Fáilte chuig leinstergaa.ie - suíomh oifigiúil Comhairle Laighean CLG

Cats Show Their Class

April 21st, 2024


By Paul Keane at UPMC Nowlan Park

Kilkenny’s bid for a five-in-a-row of Leinster SHC titles is up and running with a goal glut on home soil propelling the holders to a comprehensive Round 1 win.

Veteran talisman TJ Reid finished with 1-5 and was rested early in the second-half as the 2022 and 2023 All-Ireland finalists eased to the 32-point win in front of 2,855.

Substitute Owen Wall, fresh off a terrific club campaign in 2023 with the nearby O’Loughlin Gaels club, helped himself to 2-2 also while Billy Drennan, who top scored with 1-6, and Gearoid Dunne raised green flags as well.

The Cats had a dozen different scorers in all and will expect a more significant challenge next Sunday when they travel to face Galway in Salthill, a repeat of the last two provincial finals.

The chief downside for boss Derek Lyng was the number of injuries picked up during this big win.

Goalkeeper Eoin Murphy and attackers Adrian Mullen and Eoin Cody were all replaced after knocks with Cody, who left the field after twisting his ankle, appearing to be in most trouble.

Antrim had a decent opening quarter hour or so and trailed by just a point at that stage but they will reflect on a difficult second quarter when the game got away from them.

Cian Kenny’s 16th minute point for the Cats began a period of dominance that resulted in the hosts outscoring Antrim by 1-10 to 0-3 before the interval.

Kilkenny took a while to find their feet initially and a couple of passages of play highlighted this.

In the eighth minute, for instance, a quartet of Kilkenny players tossed the ball around in the danger zone, a move that ended with Martin Keoghan hammering a shot wide. It felt like a couple of passes less would have done the trick while, three minutes later, Keoghan again had a score attempt that this time ended with a miscued strike.

Then when Kilkenny were awarded a 22nd minute penalty following a foul by the goalkeeper on Keoghan – resulting in a black card for ‘keeper Ryan Elliott – Reid couldn’t convert as substitute goalie Tiernan Smyth pulled off a terrific flying save.

Smyth was rewarded for his excellence by being kept on the pitch after the sin-bin period for Elliott was up.

Kilkenny soon found their groove though and with Antrim finding it difficult to get the ball out of their own half and to overcome the Cats’ heavy press, chance after chance was created.

Nine different Kilkenny players got on the scoresheet in the first-half, the same amount of wides they tallied, as they surged 1-15 to 0-7 clear at the interval.

Kilkenny moved up a gear after the restart and laid siege to the Antrim goal for the majority of the second-half.

Wall and Drennan made powerful impacts as subs and Antrim were simply unable to prevent the black and amber deluge of scoring, particularly in the final quarter.

Kilkenny outscored Antrim by 3-7 to 0-2 in the closing 10 minutes with Dunne, Wall and Drennan all increasing their takings with handsome goals, Drennan rounding out the goal-scoring with a converted penalty in the 71st minute.

To underline just how dominant Kilkenny were, they also ran up 20 wides on the afternoon. Antrim will attempt to bounce back on home soil next Saturday afternoon when Wexford visit Corrigan Park.

Kilkenny scorers: Billy Drennan 1-6 (1-0 pen, 0-2f, 0-1 65), Owen Wall 2-2, TJ Reid 1-5 (0-3f), Gearoid Dunne 1-1, Cian Kenny 0-4, John Donnelly 0-3, Martin Keoghan 0-3, Paddy Deegan 0-2, Adrian Mullen 0-1, Richie Reid 0-1, Mikey Carey 0-1, Shane Murphy 0-1,

Antrim scorers: Conal Cunning 0-7 (0-7f), James McNaughton 0-2, Conor McCann 0-1, Nigel Elliott 0-1, Eoghan Campbell 0-1, Conal Bohill 0-1

Kilkenny: Eoin Murphy; Mikey Butler, Huw Lawlor, Shane Murphy; David Blanchfield, Paddy Deegan, Mikey Carey; Cian Kenny, Richie Reid; Adrian Mullen, John Donnelly, Tom Phelan; Martin Keoghan, Eoin Cody, TJ Reid.

Subs: Gearoid Dunne for Mullen 15, Aidan Tallis for Murphy h/t-f/t blood, Owen Wall for Cody 39, Billy Drennan for TJ Reid 45, Billy Ryan for Phelan 54, Tommy Walsh for Butler 62.

Antrim: Ryan Elliott; Paddy Burke, Ryan McGarry, Phelim Duffin; Scott Walsh, Eoghan Campbell, Conal Bohill; James McNaughton, Niall O’Connor; Michael Bradley, Nigel Elliott, Niall McKenna; Conal Cunning, Conor McCann, Seaan Elliott.

Subs: Tiernan Smyth for McKenna 21, McKenna for Ryan Elliott 33, Joseph McLaughlin for Bradley h/t, Rory McCloskey for Walsh 58, Conor Boyd for McKenna 60.

Referee: Shane Hynes (Galway).

Carlow GAA
Dublin GAA
Kildare GAA
Kilkenny GAA
Laois GAA
Longford GAA
Louth GAA
Meath GAA
Offaly GAA
Westmeath GAA
Wexford GAA
Wicklow GAA