Galway deny back-to-back minor titles for Cats

Galway deny back-to-back minor titles for Cats

Galway 2-15 Kilkenny 2-11

Galway lifted their eighth ESB All-Ireland Minor Hurling title in impressive fashion with a 2-15 to 2-11 win over Kilkenny at a wet Croke Park this afternoon.

Seven Galway players got on the scoresheet as they gained avenged last year's final loss.

Both sides gave their all in a hard-fought game, with the result very much in doubt until the closing stages.

Galway, managed by Mattie Murphy, drew first blood with Donie Fox slotting over the first of his two points.

However this score was quickly cancelled out by a Cillian Buckley effort for the Cats.

Neither side gave an inch early on, and the game was tied on three occasions in the opening five minutes before Galway eventually exerted some dominance.

They did not have to wait long for their first goal, which came following an excellent team move.

Galway charged forward and Ronan Badger squared the ball off to the inrushing Richie Cummins who powered the ball to the back of the net with ease.

Kilkenny responded with a Walter Walsh point, and although Galway captain Cummins quickly cancelled out this score - the Cats would hit a purple patch soon after.

Kilkenny were forced to work hard for their scores, but Martin Gaffney's ninth-minute goal was certainly worth the wait.

The Dicksboro clubman had goals on his mind from the off, and gave little change to the Galway defence as he carved through them before planting a powerful shot past goalkeeper Fergal Flannery.

Cathal Kenny followed up with a quick-fire point as Kilkenny took the lead, but they failed to score for the remainder of the half as Galway gained momentum once more.

Centre-forward Niall Burke was central to Galway's revival. He scored four points before Cummins rounded the half nicely with his second goal in injury-time - ensuring a 2-9 to 1-5 interval lead.

Kilkenny responded strongly on the restart, but Galway always held an extra edge.

The Cats began the second half in determined fashion with points from Gaffney and Ollie Walsh, before netting their second goal.

Cillian Buckley cut through the Galway defence like a knife through butter, as his bursting run from 50 metres finished with a measured finish to the net.

A Canice Maher point cut the deficit to the minimum by the 41st minute, but this was as close as Kilkenny would get to victory as Galway kept on top.

After the game, Galway captain Cummins lifted the Irish Press Cup on behalf of his side.

GALWAY: F Flannery; J Coen, D Burke, C Burke; M Keating, B Flaherty, J Cooney; J Regan, D Glennon (0-2); D Fox (0-2), N Burke (0-4, 2f, 1 65), J Grealish (0-2); R Cummns (2-1), R Badger, S Moloney (0-3, 1f, 1 65).

Subs used: M Horan for Keating (20 mins), T Haran (0-1) for Badger (45), N Keary for Grealish (52).

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, 3f), W Walsh (0-1), C Maher (0-1).

Subs used: G Aylward for W Walsh (52 mins), P Walsh for Brennan (56).

Referee: James McGrath (Westmeath)

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