Kilkenny too strong for Galway in Thurles
Cats to meet Tipperary in hurling league final after seven-point win over Tribesmen
Kilkenny's Richie Hogan under pressure from Paul Killeen and Iarla Tannian of Galway at Semple Stadium. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Kilkenny 1-24 Galway 1-17: Kilkenny went through to an Allianz Hurling League final against Tipperary after they were far too strong for Galway in Semple Stadium.
Despite a decent opening to the game by Anthony Cunningham’s side, Kilkenny put them away without too much fuss, ending the game 1-24 to 1-17 ahead.
In truth it could have been any margin they liked. The whole rhythm of the first half was interrupted by a sickening clash of heads between Galway captain Fergal Moore and the Kilkenny hero of last year’s All Ireland final replay Walter Walsh.
With Galway leading 1-2 to 0-3 thanks in the main to Cyril Donnellan’s fourth-minute goal, the two players clashed on the sideline, leading to play being held up for almost 10 minutes. Walsh went off to get stitches but it was Moore who came off worse. He was stretchered off, although the Galway doctor reported that he suffered nothing more serious than concussion.
The hold-up seemed to throw Galway out of kilter and from there to the end of the half, they only added another four points to their total.
Kilkenny, meanwhile, added 12. Eoin Larkin was close to faultless from frees and 65s and the outstanding Lester Ryan chipped in with three points from midfield.
Galway had little more than the occasional Joe Canning free to contribute, leading to a half-time scoreline of 0-15 to 1-6 in Kilkenny’s favour. Any hope they had of finding a way back was stymied from early on in the second half as Richie Hogan put his stamp on proceedings.
Three fine points from the Danesfort man were only punctuated by a Canning 65. And although Galway goalkeeper Colm Callanan was almost single-handedly keeping the score respectable – his two saves from Richie Power were astonishing – they bowed to the inevitable on 46 minutes when Colin Fennelly finally beat him.
Fennelly’s goal, scuttled along the ground when he pulled on a loose ball after a high one in from Ryan, put Kilkenny nine points up.
Galway stuck to their task – with Donnellan especially reluctant to give up the chase – but the game was well beyond them.
KILKENNY: E Murphy; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan, K Joyce; L Ryan (0-3), M Rice (0-2); W Walsh, R Power (0-1), E Larkin (0-10, 0-5 frees, 0-3 65s); C Fennelly (1-0), R Hogan (0-5), A Fogarty (0-2).
Subs: M Ruth for W Walsh, (temp) 9-26 mins; Ruth for W Walsh, 55 mins; C Buckley for C Fennelly, 62 mins
GALWAY: C Callanan; F Moore, K Hynes, N O’Donoghue; J Coen, D Collins, A Harte (0-2); I Tannian, J Conney (0-1); C Donnellan (1-3), C Cooney, D Burke (0-1); D Glennon, J Canning 0-7 (0-5 frees, 0-2 65s), D Hayes (0-1).
Subs: A Smith (0-1) for Moore, 9 mins; P Kileen for Donoghue, 26 mins; J Glynn for C Cooney, 47 mins; J Regan for Hayes, 55 mins
Referee: D Kirwan (Cork)