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Drennan stars as Kilkenny claim All-Ireland U20 hurling final win over Limerick

Just a point separated the teams at the final whistle.

Kilkenny 0-19

Limerick 0-18

A TIGHT AND tense All-Ireland hurling decider in Thurles eventually swung the way of the Kilkenny U20 side today as they packed a marginally strong scoring punch than Limerick in the finale.

padraic-moylan-with-patrick-odonovan Source: Evan Treacy/INPHO

The teams were level 14 times throughout and extra-time appeared inevitable for long stages, such was the evenly-matched nature of the contest.

But Kilkenny broke free to forge a lead of two points on a couple of occasions, inspired by man-of-the-match Billy Drennan as he landed 0-9, and then their defence was able to withstand Limerick’s late rally.

Timmy Clifford made a break along the right wing to rifle over a 61st minute point that left them two clear but then Kilkenny were required to dig in. Derek Lyng’s team saw their advantage cut to one when Aidan O’Connor pointed a free and they put the Limerick forwards under severe pressure in the last play of the game, a phase that saw Colin Coughlan line up a point attempt from a tough angle, his shot drifting just wide.

With that Limerick’s last hope of rescuing the match was gone and the Munster champions were left frustrated after a match where they could not quite replicate the free-scoring form of their provincial campaign. They never came close to rattling the net and while O’Connor impressed with a haul of 0-10, Limerick’s attack saw too many second-half attempts tail wide.

cian-scully-with-andy-hickey Source: Evan Treacy/INPHO

The tone for this game was set early on as the teams traded points relentlessly. Limerick forged ahead 0-5 to 0-3 after ten minutes, Patrick O’Donovan knocking over a nice pair of scores.

Kilkenny quickly dragged Limerick back with a couple of points and had edged ahead 0-10 to 0-9 by the interval. From there Kilkenny’s resilience at the back surfaced with captain Pádraic Moylan leading a strong rearguard. The teams were level 0-14 apiece after the third quarter, Kilkenny almost bagging a goal with two snap shots on the ground from Ian Byrne in quick succession, both producing fine stops from goalkeeper Conor Hanley-Clarke.

When the game needed an inspirational figure to settle it, Drennan stood up. The Galmoy sharpshooter had impressed throughout the season and his scoretaking from play shone here as he hit five points in those open exchanges. His trio of scores in the last quarter were invaluable and Kilkenny just about edged it to land the silverware.

Scorers for Kilkenny: Billy Drennan 0-9 (0-3f, 0-1 ’65), Timmy Clifford 0-3, Ian Byrne 0-2, Denis Walsh 0-2, Aidan Tallis 0-1 (0-1f), Paddy Langton 0-1, Andy Hickey 0-1.

Scorers for Limerick: Aidan O’Connor 0-10 (0-7f), Adam English 0-2, Patrick O’Donovan 0-2, Patrick Kirby 0-1, Eddie Stokes 0-1, Colin Coughlan 0-1, Shane O’Brien 0-1.

Kilkenny

1. Aidan Tallis (Lisdowney)

2. Niall Rowe (Dicksboro),  3. Seán Purcell (Windgap), 4. Padraig Lennon (Carrickshock)

5. Joe Fitzpatrick (Dunnamaggin), 6. Pádraic Moylan (Dicksboro), 7. Paddy Langton (Young Irelands)

8. Killian Doyle (Emeralds), 9. Andy Hickey (Dunnamaggin)

10. Timmy Clifford (Dicksboro), 11. Denis Walsh (Dunnamaggin), 12. Peter McDonald (Thomastown)

13. Billy Drennan (Galmoy), 14. Gearóid Dunne (Tullaroan), 15. Harry Shine (Dicksboro)

Subs

22. James Walsh (Kilmacow) for Hickey (43)

18. Eoghan O’Brien (Rower-Inistioge) for Fitzpatrick (49)

20. Jack Doyle (Windgap) for Dunne (57)

Limerick

1. Colin Hanley Clarke (Kilmallock)

2. Chris Thomas (Doon), 3. Fergal O’Connor (Effin), 4. Evan O’Leary (Ahane)

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5. Cian Scully (Dromin-Athlacca Banogue), 6. Ethan Hurley (Newcastle West), 7. Colin Coughlan (Ballybrown)

8. Jimmy Quilty (Blackrock – captain), 9. John Kirby (Patrickswell)

10. Adam English (Doon), 11. Aidan O’Connor (Ballybrown), 12. Eddie Stokes (Doon)

13. Shane O’Brien (Kilmallock), 14. Patrick Kirby (Patrickswell), 15. Patrick O’Donovan (Effin)

Subs

24. Donnacha Ó Dálaigh (Monaleen) for O’Donovan (50)

22. Patrick Reale (Knockainey) for O’Leary (56)

19. Joe Sweeney (Adare) for Scully (57)

Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Semple Stadium

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