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Spoils Shared In Salthill

April 28th, 2024

Galway 2-23 Kilkenny 0-29

By Cian O’Connell at Pearse Stadium

Ultimately, Conor Whelan’s last gasp point, deep into stoppage time, ensured the spoils were divided in Salthill.

Injuries deprived Kilkenny of some key performers, but the trademark black and amber defiance was evident in the west. Derek Lyng’s charges came within a whisker of registering a victory, but Galway struck six of the last eight scores to level.

That bit of Galway grit in the closing stages encouraged the locals in the 9,631 attendance because Kilkenny had enjoyed plenty of productive moments during a lively tussle.

Initially, Galway settled briskly to edge 0-6 to 0-3 ahead by the 11th minute, but the Kilkenny response was impressive. Tom Phelan and Martin Keoghan were causing Galway problems as Galway replied to edge 0-8 to 0-7 in front.

Then Galway pounced for a sweet 20thminute goal when Gavin Lee concluded a move featuring Whelan, Brian Concannon, and Cathal Mannion.

Once more, though, Kilkenny embarked on a burst with TJ Reid (two frees) and Keoghan landing points for the visitors’.

Conor Cooney and Cathal Mannion mined Galway scores, but Kilkenny finished the opening period strongly.

TJ Reid (two), Keoghan, Phelan, and Mikey Butler rifled over points nudging Kilkenny into a 0-16 to 1-9 advantage. Kilkenny’s clinical finishing was perfectly illustrated by an 80 per cent conversion rate prior to the interval.

Buoyed up by the determined manner in which they were competing, Kilkenny’s David Blanchfield scampered forward to drill them 0-19 to 1-11 ahead in the 41st minute.

Lee clipped a point for Henry Shefflin’s outfit before Brian Concannon reacted smartly after a long range Conor Cooney attempt had been blocked by Aidan Tallis to flick a Galway goal. Within seconds Whelan had bravely thumped over an equaliser, 2-13 to 0-19.

It remained interesting with Kilkenny, prompted by substitute Jordan Molloy and the influential John Donnelly, moving 0-26 to 2-16 clear by the 58th minute.

Evan Niland, who made an impact after his introduction, nailed a crucial free in the 59thminute as Galway started to narrow the deficit.

Cianan Fahy and Cathal Mannion also contributed points in Galway’s comeback mission, but when TJ Reid guided over a free late on Kilkenny were 0-29 to 2-21 ahead.

A Niland free left the minimum between the teams and Galway captain Whelan, leading by example inside, landed a sweet levelling point.

Scorers for Galway: Evan Niland 0-7 (6fs), Gavin Lee 1-2, Brian Concannon 1-1, Cathal Mannion and Conor Cooney (2fs, 165) 0-4 each, Conor Whelan 0-3, Cianan Fahy 0-2.

Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 0-8 (6fs, 165), Martin Keoghan and John Donnelly 0-4 each, Cian Kenny and Tom Phelan 0-3 each, Richie Reid and Jordan Molloy 0-2 each, Mikey Butler, David Blanchfield, and Billy Ryan 0-1 each.

Galway: Darach Fahy; Darren Morrissey, Fintan Burke, Pádraic Mannion; Seán Linnane, Cianan Fahy, Daithí Burke; Ronan Glennon, David Burke; Gavin Lee, Thomas Monaghan, Conor Cooney; Cathal Mannion, Conor Whelan, Brian Concannon.

Subs: Jack Grealish for Morrissey (29), Evan Niland for Monaghan (45), Joseph Cooney for David Burke (58), Johnny Glynn for Concannon (58), Jason Flynn for Lee (69).

Kilkenny: Aidan Tallis; Mikey Butler, Huw Lawlor, Tommy Walsh; David Blanchfield, Paddy Deegan, Shane Murphy; Cian Kenny, Richie Reid; Billy Ryan, John Donnelly, Tom Phelan; Martin Keoghan, TJ Reid, Luke Hogan.

Subs: Owen Wall for Hogan (42), Jordan Molloy for Ryan (48), Darragh Corcoran for R Reid (70+2), Gearoid Dunne for Keoghan (70+4).

Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford).

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