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Kilkenny rally from five points down in extra-time to book Leinster U20 final spot

Kilkenny will now progress to the final where they will face Wexford.

Killkenny's Billy Drennan [file photo].
Killkenny's Billy Drennan [file photo].
Image: Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO

Kilkenny 1-28

Galway 1-27

Kevin Egan reports from Tullamore

AN INCREDIBLE, MEMORABLE and enthralling contest in Tullamore ended in the biggest shock of the U20 championship so far, as Kilkenny came from five points down in extra-time to pull off a remarkable victory that will live long in the minds of all involved.

Throughout the contest, the metronomic free-taking of Billy Drennan kept Kilkenny in contention. The Galmoy player hadn’t put a single dead ball shot wide of the target until he stepped up to one midway through the second half of extra time.

He didn’t put this one wide either, but instead dropped it fractionally short, enough for John Cooney to put up his hurl to knock the ball down and prevent the point. This proved to be the wrong call as the sliothar fell into the palm of Gearóid Dunne, and he fired in the goal that put Kilkenny three ahead.

Still the Tribesmen roared back, and Cooney seemed to have redeemed himself when he hoisted over an incredible long range free to tie the game in the 80th minute.

There was still time for more drama, and while Galway were the team that came up with the match winning score after Kilkenny equalised at Pearse Stadium yesterday, the roles were reversed this afternoon in Tullamore, as Joe Fitzpatrick came up with a skyscraper of a strike to send Kilkenny through to a Leinster final decider against Wexford.

The mesmerising, breathless finish to the game was a far cry from the cautious and cagey early stages of the contest, where both sides had two extra men back in defence.

The difference between the teams at that stage was that while Kilkenny found it impossible to connect with their inside forwards and didn’t score from play until the 24th minute, Galway’s Liam Collins seemed to be able to come up with possession despite being double marked time and again, and he picked off some majestic early points from play as the Tribesmen moved 0-9 to 0-4 ahead.

The closing stages of the first half saw Kilkenny settle into the game however, as they changed around some of their match-ups to address problem areas of the field.

Harry Shine picked off an excellent point as Kilkenny got back to within two, though the second of three excellent Alex Conaire scores pushed Galway three up again by half-time, 0-11 to 0-8.

The story of the second quarter was the story of two missed penalties, both easy decisions for referee Richie Fitzsimons. Twice Liam Collins stood on the 20 metre line with just Aidan Tallis to beat, and twice his effort wasn’t in keeping with his general play or his dead ball shooting from distance, as the Kilkenny goalie easily saved both efforts.

With confidence rising, Kilkenny took a two point lead into the final quarter, powered by Drennan’s frees and further scores from Timmy Clifford. Galway found another gear however, and they moved 0-18 to 0-16 and then 0-19 to 0-18 in front, up until Drennan’s solitary score from play tied up the teams and sent the contest into extra time.

It looked for all the world as if Galway’s bench was going to win the day, as the Tribesmen moved 1-24 to 0-22 in front, with every score – including a goal from Reuben Davitt – coming from one of their substitutes.

That would have been far too simple. Three Drennan frees and a snapped score from Jack Doyle tied up the game, before Dunne’s goal and Fitzpatrick’s late winner sent the Kilkenny crowd into raptures.

Scorers for Kilkenny: Billy Drennan 0-17 (0-14f, 0-2 65s), Timmy Clifford 0-3, Gearóid Dunne 1-0, Harry Shine 0-2, Joe Fitzpatrick 0-2, Jack Doyle 0-2, Ian Byrne 0-1, Ted Dunne 0-1.

Scorers for Galway: Liam Collins 0-12 (0-6f, 0-1 65), Reuben Davitt 1-1, Alex Conaire 0-3, Diarmuid Hanniffy 0-2, Colm Molloy 0-2, Diarmuid Davoren 0-2, Declan McLoughlin 0-1, Seánie McDonagh 0-1, Greg Thomas 0-1, Tiernan Leen 0-1, John Cooney 0-1f.

Kilkenny

Aidan Tallis (Lisdowney)

Niall Rowe (Dicksboro)
Billy Reid (Glenmore)
Seán Purcell (Windgap)

Joe Fitzpatrick (Dunnamaggin)
Pádraic Moylan (Dicksboro)
Paddy Langton (Young Irelands)

Killian Doyle (Emeralds)
Andy Hickey (Dunnamaggin)

Timmy Clifford (Dicksboro)
Denis Walsh (Dunnamaggin)
Peter McDonald (Thomastown)

Billy Drennan (Galmoy)
Gearóid Dunne (Tullaroan)
Harry Shine (Dicksboro)

Subs:

Ian Byrne (Glenmore) for G Dunne (38)
Ted Dunne (Graigenamanagh) for Shine (42)
Pádraig Lennon (Carrickshock) for Reid (44)
Jack Doyle (Windgap) for Walsh (55)
Eoghan O’Brien (Rower Inistíoge) for Langton (57)
James Walsh (Kilmacow) for Hickey (67)
G Dunne for McDonald (70).

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Galway:

Darragh Walsh (Turloughmore)

Michael Walsh (Ardrahan)
Eoin Lawless (Athenry)
Adam Nolan (Kilnadeema Leitrim)

Seán O’Hanlon (Turloughmore)
Ian McGlynn (Kilconieron)
John Cooney (Sarsfields)

Alex Conaire (Sarsfields)
Liam Leen (Clarinbridge)

Diarmuid Hanniffy (Oranmore Maree)
Seanie McDonagh (Mountbellew-Moylough)
Declan McLoughlin (Portumna)

Liam Collins (Cappataggle)
Kieran Hanrahan (Loughrea)
Greg Thomas (Castlegar)

Subs:

Colm Molloy (Kilnadeema-Leitrim) for McDonagh (30)
Tiernan Leen (Craughwell) for L Leen (47)
Reuben Davitt (Oranmore Maree) for Hanniffy (48)
Diarmuid Davoren (Moycullen) for McLoughlin (50)
Colm Cunningham (Moycullen) for Thomas (60)
Shane Morgan (Loughrea) for Cunningham (full-time)
McLoughlin for Hanrahan (68)
Patrick Burke (Oranmore Maree) for O’Hanlon (68)
L Leen for Conaire (74).

Referee: Richie Fitzsimons (Offaly)

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About the author:

Kevin Egan

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