Glenmore’s Ger Aylward enjoyed a dream first start with the Kilkenny senior team when the Cats walloped Wexford in the Leinster hurling semi-final in Nowlan Park.
The 23-year-old bagged a whopping 3-5 as the Cats booked a place in the final against Galway in Croke Park on Sunday, July 5 (4pm). The Cats were on fire and scored a commanding 5-25 to 0-16 victory.
“That was enjoyable, but today is over and it is all about Galway and the next game now,” Aylward suggested afterwards.
The Cats will be doubly employed in Croker. Their minor team will also be in action on July 5. They proved too strong for Laois in their semi-final, winning by 2-18 to 0-11.
Wexford barely got time to draw a breath before they began to wilt under Kilkenny’s heavy pressure game. They conceded the first goal to Richie Hogan in the ninth minute.
Eoin Larkin added a point shortly afterwards before Aylward was put clear by Hogan to bag a second goal to open out a gap of 2-3 to 0-3 after only 12 minutes.
Kilkenny were awarded a penalty in the 28th minute following a foul on T.J. Reid, and the Ballyhale Shamrocks man slammed the free shot to the net as the Cats built up a commanding 3-7 to 0-10 lead by the interval.
There was no respite for the losers after the turn as Kilkenny maintained their strong hurling beat. Aylward completed his hat trick of goals with strikes in the 47th and 52nd minutes (5-15 to 0-14) as the opposition simply fell asunder.
The winners were on fire, and the full house in Nowlan Park lapped up every moment of what was a very impressive performance. Nearing the end long servers, Jackie Tyrrell and Eoin Larkin were withdraw after playing very well, and both were accorded a huge ovation by fans.
Wexford have drawn Cork in the Qualifiers, while Kilkenny will be chasing a 70th Leinster title next month.
Scorers: Kilkenny - Ger Aylward (3-5); T.J. Reid (1-7); Richie Hogan (1-5); Eoin Larkin (0-3); John Power (0-2); Michael Fennelly, Cillian Buckley, Kevin Kelly (0-1 each). Wexford - Ian Byrne (0-11); David Redmond (0-2); Andrew Shore, Paul Morris, Liam Og McGovern (0-1 each).