Kilkenny hold off Clare in extra-time to set up minor hurling decider with Tipperary

Kilkenny close in on first minor title since 2014

Clare's Seán McNamara challenges Kevin Buggy of Kilkenny during the Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship semi-final at FBD Semple Stadium. Photograph: Tom Maher/Inpho
All-Ireland MHC semi-final: Kilkenny 2-23 Clare 2-20 (after extra-time)

Jake Mullen’s 13 points saw Kilkenny dethrone All-Ireland champions Clare after a titanic extra-time tussle at Semple Stadium on Sunday.

The brother of senior star Adrian got the key scores to set up a final against neighbours Tipperary, with the Cats now one game away from a first All-Ireland minor title since 2014.

After Mullen’s opening point, Kilkenny struck a remarkable 10 wides in a row across the next 15 minutes. Clare scored 2-3 in that spell to lead by eight, with goals coming off their first two scores via a Conor Ralph rebound and Paul Rodgers’ strike.

Kilkenny’s wides included a 10th-minute Mullen penalty miss after Ollie O’Donovan had been chopped down.

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They got back on track with a goal when Conor Holohan bounced the sliotar through the keeper’s legs to leave them trailing 2-6 to 1-4 at half-time.

Mullen was brought out the field after the break and his six points drew the sides level by the three-quarter mark as Clare’s wide tally rose into double-figures.

In the 47th minute, Kilkenny moved ahead when O’Donovan found the bottom corner at the second attempt for a 2-11 to 2-8 lead.

They led by four as late as the 58th minute but Clare kept running at them and reeled off points from Darragh McNamara and Harry Doherty (0-3) to level.

Kevin Buggy looked like he had won it but Rodgers equalised again in the final seconds of the four added minutes to make it 2-15 apiece and trigger extra-time.

Kilkenny rebuilt their four-point lead with scores from Mullen (0-2), Buggy, and an incredible Patrick Lacey effort. It went from bad to worse for Clare when Rodgers received a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident at the end of the half with the scoreboard reading 2-20 to 2-16.

Matthew Corbett struck three frees but Kilkenny held on with scores from Mullen, Robbie Doherty, and Lacey’s second.

Kilkenny: J O’Doherty; O Henderson, L Phelan, B Brennan; D Barcoe, J Dollard, M Rohan; K Buggy (0-2), E Brennan; R Doherty (0-3), B McDermott (0-3), C Holohan (1-0); O O’Donovan (1-0), J Mullen (0-13, nine frees), J Cody. Subs: L Raggett for Dollard (12 mins-h-t, blood), Raggett for B Brennan (h-t), E Cahill for Cody (38), C Byrne for McDermott (58), P Lacey (0-2) for E Brennan (58), C McEvoy for Holohan (73), A Clifford for Cahill (73), D Behan for Barcoe (79, inj).

Clare: M Crotty; S Óg Kilkenny, S McNamara, D Moroney; R Mulcahy, J Cullinan (0-1), D Kennedy (0-1); G Ball, M Corbett (0-5, five frees); P Finneran (0-1), T Lohan, H Doherty (0-7, four frees); C Ralph (1-2), P Rodgers (1-1), L Murphy. Subs: R Hayes for G Ball (41 mins), D McNamara (0-1) for Lohan (45), D Ball for Corbett (52), J O’Connor (0-1) for Ralph (53), M Vaughan for Finneran (60), Finneran for Vaughan (66), E Crimmins for Kennedy (h-t e-t), Corbett for Finneran (h-t e-t).

Referee: C Cunning (Antrim).