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Good afternoon, there’s clouds about but nothing can overshadow the hurling we have in store at Croke Park.

Kilkenny take on Galway at 4pm in the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship final and we’ll talk you through every important puck of a ball.

Get in touch with your thoughts, opinions, predictions and, if you’re in Fitzgerald Stadium, your view of the action. You can get us all the usual ways: tweet @The42GAA, find us on Facebook here or just email Sean@The42.ie.

Here’s how the sides will line-up for today’s provincial decider.

Galway

1. Colm Callanan (Kinvara)

2. Johnny Coen (Loughrea)
3. John Hanbury (Rahoon-Newcastle)
4. Padraig Mannion (Ahascragh-Fohenagh)

5. Fergal Moore (Turloughmore)
6. Iarla Tannion (Ardrahan)
7. Daithi Burke (Turloughmore)

8. Andrew Smith (Portumna)
9. Aidan Harte (Gort)

10. David Burke (St Thomas’s)
11. Cyril Donnellan (Padraig Pearses)
12. Johnathan Glynn (Ardrahan)

13. Davy Glennon (Mullagh)
14. Joe Canning (Portumna)
15. Cathal Mannion (Ahascragh-Fohenagh)

Kilkenny

1. Eoin Murphy (Glenmore)

2. Paul Murphy (Danesfort)
3. Joey Holden (c) (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
4. Jackie Tyrrell (James Stephens)

5. Padraig Walsh (Tullaroan)
6. Kieran Joyce (Rower Inistioge)
7. Cillian Buckley (Dicksboro)

8. Michael Fennelly (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
9. Conor Fogarty (Erins Own)

10. Walter Walsh (Tullogher Rosbercon)
11. Richie Hogan (Danesfort)
12. T J Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks)

13. Ger Aylward (Glenmore)
14. Colin Fennelly (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
15. Eoin Larkin (James Stephens)

Unreal stat flung out by Darragh Maloney after he eventually calmed Joe Brolly down, Brian Cody chasing his 38th title as a manager. Glittering doesn’t cover it.

Change in that Kilkenny line-up, Walter Walsh moves to midfield with Michael Fennelly out through illness. John Power comes in at half forward.

Here’s the revised Kilkenny line-up.

1. Eoin Murphy (Glenmore)

2. Paul Murphy (Danesfort)
3. Joey Holden (c) (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
4. Jackie Tyrrell (James Stephens)

5. Padraig Walsh (Tullaroan)
6. Kieran Joyce (Rower Inistioge)
7. Cillian Buckley (Dicksboro)

10. Walter Walsh (Tullogher Rosbercon)
9. Conor Fogarty (Erins Own)

22. John Power (Carrickshock)
11. Richie Hogan (Danesfort)
12. T J Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks)

13. Ger Aylward (Glenmore)
14. Colin Fennelly (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
15. Eoin Larkin (James Stephens)

Here’s the pre-match team photos in Croker.

The Kilkenny team Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

 

The Galway team Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

Who looks hungrier?

Intriguing to see how Kilkenny will react to Fennelly’s absence. More importantly, can Galway exploit it?

THROW-IN:

2Mins

Galway 0 – 00 Kilkenny 0 – 02

Walter Walsh gets his side off to a great start with a long range score off the left.

Ger Aylward follows it up by nipping in behind the Galway defence and firing over.

3Mins

Galway 0 – 02 Kilkenny 0 – 02

Glynn responds in fine fashion for Galway and Cathal Mannion booms in a long range effort from the right flank to level the game up.

4Mins

John Power shows excellent stick control, raiding up the right wing, but he’s caught and Galway prove the stronger in tight exchanges, Johnny Glynn comes away with the ball and wins a free as he’s hooked in the act of clearing.

5Mins

Up goes Joe Canning, takes the sliotar out of the air and is awarded the free.

He’s deadly from 40 yards.

Galway 0 – 03 Kilkenny 0 – 02

7Mins

This lad is no doubt enjoying the tenacity of Galway’s early defence.

Galway fan Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

9Mins

Kieran Joyce was down getting treatment and he’s shook himself down and put himself back in the game.

From the resulting dead ball, TJ Reid scampered around left of the covering Galway defence and blasts over a levelling point.

Galway 0 – 03 Kilkenny 0 – 03

12Mins

It’s all square, but Galway’s defence deserve a huge amount of credit for that. Colin Fennelly has been forced to shoot from an acute angle and it trailed wide.

You can’t keep them out for long though, the ball breaks to TJ Reid on the left touchline and he sets it sailing between the sticks.

Galway 0 – 03 Kilkenny 0 – 04

13Mins

Galway 0 – 04 Kilkenny 0 – 04

Another Joe Canning free, another Joe Canning point, a third occasion where the sides are level.

16Mins

The bad news for Galway is that this is not going to be an off day for TJ Reid, he nails a 65 to edge the Cats ahead again.

Canning levels it up at the other end with his third free.

Galway 0 – 05 Kilkenny 0 – 05

17Mins

Richie Hogan is off the mark. Both sides in a nice rhythm, but unable to really grab a hold of the game and deny their opposition.

Galway 0 – 05 Kilkenny 0 – 06

19Mins

Here come Kilkenny. Fennelly receives the ball on the left flank, takes a second to steady himself before letting fly with a right handed shot that bisects the posts.

Galway 0 – 05 Kilkenny 0 – 07

20Mins

Canning given a chance for his fourth, and he grabs it to keep the Tribe in touch.

Galway 0 – 06 Kilkenny 0 – 07

23Mins

As Aylward lets fly with another Kilkenny wide, Marty Morrissey points out that Galway currently have no wides, 100% accuracy.

