Galway deny Kilkenny back-to-back titles

 

Galway 2-15 Kilkenny 2-11:Galway were crowned this year’s All-Ireland Minor Hurling champions after a pulsating Galway 2-15 to 2-11 win over Kilkenny at Croke Park to reverse the result from this fixture in last year’s final.

Galway captain Richie Cummins was instrumental and his two first half goals set up the Tribesmen’s stall early on. Inevitably Kilkenny put on a spirited second-half comeback but ultimately their efforts came up short as manager Mattie Murphy celebrated his fifth title with the minors.

In the early stages both side were level on five occasions, but Kilkenny lost their accuracy towards the end of the half.

Cathal Kenny had shot the Cats ahead for the first time in the ninth minute, while Cummins had earlier netted on the rebound after goalkeeper John Power had kept out Ronan Badger's sixth minute snapshot.

The Cats hit back within two minutes with a Martin Gaffney goal, his well taken effort steered past Fergal Flannery from Cillian Buckley's assist.

From there Galway upped the pace and put together a string of scores through Niall Burke and Jason Grealish. They could have forged further ahead when Burke drove in a free but Badger denied Richie Doyle.

Cummins scored his second goal in stoppage time in the first period, finishing from close range to send Galway into the break 2-9 to 1-5 ahead.

Kilkenny refocused and came out fighting at the start of the second half

Buckley ripped through the Galway defence to blast home a fine 40th minute goal, and Canice Maher cut what had been a seven points deficit back to a single point.

Galway kept their noses in front with scores from Donie Fox and midfielder David Glennon. Kilkenny had their backs to the wall and required some strong defending from centre back Richie Doyle to avoid going further behind.

Galway piled on the pressure and were rock solid in defence with Daithi Burke, Joseph Cooney and Brian Flaherty all up to the task.

Moloney and midfielder David Glennon fired over late points which edged Murphy's men to a famous win.

Kilkenny: J Power, J Lyng, D Kenny, I Duggan, J Gannon, R Doyle, L Harney, C Kenny (0-2), O Walsh (0-1), G Brennan, S Kehoe (0-1), C Buckley (1-2), M Gaffney (1-3, 0-3f), W Walsh (0-1), C Maher (0-1).
Subs: S Phelan for Kehoe (h-t), G Aylward for Walsh (51), P Walsh for Brennan (56)

Galway: F Flannery, J Coen, D Burke, Conor Burke, M Keating, B Flaherty, J Cooney, J Regan, D Glennon (0-2), D Fox (0-2), N Burke (0-4, 1f, 1 '65), J Grealish (0-2), R Cummins (2-1), R Badger, S Moloney (0-3, 1f, 1 '65).
Subs: M Horan for Keating (21), T Haran (0-1) for Badger (45), N Keary for Grealish (52)

Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath)