Cats end Galway's reign as U21 champs

Cats end Galway's reign as U21 champs

Kilkenny 4-16 Galway 2-15

Kilkenny ended Galway’s reign as All-Ireland U21 Hurling champions with a storming display at Semple Stadium.

The Cats banged in four goals as they powered their way to an emphatic victory and a place in the final against Clare.

Ten points ahead early in the second half, the Leinster side were pegged back by two Galway goals, but recovered their composure to finish strongly.

Galway started strongly, with three Niall Burke points, two of them from frees, with Davy Glennon and James Regan also finding the target as they moved into a 0-5 to 0-2 lead.

But Kilkenny quickly realised that they had to get their challenge up and running,a nd they did so in devastating fashion with three goals in a devastating 11 minute spell.

Skipper Kevin Kelly swept over a couple of points got their challenge up and running, and then they struck a major blow in the 12th minute when midfielder Ollie Walsh charged through the middle and drilled home their opening goal.

Padraig Walsh and Ger Aylward added points, and they continued to press forward with purpose, and deservedly bagged a second goal, when John Power fired in an angle shot which beat Fergal Flannery at the far post.

Aylward grabbed Kilkenny’s third goal in the 23rd minute, and when they added three points in quick succession to open out a 10 points lead, the Tribesmen were in deep trouble.

But they responded with a strong finish to the half, Burke converting two frees and Tadhg Haran also firing over along range effort.

Kilkenny led by 3-9 to 0-11 at the break, and stretched their lead with a fourth goal inside three minutes of the restart, Power blasting home a penalty after Aylward had been hauled down.

It was desperation stakes for Galway at this stage, but they dug in and averted some dangerous situations, thanks to Daithi Burke at full back, well assisted by Joseph Cooney and Johnny Coen.

And they got themselves back in te game when Davy Glennon charged through and booted home a 48th minute goal.

Kilkenny were able to pick of points through Cillian Buckley and Kelly, but the Connacht men struck for a second goal on 52 minutes, a superb solo effort from wing back Cooney.

Haran’s third score of the contest left just three points between the sides, but Kilkenny sensed the danger and stepped up the tempo once again.

They scored the last four points of the game to underline their superiority, with

Kelly, Power, Aylward and Walter Walsh the marksmen as they strode to a deserved victory

Kilkenny scorers: John Power 2-1 (1-0 pen), G Aylward 1-3, W Walsh 1-0, K Kelly 0-6 (4f), P Walsh, C Buckley, W Walsh 0-2 each.

Galway scorers: D Glennon 1-1, J Cooney 1-0, N Burke 0-8 (5f), T Haran 0-3 (2f), R Commins, J Regan, J Glynn 0-1 each.

Galway: F Flannery, B Flaherty, D Burke, J Grealish, J Coen, D Burke, J Cooney, P Brehony, T Haran, R Commins, N Burke, J Regan, C Cooney, J Glynn, D Glennon.

Subs: P Killeen for Brehony, S Moloney for Commins

Kilkenny: D Walsh, J Corcoran, W Phelan, B Kennedy, L Harney, R Doyle, J Lyng, G Brennan, O Walsh, K Kelly, P Walsh, C Buckley; W Walsh, J Power, G Aylward.

Subs: M Gaffney for P Walsh.

Referee: J Sexton (Cork).

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