Kilkenny 0-12 Galway 3-14
Reporting by Marisa Kennedy in Croke Park
Galway are the Electric Ireland minor champions for the third year running following an 11-point win over Kilkenny in Croke Park this afternoon.
Man-of-the-match, Sean McDonagh, was once again in superb form for the Tribesmen, registering 2-8, including a penalty on the stroke of half-time, while Ruben Davitt’s goal in the ninth minute set the tone for the comprehensive victory for Brian Hanley’s side.
The game began at blistering pace when Tiernan Killeen opened the scoring after less than a minute before Billy Drennan quickly replied with a free. Kilkenny had their homework done on Galway’s danger men and repeatedly cut out the opportunistic ball heading in the direction of Sean McDonagh and Alex Connaire. As a result, Galway were forced to shoot from afar and it led to four wides in the opening six minutes.
Their fortunes changed just two minutes later when Ruben Davitt gathered a long ball and rounded his marker before burying his side’s opening goal. They could have had another when Shane Morgan followed a delivery right into the square however the danger was quickly dealt by goalkeeper, Aidan Tallis.
Kilkenny defended in packs to great effect but the tactic left them lacking options upfront with Timmy Clifford, Colman O’Sullivan and Billy Drennan isolated. Eventually, O’Sullivan was able to create space for himself on the wing to knock over his second of the day, reducing Galway’s lead to two points. Both sets of defences were guilty of conceding cheap frees and Drennan and McDonagh were kept busy throughout.
As the half closed out, the game became more open once again and Alex Connaire thundered into life. He took advantage of a stray Kilkenny block down to register his first score of the game, however, that was cancelled out by Drennan who was finding joy out on the wing. Kilkenny were dealt a huge blow on the stroke of half-time when Greg Thomas was dragged down inside the square. McDonagh buried the penalty past Tallis gifting Galway a five-point lead at the break.
Galway’s top scorer extended his tally in the early stages of the second period with two pointed frees in quick succession. The Tribesmen were relentless in attack with Thomas and Davitt getting points on the board, the latter with a terrific piece of skilled control and a finish from the hurley. However, some of their shooting lacked clinical finishing and their wide count was stretched to 11 by the 40-minute mark.
— The GAA (@officialgaa) August 18, 2019
Drennan registered Kilkenny’s first score of the second half in the 42nd minute and Peter McDonald and Liam Moore soon followed suit. Just as the Cats looked to launch a comeback, Galway struck for their third goal. Thomas sent a magnificent back-handed pass to McDonagh who found himself unopposed in front of goal and finished with style. With the lead now standing at 10 points, Galway pushed on with McDonagh pointing his fifth free before Killeen added his second point of the day.
Kilkenny: Aidan Tallis; Billy Reid, William Halpin, Tristan Roche; Peter McDonald (0-1), Padraic Moylan, Zach Bay Hammond; Liam Moore (0-1), James Aylward; Pierce Blanchfield, Timmy Clifford (0-1), Colman O’Sullivan (0-2); Billy Drennan (0-6, 5f), Jack Doyle, Ian Byrne.
Replacements: Denis Walsh for Blanchfield (37), Andy Hickey for Aylward (44), Braedon Wheeler (0-1) for Byrne (52), Aran Murphy for Drennan (59)
Galway: Michael Egan; Christy Brennan, Eoin Lawless, Adam Nolan; Enda Collins, Ian McGlynn, John Cooney; Liam Leen, Alex Connaire (0-1); Colm Cunningham, Sean McDonagh (2-8, 1-0 pen, 5f, 1 65), Tiernan Killeen (0-2); Ruben Davitt (1-2), Shane Morgan, Greg Thomas (0-1).
Replacements: Gavin Lee for Cunningham (45), Sean O’Hanlon for Morgan (51), Eanna Davoren for Collins (55), Colm Molloy for Davitt (59), Niall Glynn for Thomas (61).