

Galway 0-11 Kilkenny 0-8: 39 mins – Kilkenny moving well now with Colin Fennelly on the mark from play.

Galway 0-11 Kilkenny 0-9: 40 mins – TJ Reid points for Kilkenny but the score is all the work of Henry Shefflin with a deft touch to control and a sublime hand pass to release Reid.

Galway 0-11 Kilkenny 0-10: 44 mins – All Kilkenny now as Mark Kelly is fouled and TJ Reid converts the resultant free.

Yellow cards have been shown to Galway’s Andy Smith and Kilkenny’s Colin Fennelly.

Galway 0-11 Kilkenny 0-11: 45 mins – Now Kilkenny are level with a superb point from Shefflin. The momentum is all with the Cats now. Davy Glennon on for Niall Burke on the Galway team.

Galway 0-12 Kilkenny 0-11: 46 mins – Big point that from Andy Smith to put Galway back in front.

Galway 0-12 Kilkenny 0-12: 47 mins – We’re level again as John Power makes an incisive break and offloads to the supporting Padraig Walsh who rifles over a Kilkenny point.

Galway desperately close to a goal when Canning fires in a sideline cut and David Burke rises but bats the ball against the bar.

Kilkenny 0-13 Galway 0-12: 50 mins – Now Kilkenny hit the front through Colin Fennelly and then they nearly raise a green flag but Callanan smothers a John Power shot after a delightful flick across by Shefflin.

Goal for Kilkenny from John Power!

Kilkenny 1-14 Galway 0-13: 53 mins – Midway through the second-half and that looks like a decisive intervention. Eoin Murphy comes out from goal to bang a long free  in the direction of the Kilkenny attack and it’s Power who gets the vital touch to strike the ball to the net. Conor Cooney responds with a Galway point but that’s met with a great score in response by Cillian Buckley.

Yellow card for Johnny Glynn for Galway for a late challenge on Buckley.

Substitutes: Lester Ryan in for Kilkenny for Walter Walsh while Damien Hayes replaces Padraig Brehony on the Galway team.

Kilkenny 1-14 Galway 0-14: 60 mins – Fine point by Cooney for Galway.

Substitute: Kevin Hynes is on for Andy Smith on the Galway team.

Kilkenny 1-14 Galway 0-15: 65 mins – David Burke point and Galway are only two adrift now.

Kilkenny 1-15 Galway 0-15: 66 mins – Shefflin sends Kilkenny back into a three-point lead.

Subs: Galway bring in Kevin Hynes for Smith while Aidan Fogarty replaces Richie Hogan in the Kilkenny side.

Kilkenny 1-16 Galway 0-15: 67 mins – Terrific point by Padraig Walsh and Kilkenny go back ahead by four.

Sub: Jason Flynn is on for Galway for Mannion.

Late 20-yard free with Conor Cooney dispatching it in for Galway but Kilkenny clear their lines.

Full-Time: Kilkenny 1-16 Galway 0-15

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole