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Kilkenny hit 2-21 and cope with Offaly fightback to set up All-Ireland final against Galway

Kilkenny won this afternoon’s game in Portlaoise by nine points.

Kilkenny players celebrate their Leinster minor final victory.
Kilkenny players celebrate their Leinster minor final victory.
Image: Ken Sutton/INPHO

Kilkenny 2-21

Offaly 3-9

Kevin Egan reports from Portlaoise 

KILKENNY CRUISED INTO next Saturday’s All Ireland minor hurling final and picked up their first Leinster title at this grade since 2017 in the process, as they put Offaly to the sword in the first half of this afternoon’s contest in Portlaoise.

Kilkenny gave themselves more than enough breathing room to see out the game through a much more evenly contested second half and set up a final against Galway next weekend.

It could be argued that the winning of the game was utterly inadvertent, in that Kilkenny’s starting centre back Patrick Langton was forced off with injury, necessitating the switch of full forward Gearóid Dunne to the heart of the defence. Substitute Ted Dunne fired over a superb point with his first play of the game, but the real effect was that Dunne went on to utterly control proceedings from the 45, checking Offaly’s speedy runners and lording the battle for high ball.

With his wing backs also in control and Zach Bay Hammond marking himself out as another future star in the full-back line, Kilkenny had complete defensive control, albeit aided by the wind, and they set about building a match-winning lead.

Eoin O’Brien and Harry Shine combined to score for their second from play, Billy Drennan was metronomic from placed balls, and just before the water break Harry Shine squeezed the sliothar inside Mark Troy’s near post for a close-range goal that pushed the lead out to eight.

The lead was 12 before Lochlann Quinn added Offaly’s second point from a 65, but any brief flash of optimism for the Faithful County supporters didn’t last however as Denis Walsh made a superb run from the left wing and then slammed the ball to the net with a drop shot from 15 metres.

A fine catch and finish from Luke Carey was followed up by another point from Quinn for Offaly, but it was notable that just when it looked as if there might be something of an uprising, Gearóid Dunne was on hand to make a superb rob of the sliothar from an Offaly runner, and after he drove down the sideline and took a late hit, Billy Drennan had another simple dead ball opportunity.

A hard run from Cormac Egan set up Quinn for an Offaly goal, but with the scoreboard reading 2-13 to 1-4 at half time, it was hard to see any way that Kilkenny would be toppled from here.

The second half was a much more even contest, with the Offaly bench making a strong contribution. Rúairí Dunne added heft and drive to the half-back line, Adam Landy and Lee Hogan poached scores, and the underdogs kept chasing goals, chasing their dream.

Carey fired in one from a penalty, Hogan whipped in another after collecting a breaking ball close to goal and getting his shot away in traffic, but Kilkenny kept finding scores as they needed them.

Their power on the ball meant Offaly regularly conceded frees, with Drennan unerring, while Harry Shine also swung over a couple of superb scores to ensure there was never any huge cause for concern on the Kilkenny sideline, even once their lead was cut back to single figures.

Scorers for Kilkenny: Billy Drennan 0-13 (0-12f), Harry Shine 1-3, Denis Walsh 1-1, Ted Dunne, Billy Reid, Cathal Beirne, Timmy Clifford 0-1 each.

Scorers for Offaly: Lochlann Quinn 1-6 (0-4f, 0-2 65s), Luke Carey 1-1 (1-0 pen), Lee Hogan 1-0, Daniel Bourke, Adam Landy 0-1 each.

Kilkenny

1. Brian Minogue (Dicksboro)

2. Mark Donnelly (St Lachtain’s), 3. Niall Rowe (Dicksboro), 4. Zach Bay Hammond (Thomastown).

5. Joe Fitzpatrick (Dunnamaggin), 6. Patrick Langton (Young Irelands), 7. Billy Reid (Glenmore).

8. Killian Doyle (Emeralds), 9. Cathal Beirne (Glenmore).

13. Harry Shine (Dicksboro), 10. Billy Drennan (Galmoy), 11. Timmy Clifford (Dicksboro).

15. Eoin O’Brien (Rower-Inistíoge), 14. Gearóid Dunne (Tullaroan), 12. Denis Walsh (Dunnamaggin).

Subs

19. Ted Dunne (Graiguenamanagh) for Langton (6)

20. Killian Carey (Éire Óg) for Doyle (45)

21. Braedon Wheeler (Piltown) for O’Brien (47)

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Offaly

1. Mark Troy (Durrow)

2. Patrick Taaffe (Belmont), 3. Charlie Bracken (Kilcormac-Killoughey), 4. Oisín Kilmartin (Kilcormac-Killoughey).

5. Luke Watkins (Ballyskenagh-Killavilla), 6 Sam Bourke (Durrow), 7. Joseph Hoctor (Carrig and Riverstown).

8. Colin Spain (Kilcormac-Killoughey), 9 Cathal King (Carrig and Riverstown).

10. Lochlann Quinn (Birr), 11 Cormac Egan (Tullamore), 12 Eoin Murphy (Brosna Gaels).

13. Daniel Bourke (Durrow), 14. Charlie Mitchell (Kilcormac-Killoughey), 15. Luke Carey (Seir Kieran).

Subs

17. Rúairí Dunne (Clodiagh Gaels) for Spain (HT)

18. Lee Hogan (Carrig and Riverstown) for Murphy (36)

20. Adam Landy (Shinrone) for King (50)

19. Cian Nolan (Birr) for Burke (55)

Referee: Conor Daly (Kildare)

About the author:

Kevin Egan

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