- Richie Hogan sums up his delight as Kilkenny reach another league final.
- Galway midfielder Joe Cooney felt his side never drove on from a positive start against Kilkenny in the semi-final.
- Brian Carthy on Kilkenny's comfortable victory.
- The Kilkenny selector praised the team's second half performance against Galway despite playing against the wind.
Holders Kilkenny are through to a third successive Allianz National Hurling League Division 1 final.
The League and All-Ireland champions saw off Galway 1-24 to 1-17 in Sunday's second semi-final at Semple Stadium.
14,210 spectators watched the Cats set up a final showdown with Tipperary on 5 May, despite manager Brian Cody’s absence from the touchline following heart surgery.
Eoin Larkin hit 0-10 for the winners, including nine points from placed balls.
Joe Canning was Galway’s leading scorer with 0-08 but the Portumna star failed to score from play.
At half-time, Kilkenny led by 0-15 to 1-6, having fought back from a sluggish start.
Cyril Donnellan’s fourth minute goal handed the Tribesmen a 1-1 to 0-0 lead in a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland final but the Noresiders proved too hot to handle.
And they killed the game stone dead in the 46th minute when Colin Fennelly pounced from close range for Kilkenny’s goal.
The game was overshadowed, however, by a serious injury sustained by Galway captain Fergal Moore.
The Turloughmore defender was involved in a sickening tenth-minute collision with Kilkenny’s Walter Walsh – and stretchered off the pitch.
A semi-conscious Moore was reportedly transferred to hospital in Clonmel, where he is understood to be suffering from concussion.
Walsh was also forced off with a blood injury following the clash but later returned, before being substituted in the second half.
Kilkenny’s win, meanwhile, sets up a repeat of the 2009 League decider against Tipperary.
That fixture was played at Semple Stadium but this latest collision between two of hurling’s heavyweights has been confirmed for Nowlan Park in a fortnight’s time.
Kilkenny produced their best form of the campaign just when they needed it most to overturn their early-season defeat at the hands of Anthony Cunningham’s Galway.
And they had stars all over the pitch – as Richie Hogan chipped in with five points from play.
Lester Ryan, one of the real finds of this League campaign, bagged three points from midfield and his partnership with Michael Rice at centre field was the platform for this comfortable win.
Galway were disappointing but Donnellan, Aidan Harte and goalkeeper Colm Callanan deserve honourable mentions for their endeavours.
Callanan pulled off two brilliant saves to deny Richie Power – one in each half.
KILKENNY: E Murphy; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, JJ Tyrrell; T Walsh, V Hogan, K Joyce, L Ryan (0-03), M Rice (0-02); W Walsh, R Power (0-01), E Larkin (0-10, 0-06f, 0-03 65s); C Fennelly (1-00), R Hogan (0-05), A Fogarty (0-02).
Subs: M Ruth for W Walsh (55), C Buckley (0-01) for Fennelly (62).
GALWAY: C Callanan; F Moore, K Hynes, N Donoghue; J Coen, D Collins, A Harte (0-02); I Tannian, J Cooney (0-01); C Donnellan (1-03), C Cooney, D Burke (0-01f); D Glennon, J Canning (0-08, 0-06f, 0-02 65s), D Hayes (0-01).
Subs: A Smith (0-01) for Moore (inj, 15), P Killeen for Donoghue (26), J Glynn for C Cooney (46), J Regan for Hayes (57).
Referee: D Kirwan (Cork).