Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Final: Galway 0-18, Kilkenny 0-18
A superb battle for the Bob O’Keeffe Cup ended in stalemate as Galway and Kilkenny finished level in front of over 40,000 spectators at Croke Park.
They must meet again in Thurles this Sunday, (8th July) at 3pm in what will be their third championship meeting of the season.
Though neither team played to their best at times, the first half was intensive and competitive, with some superb defensive displays. Kilkenny’s traditional catching skills were back as good as ever with Padraig Walsh inspiring from full back and Paul Murphy and Joey Holden holding firm. At the other end, there was a great battle between Daithi Burke and Walter Walsh and Aidan Harte hurled excellently on the left wing.
Forwards struggled to find space, with only eight points from play in the opening 35 minutes. Galway twice led by two points, but the sides were level on five occasions before Kilkenny edged ahead just before the interval, 0-8 to 0-7.
Two of those Kilkenny scores were supplied by debutant Billy Ryan, while goalkeeper Eoin Murphy converted a long-range free and TJ Reid was on target five times – again, four of those were frees.
Meanwhile, wing forward Niall Burke was the only Galway player to register two points from open play in the first half. Joe Canning (two frees), Joseph Cooney, Conor Whelan and Cathal Mannion chipped in with one apiece.
It was obvious as the second half progressed that the result would be in the balance until the final whistle. There were no goals, and little goalmouth drama, but the contest remained enthralling nonetheless.
The sides were level again at 0-11 in the 49th minute when Niall Burke fired over. Cathal Mannion and Conor Whelan gave Galway the edge, but Kilkenny kept coming back, with Walter Walsh and TJ Reid on target.
Micheal Donoghue’s men were just a point ahead with less than five minutes remaining, and when Joe Canning (free) and Joseph Cooney stretched their advantage to three, it seemed that Kilkenny would finally have to settle for defeat.
But, typical of Kilkenny, they came charging back once more through John Donnelly, Enda Morrissey and TJ Reid to force a replay.
Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 0-6 (4f 1 ’65), Niall Burke 0-4, Cathal Mannion 0-3, Joseph Cooney 0-2, Conor Whelan 0-2, Conor Cooney 0-1,
Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 0-10 (8f), Billy Ryan 0-2, Walter Walsh 0-1, James Maher 0-1, John Donnelly 0-1, Ger Aylward 0-1, Enda Morrissey 0-1 Eoin Murphy 0-1 (f),
GALWAY: James Skehill; Adrian Tuohey, Daithi Burke, John Hanbury; Padraig Mannion, Gearoid McInerney, Aidan Harte; Johnny Coen, David Burke; Joseph Cooney, Joe Canning, Niall Burke; Conor Whelan, Conor Cooney, Cathal Mannion. Subs: Jonathan Glynn for Conor Cooney (57), Brian Concannon for Cathal Mannion (65), Jason Glynn for Conor Whelan (70)
KILKENNY: Eoin Murphy; Paul Murphy, Padraig Walsh, Paddy Deegan; Joey Holden, Cillian Buckley, Enda Morrissey; Conor Fogarty, James Maher; Martin Keoghan, TJ Reid, Richie Leahy; Billy Ryan, Walter Walsh, Ger Aylward. Subs: Liam Blanchfield for Martin Keoghan (48), John Donnelly for Richie Leahy (57), Richie Hogan for Ger Aylward (58), Colin Fennelly for Billy Ryan (63)
Ref: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)