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We were live from Croke Park as Galway and Kilkenny met in this year’s All-Ireland senior hurling final.

It was tense, it was thrilling and it couldn’t have been any closer.

Send us your thoughts and comments on today’s action. E-mail fintan@thescore.ie, tweet us@thescore_ie, find us on Facebook, or leave a comment below.

Kilkenny 0-19 Galway 2-13

Welcome to Croke Park as we get set for the biggest hurling game of the year, the 2012 All-Ireland final. We’re less than 20 minutes away from throw in with both teams currently out on the pitch underling their warm-up.

Here’s the Kilkenny team for today’s match.

KILKENNY SH: 1. David Herity (Dunamaggin); 2. Paul Murphy (Danesfort), 3. JJ Delaney (Fenians), 4. Jackie Tyrrell (James Stephens); 5. Tommy Walsh (Tullaroan), 6. Brian Hogan (O’Loughlin Gaels), 7. Kieran Joyce (Rower-Inistioge); 8. Michael Fennelly (Ballyhale Shamrocks), 9. Richie Hogan (Danesfort); 10. Henry Shefflin (Ballyhale Shamrocks), 11. TJ Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks), 12. Eoin Larkin (James Stephens); 13. Colin Fennelly (Ballyhale Shamrocks), 14. Richie Power (Carrickshock), 15. Aidan Fogarty (Emeralds).

And here’s the Galway team.

GALWAY SH: 1. James Skehill (Cappataggle); 2. David Collins (Liam Mellows), 3. Kevin  Hynes (Sarsfield’s), 4. Fergal Moore (Turloughmore); 5. Niall Donoghue (Kilbeacanty), 6. Tony Óg Regan (Rahoon-Newcastle), 7. Johnny Coen (Loughrea); 8. Iarla Tannian (Ardrahan), 9. Andy Smith (Portumna); 10. David Burke (St. Thomas’s), 11. Niall Burke (Oranmore-Maree), 12. James Regan (St Thomas); 13. Cyril Donnellan (Pádraig Pearse’s), 14. Joe Canning (Portumna), 15. Damien Hayes (Portumna).

The substitutes for both teams are as follows.

KILKENNY SH: 16. Eoin Murphy (Glenmore), 17. Noel Hickey (Dunamaggin), 18. Richie Doyle (Barrow Rangers), 19. Conor Fogarty (Erins Own), 20. John Tennyson (Carrickshock), 21. Paddy Hogan (Danesfort), 22. Cillian Buckley (Dicksboro), 23. Matthew Ruth (James Stephens), 24. Walter Walsh (Tullogher-Rosbercon), 25. Mark Kelly (O’Loughlin Gaels), 26. Joe Brennan (St Patrick’s).
GALWAY SH: 16. Fergal Flannery (Padraig Pearses), 17. Joseph Cooney (Sarsfields), 18. Conor Cooney (St Thomas), 19. Jonathan Glynn (Ardrahan), 20. Davy Glennon (Mullagh), 21. Tadhg Haran (Liam Mellowes), 22. Aidan Harte (Gort), 23. Niall Healy (Craughwell), 24. Paul Gordon (Tynagh-Abbey-Duniry), 25. Ger O’Halloran (Craughwell), 26. Paul Hoban (Loughrea).

The red carpet is rolled out as President Michael D Higgins is getting ready to meet both teams. There’s a cracking atmosphere as you would expect in Croke Park in All-Ireland final day with stadium approaching full capacity. It’s been noticeable since the minor game that a huge Galway support has travelled to the game and their contingent in Hill 16 have been particularly vocal.

What of the match officials today? Well the referee is Westmeath’s Barry Kelly, the linesmen are James McGrath of Westmeath – who is also the stand by referee – and Diarmuid Kirwan of Cork while Tipperary’s Johnny Ryan is the sideline official.

The pre-match parade around Croke Park is about to begin. The excitement is really starting to build. Are Galway about to claim their first All-Ireland senior hurling crown in 24 years? Or will Kilkenny retain their title and gain revenge for their Leinster final defeat to the Tribesmen?

The managers of course are Kilkenny’s Brian Cody and Galway’s Anthony Cunningham. They’re both on the sideline near the Hogan Stand now as the sun comes out, the parade draws to a close and we get set for what will hopefully be seventy minutes of cracking action.

A late change of hurley for Kilkenny’s Michael Fennelly there. We’re about to have the national anthem.

Throw-in is seconds away. Galway are playing into the Davin End in the first-half with Kilkenny hurling into Hill 16.

Early scoring chance for Richie Power but his free drops short and then Richie Hogan is wide with another opening for Kilkenny.

Plenty of movement on both sides early on and some hard-hitting challenges all over the pitch. It’s been typically frenetic.

