/ GAA

Kilkenny 1-16 Galway 0-15

Updated: Sunday, 20 Apr 2014 19:08 | Comments

Kilkenny are 70 minutes away from completing a hat-trick of League titles
Kilkenny are 70 minutes away from completing a hat-trick of League titles

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Padraig Walsh was the star of the show for Kilkenny as they beat Galway 1-16 to 0-15 to reach the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 final.

The Cats gave a powerful display in the second half to come back from a five-point deficit at the break, with their half-back line dominant.

Galway showed heart and endeavour in the first half but gradually were ground down by their harder-working opponents, who will now be chasing their third League title in a row in the decider.

The game was evenly poised early on with the teams going point-for-point in the opening quarter.

Michael Fennelly opened Kilkenny’s in the fourth minute before Andy Smith equalised a minute later.

Scores from Henry Shefflin, Colin Fennelly and TJ Reid, from a free, matched that of Galway’s Conor Cooney, Niall Burke and a monstrous free that Galway goalkeeper Colm Callanan hit from 100 yards.

Daithi Burke was immense, winning the tussle in the Galway half-back line, while Brian Kennedy was keeping tabs on the returning Joe Canning at the edge of the square.

Shefflin’s wonderful effort from over his right shoulder was the Cats' last point until just before the break as Galway went on a scoring spree.

St Thomas' star Conor Cooney came to the fore for Galway as his five points in a row, added to an effort from Cathal Mannion, gave Galway a 0-11 to 0-6 lead at the break with TJ Reid’s free the final score of the half.

However, as so often happens with Brian Cody’s side, the Cats raced out of the traps in the second 35 minutes.

Five points in a row got them back on level terms, three frees from Reid and Shefflin and Colin Fennelly adding to their tallies with a point each.

Andy Smith replied for Galway but it mattered little as a Padraig Walsh point and another from Colin Fennelly, added to a superbly taken goal from John Power, gave Kilkenny some breathing space for the first time at 1-13 to 0-12 in the 54th minute.

Kilkenny never looked back from there, despite some defiance from Cooney and David Burk as points from Cillian Buckley, and another each for Shefflin and the superb Padraig Walsh sent the Cats roaring into the final.

Cooney had a chance to bring the Tribesmen to within a point with a late 20-metre free (above) but the Cats defence blocked his goalbound shot.

Kilkenny: E Murphy; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, B Kennedy; P Walsh (0-02), B Hogan, C Buckley (0-01); M Fennelly (0-01), R Hogan; W Walsh, C Fennelly (0-03), TJ Reid (0-05, 0-04f); J Power (1-00), M Kelly, H Shefflin (0-04). Subs: L Ryan for W Walsh (56 mins), A Fogarty for R Hogan (65).

Galway: C Callanan (0-01, 0-01f); J Coen, R Burke, D Collins; A Harte, J Cooney, Daithi Burke; David Burke (0-01), P Brehony; N Burke (0-01), C Cooney (0-08, 0-03f, 0-01 ’65), A Smith (0-02); J Canning (0-01), J Glynn, C Mannion (0-01). Subs: D Glennon for N Burke (46 mins), D Hayes for Brehony (56), K Hynes for Smith (62), J Flynn for Mannion (69).

Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath).

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