But Kilkenny have converted more, their eight courtesy of Conor Fogarty, steaming through the middle and latching on to a hand pass before finishing.

Galway 0 – 06 Kilkenny 0 – 08

Flag 24Mins

TJ Reid from under the Hogan Stand. Glorious strike, this time from the right touchline, he makes it look effortless.

Galway 0 – 06 Kilkenny 0 – 09

26Mins

The very next play finds Reid under a high ball 20 yards out from goal. He’s fouled and gets an easy chance for his fifth point of the game.

Galway 0 – 06 Kilkenny 0 – 10

27.30Mins

Galway’s defence were finally stretched by the black and amber. Aylward drove at the heart of the under-manned fullback line and attempted a shot. It was blocked, but Reid plucked the ricochet out of the air and danced right of the keeper before blasting in to the net.

29Mins

David Burke comes up with a score to stem the flow for Galway, but has TJ already done irreparable damage?

Galway 0 – 07 Kilkenny 1 – 10

31Mins

Galway 0 – 08 Kilkenny 1 – 10

Fergal Moore unleashes an almighty strike from long range. Galway could do with a few more inspirational scores like that.

32.30Mins

You want inspirational? Joe Canning is the man to deliver it. The forward caught a high ball in on the run and in, one fluid motion, spun and blasted the sliotar past the keeper.

A stunning goal.

35Mins

Now it feels like Kilkenny need to halt Galway momentum and Larkin does just that, collecting breaking ball and guiding it between the sticks.

Galway 1 – 08 Kilkenny 1 – 11

Flag 36Mins

Colm Callanan takes aim with a 70-yard free, but he sends it left for Galway’s first wide of the day.

Despite Canning’s wonder-goal, TJ Reid is dominating this game and his goal has the Cats ahead.

HALF-TIME: Galway 1 – 08 Kilkenny 1 – 11

35Mins

Here we go, the second half is under way.

37Mins

We’re level again and it’s thanks to a superb finish from Flynn who broke into space after challenging for the ball in the air.

Bearing down on goal, he kept his cool and blasted the ball near post after giving the keeper the eyes and sending him the wrong way.

39Mins

Galway 2 – 09 Kilkenny 1 – 13

TJ Reid (who else?) responds for Kilkenny from a dead ball. Richie Hogan follows that up to give the Cats some breathing space again.

41Mins

Ooomph! Cyril Donnellan wheels out of contact and hits a right handed shot while falling and it goes, high, majestically all the way over the bar.

Colin Fennelly hits back instantly though. Kilkenny you feel have the big game nous to put the foot down when they need to.

Galway 2 – 10 Kilkenny 1 – 14

44Mins

Galway 2 – 10 Kilkenny 1 – 15

Ger Aylward gets in on the act now. Seems a long time since his first score of the game, his second keeps Kilkenny ticking over. They’re riding out the storm that Galway sent their way.

45Mins

Another free from Canning. Croke Park is strangely quiet for a one-point game.

Galway 2 – 11 Kilkenny 1 – 15

49Mins

Galway 2 – 10 Kilkenny 1 – 17

There’s Aylward again, superb score from the sideline after Kilkenny’s defence had to put in a big shift to prevent Galway chiselling out a score.

Hogan follows it up with another hammer blow, booming over a long range right-handed point.

52Mins

Galway 2 – 11 Kilkenny 1 – 18

And the gap is four as TJ Reid lashes over a, for him, unmissable free from 15 yards.

53Mins

Galway 2 – 11 Kilkenny 1 – 19

TJ Reid has missed one or two today, honest. Just not this latest free from the right flank.

57Mins

Eoin Larkin!

The 2008 hurler of the year delivers a vintage score off the left from 50-60 yards on the angle.

Canning responds with a close-range free, but bar two goals, Kilkenny have limited Galway to that sort of opportunity.

Galway 2 – 12 Kilkenny 1 – 20

60Mins

Galway 2 – 13 Kilkenny 1 – 20

Joe Canning allowed a rare bit of space in play and he comes up with the goods. This came just a few seconds after a very poor wide from Walter Walsh. Maybe Kilkenny are easing off the pedal now.

63Mins

Galway 2 – 14 Kilkenny 1 – 22

Cyril Donnellan follows up that score and Galway are back within a goal.

Before you can blink however, Richie Hogan comes up with the response, converting an easy score after the puck-out is contested. Walter Walsh scores off the next attack too and the air is taken back out of the Tribal balloon.

65Mins

Galway 2 – 15 Kilkenny 1 – 22

It’s a three-point ball game again as Canning points after Kilkenny give away another free from the imaginary 20-yard semi-circle protecting their goal.

66Mins

Yet with every glimmer of hope, there’s an even brighter spark from Kilkenny. Reid and Larkin combine to cut Galway apart for the 24th time.

Galway 2 – 15 Kilkenny 1 – 23

69Mins

Galway 2 – 15 Kilkenny 1 – 24

TJ Reid gets two bites at a free as Galway are penalised for waving a hurley in front of him. The second is on message with everything else he’s done today, perfect.

Flag 72Mins

FULL-TIME: Kilkenny are Leinster Hurling Champions for the 70th time

Eoin Larkin finished off this game with a flourish, setting the sliotar sail from the left wing to between the posts.

Final score: Galway 2 – 15 Kilkenny 1 – 25

Thanks for stopping in and following the action here, it was in the melting pot at times, but ultimately Kilkenny kept cool and continued to keep the scoreboard ticking up and out of Galway’s reach.

Kilkenny take the O’Keefe Cup again, but they’ve got a bigger prize in mind in the first post-Henry year.

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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