Kilkenny 0-1 Galway 0-0: 5 mins – Henry Shefflin gets the ball rolling on the scoreboard by pointing a free after he was fouled by Fergal Moore.

Shefflin then is off target with a ’65.

Kilkenny 0-1 Galway 0-1: 8 mins – Galway draw level courtesy of Andy Smith who does well to point in a tight situation. Great play by Joe Canning to create that score.

Galway 1-1 Kilkenny 0-1: 9 mins – Goal for Galway! Joe Canning smashes the ball low to the net after terrific work by James Regan. That’s a brilliant strike and what a boost for the underdogs.

Galway 1-2 Kilkenny 0-1: 11 mins – That was a super goal by Canning and he’s just fired over a lovely point off his left as well. The Galway supporters rise to acclaim the Portumna star.

But Canning is then off target with a free after Cyril Donnellan was fouled.

Kilkenny are then off target with a long-range free from Richie Power.

A 20-yard free is awarded to Kilkenny and Shefflin goes for goal but his low drive is tipped away by Fergal Moore for a ’65. The resultant point chance is then missed by Shefflin. Early signs of concern for Kilkenny in their shooting with 16 minutes gone.

Galway 1-2 Kilkenny 0-2: 18 mins – Kilkenny are off the mark from play as Richie Hogan taps over a point following a clever pass by Aidan Fogarty.

Galway 1-3 Kilkenny 0-2: 19 mins – Galway respond instantly with Niall Burke catching the ball magnificently from the puck out and after he is fouled, Joe Canning smashes over the free. Canning has another chance to score from play but shoots wide after evading JJ Delaney.

Galway 1-4 Kilkenny 0-2: 20 mins – Canning converts another free, this time after he is fouled himself with JJ Delaney the culprit.

Galway’s defending has been exceptional so far as they have choked the space available to the Kilkenny attack. Aidan Fogarty’s point attempt has just drifted wide.

Galway 1-5 Kilkenny 0-2: 23 mins – Galway’s dream start continues with Niall Burke again offering himself as an effective outlet for long deliveries and on this occasion after he catches the ball, he gets free to notch his first point of the game.

Galway 1-5 Kilkenny 0-3: 25 mins – That’s an excellent and vital point for Kilkenny with TJ Reid doing all the hard work and finishing with a stylish shot.

Galway 1-6 Kilkenny 0-3: 26 mins – One of the real success stories for Galway in this first-half has been Niall Burke. He is causing Brian Hogan great problems and on this latest occasion he wins another free which Canning converts with assurance.

Galway 1-7 Kilkenny 0-3: 28 mins – The confidence Galway are playing with has just been encapsulated by a superb point by wing-back Niall Donoghue. It arrived after superb stick work in a tight space by Andy Smith, Damien Hayes and Cyril Donnellan as they pieced together an intricate move before Donoghue finished it off. The score originated from Smith intercepting a puck out destined for Michael Fennelly as well.

Galway 1-7 Kilkenny 0-4: 29 mins – Kilkenny pull a score back courtesy of Eoin Larkin, his first point of the game, as he scores off his left. Galway full-back Kevin Hynes was hit with a heavy challenge in the build-up to that score and is coming off with Joseph Cooney coming on. It looks a temporary substitution at the moment.

Galway 1-8 Kilkenny 0-4: 31 mins – Galway are seven points clear again with Canning pointing a free after Damien Hayes was felled by JJ Delaney and the Kilkenny defender was yellow card subsequently.

Kevin Hynes is back on the Galway team for Joseph Cooney.

Galway 1-8 Kilkenny 0-6: 34 mins – Henry Shefflin’s freetaking has been unusually below-par to date but he has made amends by firing over two scores in quick succession from placed balls. This is better play from Kilkenny approaching half-time.

Galway 1-8 Kilkenny 0-7: 35 mins – Another pointed free by Shefflin, this time after a foul by Johnny Coen on Colin Fennelly that saw Loughrea player Coen booked.

Galway 1-9 Kilkenny 0-7: 36 mins – Galway placed Kilkenny netminder David Herity under enormous pressure and he ends up fouling the ball which results in a free being awarded that Canning converts.

HALF-TIME: Galway 1-9 Kilkenny 0-7: That score concludes the half and as the teams make their way to the dressing-rooms, it’s Galway who will be the happier as they possess a five-point lead.

Here are the scorers from the first-half.

GALWAY: Joe Canning 1-6 (0-5f), Niall Donoghue, Andy Smith, Niall Burke 0-1 each.
KILKENNY: Henry Shefflin 0-4 (0-4f), Richie Hogan, TJ Reid, Eoin Larkin 0-1 each.

It’s intriguingly placed at half-time with Galway making the early running, inspired by that Joe Canning goal. Kilkenny have come back into it though, cutting a seven-point deficit to five and are still firmly in contention. We’ll be back shortly with all the second-half action.

