Galway triumph but second-half comeback may see Cats through
Super sub Ian Byrne comes to Kilkenny’s rescue after trailing by 10 at the break
Galway’s Paddy Cummins faces William Halpin of Kilkenny in the Minor Hurling Championship quarter-final group tie at Croke Park. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho
These old rivals both profited after this minor hurling All-Ireland championship quarter-final, Round 2 qualifier at Croke Park on Sunday as the result as good as means both sides will progress to the semi-finals.
Clare, who are also in the qualifiers, will have a say in the proceedings, but they will face a tough challenge in trying to defeat by a substantial score the reigning All-Ireland champions Galway.
Galway, thanks to two goals from corner forward Greg Thomas in the 6th and 28th minutes took a serious grip on the match during the first half to lead by a commanding 2-10 to 0-6 at the break.
Kilkenny were after putting their championship survival in doubt with such a margin, but they produced a stunning showing after the break. They changed their team about, and when lively sub Ian Byrne crashed two goals to the net they had the gap down to 2-10 to 2-11 by the 39th minute.
The game was level at 2-12 each in the 47th minute when Timmy Clifford found the target for the Cats. A goal from the excellent Seán McDonagh re-established Galway’s lead on 50 minutes and from there on they kept the opposition at bay.
After facing a battering in the first half, the Cats won the second half by 2-10 to 1-6 to rescue their season and most likely claim aplace in the last four.
Kilkenny’s seven-point victory over Clare should see them through on points difference at worst.
“We couldn’t be more happy with the effort put in by the team,” insisted Kilkenny manager, Richie Mulrooney. “Hopefully we have done enough.”
GALWAY: M Egan; E Davoren, E Lawless, A Nolan; E Collins, I McGlynn, C Brennan; L Leen (0-1), O Slevin; C Cunningham, S McDonagh (1-7, three frees), T Killeen (0-1); G Lee (0-2), S Morgan, G Thomas (2-2).
Subs: A Connaire (0-2) for Slevin (40); P Cummins for Lee (49); S O’Hanlon for Leen (52); R Howley for Collins (54), C Molloy (0-1) for Killeen (57).
KILKENNY: A Tallis; B Reid, W Halpin, T Roche; P McDonald (0-1), P Moylan, J Aylward; A Hickey, D Walsh; P Blanchfield (0-2), C O’Sullivan (0-1), L Moore (0-1); B Drennan (0-7, six frees), T Clifford (0-2), J Doyle.
Subs: I Byrne (2-2) for Hickey (h-t); Z Bay Hammond for D Walsh (h-t); J McNamara for Doyle (58); S Doyle for Drennan (59)
Referee: T Walsh (Waterford).