Kilkenny senior hurling manager Brian Dowling admitted that he had a few choice words for his side at half-time in their All-Ireland semi-final victory over Galway.

The Cats booked their place in the final against Cork with a 1-13 to 0-12 victory but had to do it the hard way.

After a nip and tuck start to the game, Galway showed just why they were defending champions and had Kilkenny on the ropes at times in the first-half.

The Westerners went into the half-time break leading by 0-08 to 0-06 but it could, and should, have been more. Sarah Healy saw a penalty saved by Aoife Norris who also denied Niamh Hannify what looked to be a certain goal with a fine save.

Dowling admitted that he was disappointed with his side's first-half display but praised the way they reacted and took control of things in the second-half.

"We’re delighted," he told RTÉ Sport. "We came up here today and knew we had to give a massive performance.

"We were disappointed at half-time, I don’t think we got going at all. But at half-time we had a few words and the character they showed was just unbelievable.

"Galway are an absolute super team and they’ve been unbelievable champions the last couple of years in the league and the All-Ireland, we knew we had to be brilliant in the second-half and the girls were.

"We’ve had so many set-backs this year, on and off the pitch. To come back and show that desire today, we’re just absolutely delighted.

"We came up here last year and we lost by a point to Cork four minutes into injury time and that hurts. We said that to the girls at half-time, we don’t want to come back in here losing again and watching the All-Ireland final.

"We’re there now and we have a huge task. Cork are there and they’re a brilliant team so we’ll enjoy tonight and we’ll get back tomorrow and look forward to the final."

Player of the match Michele Teehan was full of admiration for the fight that Galway put up, but having been denied at the same stage this time last season, she has her eyes firmly set on the final.

"We knew we weren’t going to come out of here with a win unless we gave it everything, Galway were always going to be really, really tough. It was and we’re delighted to get out, next step, All-Ireland.

"Credit to Galway, they’re a superb team and it showed out there today, it was an absolute battle. We needed every single person on our panel and everyone stepped up today.

"Cork are obviously outstanding and we know they’re going to be extremely tough as well."