Kilkenny too sharp


All-Ireland champions Kilkenny rounded off an excellent year when they won their first Oireachtas hurling final since 1984 in this, the last year of the competition at a wet Nenagh yesterday.

Once again, Kilkenny's quick-fire attack made all the difference and consigned Galway to the role of also-rans in a final that never really sparkled because of the wet and heavy conditions.

Kilkenny shot three goals during an exciting 12-minute spell and, effectively, the game was beyond Galway after that.

The exchanges were close during most of the opening half and twice the scores were level. Galway, with four scores from midfielder Rory Gantley, edged into a 0-7 to 0-4 lead after 23 minutes. John Hoyne pulled back a point for Kilkenny before the goal rush began.

Seconds before the break, DJ Carey touched on a brilliant ball and Charlie Carter raced through for a goal to put the winners 1-5 to 0-7 ahead at the break.

Three minutes into the new half Michael Hoyne lofted in a huge sideline cut from the right and Eddie Brennan fielded at the back post before finding the net.

Galway were in trouble, and the game went beyond them in the 41st minute when Galway goalkeeper Ciaran Callanan fouled a ball in the square and DJ Carey sent a bullet-like free to the net. Kilkenny were home and almost dry.

Kilkenny: M Carey; M Kavanagh, S Meally, D Butler; M Hoyne, E Kennedy (0-1), P Barry; C Brennan, JP Corcoran; E Brennan (1-0), J Power, J Hoyne (0-1); C Carter (1-1), DJ Carey (1-2), H Shefflin (1-1).

Galway: C Callanan; E McDonagh, M Healy, F Gantley; P Walsh, L Hodgins, C Coen; R Gantley (0-7), D O'Brien; D Tierney (0-2), C Moore, C Murray; O Canning (0-2), M Kerins (0-1), D Forde. Subs: E Linnane for Coen (31 mins), K Broderick for Forde (31 mins), F Healy for Moore (47 mins).

Referee: J McDonagh (Tipperary).