We’re instructed it’s all about what occurs contained in the white strains, however typically occasions marginally outdoors also can seize consideration and intrigue.
fter Galway defeated Kilkenny in Salthill, the icy handshake between Brian Cody and Henry Shefflin turned an irresistible a part of the narrative, fuelling hypothesis of strained relations between as soon as indivisible comrades.
If hurling is finally what issues and dictates a crew’s fortunes, the personalities on the periphery are not any much less fascinating or germane. And right here was a handshake that really spoke a thousand phrases. In constructing public curiosity forward of this Leinster closing, it performed a big function.
This time, when the ultimate whistle went, there was no instant handshake, although they did adhere to the usual post-match ritual some minutes later and locked arms. Of the 2, Cody was undoubtedly the happier, having seen his facet grind out a win over a desperately disappointing Galway.
On the day, in a poor match, that they had TJ Reid to thank for a 12-point haul, all from positioned balls, as they gained their third provincial title in succession. Adrian Mullen scored 4 factors from play, and in injury-time, Pádraig Walsh sealed the victory with a rating having come off the bench. The tv man-of-the-match award went to their pocket of vitality, Mikey Butler, who made a collection of defensive interventions within the second half as Galway tried to get again into the sport, backed by a powerful wind.
However Shefflin’s facet proved unable to hit the excessive gears and had been responsible of standard fouling, although some awarded by James Owens had been questioned by their followers in a small crowd, the stadium not far more than 1 / 4 full.
Since shedding in Salthill, Kilkenny had defeated Dublin nicely after which misplaced troublingly at Nowlan Park for the primary time within the championship, counting on superior rating distinction to make their fifth provincial closing on the trot. Defeat to Galway a second time would have meant a 3rd loss within the one championship; that hardly augured nicely, for all of Kilkenny’s famend spirit and willingness to struggle tooth and nail to the dying.
Galway had been aiming for a primary Leinster title since 2018, however after topping the spherical robin and exhibiting probably the most consistency, they flopped. Conor Whelan did all he might, scoring 4 factors from play, and Conor Cooney completed with 0-9, one from a sideline and one from play, the remaining from lifeless balls. However Brian Concannon was taken off, scoreless, and Cathal Mannion additionally failed to attain. Tom Monaghan and Johnny Coen began in the course of the sector; each had been taken off.
If Shefflin is frowned on in Kilkenny for relocating west of the Shannon, then that place may need extra forex had the highway to the Kilkenny job had not been blocked off, nonetheless within the grip of the determine who has managed extra All-Eire senior wins than every other, a successful streak of 11 in 16 seasons. However the final was in 2015 and that clock is ticking extra loudly and fewer sympathetically than ever. Cody would by no means admit to strain or admit to at least one match being extra essential than one other, but this had critical penalties for him and the crew beneath his cost.
They weren’t fantastic, however they gouged out a win, sufficient to see them take their place within the All-Eire semi finals in 4 weeks. Galway will now should shake themselves down and put together for a quarter-final in two weeks.
Kilkenny have been in a state of fixed flux this yr and we might even see extra crew upheaval come the semi-final. Solely six of their beginning facet have began all six matches up to now. A few of that’s all the way down to damage, however there’s a variety of motion across the midfield and half-forward zones. Huw Lawlor returned to full-back as anticipated after damage instead of Conor Delaney, whereas Richie Leahy didn’t final the complete match. Cian Kenny, restored to midfield, was additionally known as ashore. However having led by simply two factors at half-time, having performed with the wind, they refused to permit Galway get again on degree phrases within the second interval.
Mullen and Paddy Deegan picked off long-range scores within the first half, however they had been aggrieved when TJ Reid was denied a attainable rating from a free 24 minutes after Hawk-eye didn’t operate when known as on after an umpire on the close to submit was unsure.
That might have been a metaphor for the match itself, which didn’t sparkle or ignite. Whelan hit two pleasant scores, one on the spin, one other from an acute angle whereas hugging the sideline, however moments like these had been sporadic in a sport spoiled by frequent stoppages.
There have been a variety of purpose probabilities, principally falling Galway’s means. Within the eighth minute, Conor Cooney took a cross from Pádraic Mannion and picked out Concannon, however as he was about to shoot for purpose, Eoin Murphy rushed out and made a significant block. Ten minutes later, Galway wanted their very own goalkeeper’s intervention, Éanna Murphy making a sensible save to disclaim a flicked effort from Eoin Cody after a excessive ball broke within the sq..
Exchanges received heated after a foul on Richie Reid led to gamers squaring up to one another and led to a yellow card for Kilkenny selector James McGarry in addition to Galway’s Joe Cooney. However even that didn’t elevate the depth of the hurling, which felt extra like a league sport than a Leinster closing.
After the Hawk-eye name, Cianan Fahy hit a positive rating from play, however Kilkenny responded nicely with three factors again to again, book-ended by a good looking rating from Conor Cooney after catching his keeper’s puck out. Close to half-time, Whelan had a shot at purpose stopped by Murphy and Galway spoiled a promising alternative when Concannon’s cross to a well-placed Whelan left him an excessive amount of to do. They went in 0-11 to 0-9 in entrance.
Galway had wind after the interval, however they struggled to claw again the Kilkenny lead. Ten minutes into the half, Whelan received on a ball that got here off the upright, however his shot was saved with ease by Murphy. The extra it went on, the extra it appeared like Kilkenny’s day.
Scorers – Kilkenny: TJ Reid 0-12 (11fs, 1 65); A Mullen 0-4; P Deegan 0-2; M Keoghan, B Ryan, R Leahy, P Walsh 0-1 every. Galway: C Cooney 0-9 (5 fs, 1 lb, 2 65s); C Whelan 0-4; C Fahy 0-2; F Burke, P Mannion (f) 0-1 every.
Kilkenny: E Murphy; M Butler, H Lawlor, T Walsh; M Carey, R Reid, P Deegan; C Fogarty, C Kenny; A Mullen, B Ryan, R Leahy; TJ Reid, M Keoghan, E Cody. Subs: C Browne for Kenny (ht); W Walsh for Leahy (45); P Walsh for Ryan (54); J Donnelly for Keoghan (60);
Galway: E Murphy; J Grealish, Daithi Burke, D Morrissey; P Mannion, G McInerney, F Harte; T Monaghan, J Coen; C Fahy, J Cooney, C Cooney; C Mannion, C Whelan, B Concannon. Subs: J Flynn for Monaghan (44); R Glennon for Fahy (55); David Burke for Coen (60); G Lee for Concannon (70).
Referee: J Owens (Wexford).