Kilkenny show plenty of staying power

Kilkenny passed a test of stamina to take back their second Tony Forristal U14 title in three years at Walsh Park on Saturday evening.

Kilkenny  show plenty of staying power

After a gruelling schedule of four games that started just before 11am, captain Conor Heary raised the trophy before the light faded.

The Cats could count on a total team effort to wear down Galway (2-16 to 2-5) as seven players contributed to that handsome final scoreline.

Liam Grant, Heary and Justin Cahill dazzled at different stages up front while number eight Alex Hatt of Rower Inistioge won the man of the match award.

They were earmarked for success early on as they strode past Limerick and Wexford in the group stages before overpowering Tipperary by 18 points (4-11 to 1-2) in the semi-final.

The black and amber pounced after just two minutes of the final. Darach Fahy saved Justin Cahill’s initial strike but Declan Duggan whipped to the corner on the rebound.

The fatigue factor resulted in a low-scoring opening 20. Cahill’s pace caused Galway difficulty and he registered two points from play. They departed six points up (1-5 to 0-2) at the interval.

Although Mark Kennedy started the second half scoring for the Tribesmen, Kilkenny hit back with five on the trot. This included two apiece from Conor Drennan and Conor Heary.

Galway then pounced for two swift goals. Kennedy set up Conor Molloy on 34 minutes before captain Conor Walsh hit an unstoppable shot two minutes later.

Crucially for Kilkenny, Liam Grant put an end to that uprising with a rasper at the other end to finish the job.

Meanwhile, full-forward Killian Murphy netted twice as Cork claimed the Sonny Walsh Cup against Tipperary (3-5 to 1-5). The young Rebels shaded a tight first half (1-5 to 1-3) as Murphy scrambled home after 16 minutes.

Man of the match Shane Curtin from Croke Rovers carried Cork forward from midfield and played a part in both of their second-half goals. His solo run opened the space after 24 minutes and sub Conor O’Donoghue crashed his shot to the far corner. Murphy snatched his second with seven minutes left when he flicked in a long delivery. Aaron Walsh led his team up the steps for the fourth time in five attempts.

The hosts exited the main competition at the group stage. Based at a blustery Mount Sion, goals from James Riordan and Brian Cooke carved out an opening win against Offaly (2-11 to 0-8) before Galway ended their interest in the group decider (3-10 to 1-7).

Twenty two teams from 13 counties took part in 29 matches across five venues. The tournament has been run for the last 33 years to honour the memory of Tony Forristal, the coach who died in 1981 while returning from a match with the Waterford U21 team.

Scorers for Kilkenny: L Grant 1-4; C Heary 0-4; D Duggan 1-0; K Egan 0-3; C Drennan (1f), J Cahill 0-2 each; A Hatt 0-1.

Scorers for Galway: M Kennedy 0-4 (3f); C Molloy, C Walsh 1-0 each; D Jordan 0-1.

KILKENNY: D Mason; S Brennan, J Phelan, C Holland; E Moylan, J Brennan, D Phelan; A Hatt, K Egan; C Heary, L Grant, I Walsh; C Drennan, D Duggan, J Cahill.

Subs: G O’Sullivan for Duggan (h-t); O Brophy for O’Sullivan (40); D Fwamba for Walsh (40).

GALWAY: D Fahy; TJ Brennan, C Lee, J Glynn; C Killeen, C Walsh, S Duffy; E Egan, D Jordan; E Caulfield, N Earner, P Creaven; C Molloy, J Egan, M Kennedy.

Subs: C Lawless for Creaven (h-t); A Clarke for E Egan (27); S Thomas for J Egan (33); D O’Brien for Earner (40); S Joyce for Duffy (40).

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