Kilkenny 0-21 Galway 1-14

All-Ireland champions Kilkenny needed points in the 71st and 73rd minutes from Richie Hogan and TJ Reid to finally kill off the challenge of a strong-finishing Galway in the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A clash at Nowlan Park on Sunday.

Beyond the 40-minute mark a slick Kilkenny were looking all over winners when leading by 0-16 to 0-8. 

However, they went badly off track after that and Galway out-scored them by a hefty 1-6 to 0-5 - and still came up short.

The losers had the arrears back to the minimum in the 59th minute after Joe Canning landed a great score, 1-13 to 0-17. Colin Fennelly and Reid, who shot 14 points for the winners, grabbed points to give the home side a bit of breathing space.

But it wasn't much breathing space as Galway swarmed all over them. In fact, the losers shot two wides then before Hogan and Reid got the late, late scores that earned the Cats their second win.

"We were good in the first half and ordinary in the second," was the verdict of Kilkenny manager, Brian Cody. "It was good to get a win against a good team."

His opposite number, Micheal Donoghue had mixed feelings suggesting: "We could have won. We were way off the pace in the first half, but we improved immensely after that."

Kilkenny, after an early scare when Jason Flynn was hooked with the goal at his mercy, looked very good and assured once they found their rhythm. With Reid leading the scoring charge - he had 10 points in this half - they blasted the opposition as they charged into a strong interval lead of 0-13 to 0-5.

Things were still nicely on course for Brian Cody's men during the following 10 minutes or so, even after Richie Hogan missed a great chance of a goal. Slowly but surely the visitors crept back into real contention.

Iarla Tannian sparked the revival with a point in the 48th minute. Canning added a minor before Paul Hoban, the man with No. 2 on his back although playing at wing back, charged up the field to score a top-class goal [0-16 to 1-10].

On Galway roared, but despite giving the Cats a right scare, they came up short in their efforts to save the day.

Scorers - Kilkenny: TJ Reid (0-14, 0-6f, 0-3 65s); J Maher, R Hogan, C Fogarty (0-2 each); C Fennelly (0-1). Galway: J Canning (0-8, 0-3fs); P Hoban (1-0); D Glennon, I Tannian (0-2 each); J Flynn, P Brehony (0-1 each).

Kilkenny: R Reid, S Prendergast, J Holden, J Tyrrell, P Walsh, K Joyce, C Buckley, L Ryan, C Fogarty, C Fennelly, TJ Reid, J Maher, W Walsh, K Kelly, R. Hogan. Sub: J Farrell for Kelly (61).

Galway - J Skehill, F Moore, D Burke, G McInerney, A Harte, D Burke, P Hoban, D Glennon, A Smith, N Burke, I Tannian, C Whelan, C Mannion, J Canning, J Flynn. Subs:  E Burke for C Mannion (ht); M Keating for A Smith (40); P Brehony for C. Whelan (51); J Cooney for I Tannian (59); R. Cummins for Flynn (68).

Referee: B Kelly (Westsmeath).