The two teams are back out on the field after the half-time break and we’re nearly set for the second-half to commence.

Galway 1-9 Kilkenny 0-8: 36 mins – Positive start for Kilkenny with Shefflin pointing a free after Richie Power was dragged down.

Galway 1-10 Kilkenny 0-8: 37 mins – Importantly for Galway, they respond well to that Shefflin free with Niall Burke lofting over a beauty. The situation should have been brighter though with David Burke spurning a good chance to add another point.

Galway 1-10 Kilkenny 0-9: 39 mins – TJ Reid clips over a Kilkenny point but that was gifted to them by a poor clearance from Niall Donoghue which went straight to Richie Hogan and he released possession to Reid.

Galway 1-10 Kilkenny 0-10: 42 mins -  Confusion reigns when Richie Power’s shot from the Cusack Stand side is waved wide by one umpire but awarded by another. The score ultimately stands and the margin is down to three points now.

A setback for Galway as Joe Canning miscues his shot from a free and the ball tails wide.

Galway 1-10 Kilkenny 0-11: 45 mins – Kilkenny’s confidence is rising. Shefflin points a free that was awarded after Richie Power did brilliantly to dispossess Niall Donoghue before being fouled.

Galway need a score to settle their challenge but their latest effort from Cyril Donnellan goes astray in the 48th minute.

Galway 1-10 Kilkenny 0-12: 49 mins – The gap is reduced to one as Aidan Fogarty tears onto a loose ball and taps it over.

Galway 1-10 Kilkenny 0-13: 50 mins – And now we’re level as Shefflin ties the game with a left-handed shot from play. All the momentum with Kilkenny now as they are on top in key sectors.

Galway replace James Regan with Conor Cooney.

Yellow card for Kilkenny’s Kieran Joyce and Galway’s Cyril Donnellan.

Kilkenny 0-14 Galway 1-10: 54 mins – Kilkenny move in front through an outstanding long-range by Shefflin.

Galway 2-10 Kilkenny 0-14: 55 mins – Goal for Galway from Niall Burke!

Galway 2-10 Kilkenny 0-15: 57 mins – This contest is back on. Croke Park erupted to the sound of Galway supporters celebrating a critical goal. It came against the run of play as a long ball broke kindly for Burke and he was able to run in unchallenged before keeping his nerve to finish past David Herity. Shefflin has pulled a free back for Kilkenny but that goal should energize Galway.

What a fantastic save by James Skehill as he blocked a Colin Fennelly shot from close range.

Kilkenny 0-17 Galway 2-10: 60 mins – But Skehill was penalised for lying on the ball after that save and Shefflin fires over the resultant 20-yard free. Jonathan Glynn on the Galway team for Conor Cooney. And Kilkenny have crucially just edged in front through Eoin Larkin.

Galway 2-11 Kilkenny 0-17: 62 mins – Draw game again as Canning points a free after a foul on Cyril Donnellan.

Galway 2-12 Kilkenny 0-17: 64 mins – Brilliant work by Iarla Tannian wins a free and Canning nails it from long-range. Joseph Cooney on for Niall Burke for Galway while Kilkenny replace Colin Fennelly with Matthew Ruth.

Galway 2-12 Kilkenny 0-18: 66 mins – It is incredibly tense here in Croke Park as Shefflin fires over a free to tie the match again. What a finale is in store.

Penalty for Kilkenny after Eoin Larkin is fouled by James Skehill!

Kilkenny 0-19 Galway 2-12: 68 mins – Shefflin is content with the point as he lashes the ball high over the bar. Davy Glennon on for Galway instead of Damien Hayes.

Huge moment as Joe Canning misses a relatively straightforward free from 50 yards for Galway.

Three minutes of injury time to be played. Shefflin hits a wide for Kilkenny and then Iarla Tannian does likewise for Galway.

Free for Galway after Davy Glennon is fouled. Brian Cody is furious with the decision.

Joe Canning points the free.

FULL-TIME: Kilkenny 0-19 Galway 2-13: Incredible drama, it has ended in a draw with Canning the Galway hero.

The replay will be held on Sunday September 30th in Croke Park.

An amazing conclusion to the game. Joe Canning did fantastically to hold his nerve to score that last free after missing one moments before. Here are the scorers from today’s match.

GALWAY: Joe Canning 1-9 (0-8f), Niall Burke 1-2, Andy Smith, Niall Donoghue 0-1 each.
KILKENNY: Henry Shefflin 0-12 (0-10f, 0-1 pen), TJ Reid, Eoin Larkin 0-2 each, Richie Hogan, Richie Power, Aidan Fogarty 0-1 each.

Thanks for joining us this afternoon and for all your comments.

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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