By Kevin Egan
An unfamiliar Kilkenny team crashed to defeat at the hands of DIT tonight as goals from Wexford duo Conor McDonald (2) and Jack Guiney, and a final major from Cian O’Donoghue, wrapped up a 4-14 to 0-16 win for the students at Dunmore.
County under-21 manager Eddie Brennan took charge of the Cats and he selected a youthful team featuring none of the All Ireland winning side from last September.
That didn’t appear to hold them back in the early stages of the first half as they held DIT scoreless between the 13th and the 29th minute, tacking on six points of their own to build up an 0-9 to 0-3 lead.
Michael Kenny of Lisdowney was on target with six placed balls in the contest, four in the first half, while half forward line colleagues Gary Tynan and Eoin Brennan also found their range.
Goals from McDonald and Guiney turned the contest on its head shortly before half time however and left the students 2-5 to 0-9 in front at the interval.
Kilkenny and DIT are in action in the Bord Na Mona Walsh Cup tonight! pic.twitter.com/2PovLbMyCB— Sportsfile (@sportsfile) January 13, 2016
Kilkenny continued to press after half time but a second major from McDonald left them with a mountain to climb and they were a beaten docket by the time O’Donoghue came off the bench to score against his native county.
The win leaves Kilkenny in need of a landslide victory this Sunday in Birr If they’re to have any chance of overtaking Offaly at the top of Group 1 in this year’s Walsh Cup competition.
Galway’s place in the last four is looking far more secure however as they made it two wins in four days at Ballinasloe tonight.
The Tribesmen pulled clear in the latter stages of their contest with NUIG to record a 1-21 to 1-12 win over Tony Ward’s students at Duggan Park in Ballinasloe, with Joe Canning (0-9, 0-7f, 0-1 sl) and Bobby Duggan (1-9, 0-8f) each in fine scoring form from placed balls for their respective sides.
The groundsmen are working hard to prepare the pitch ahead of tonight's match between Galway and NUIG! pic.twitter.com/RYptSESnKT— Sportsfile (@sportsfile) January 13, 2016
NUIG got off the mark first but Galway enjoyed the better of the play throughout the first half and should have been much further in front at half time, shooting eight wides before taking a 1-10 to 0-8 advantage into the dressing room.
Duggan kept NUIG in contention with frees while Brian Molloy was the leading light in the Galway attack, picking off two points and blasting a fine goal to the roof of the NUIG net after a wonderful catch and handpass from Canning.
NUIG had a glorious chance to pull themselves right back into the game shortly before half time when Conor Whelan was put through on goal and was dragged down before he could get his shot away, but referee Tony Carroll decided that a 20m free rather than a penalty was the correct call. Duggan went for goal from the free, but James Skehill was able to deflect his shot over the bar.
Galway made the faster start after half time but they opened the door for an NUIG comeback midway through the half when they failed to clear their lines and allowed Ryan Taylor and Conor Whelan to set up Duggan for a stunning twenty metre shot to the top corner, cutting the gap to three points – 1-14 to 1-11.
Galway’s greater power and scoring ability came to the fore from then on however and Eanna Burke (0-5) and Padraig Brehony (0-4) tacked on a string of scores to eventually pull the hosts nine points clear and effectively secure their place in the Walsh Cup semi-final line up.