Kilkenny 3-10, Clare 1-15
POWERHOUSE goals in either half saw a resurgent Kilkenny secure their second set of National Hurling League points, writes Trevor Spillane.
Strikes from Lester Ryan and Aidan Fogarty did the damage as the Cats saw off the challenge of a spirited Clare at chilly Cusack Park on Sunday, grabbing the win that pushed them back into the hunt for a league semi-final berth.
After sharing the scores in an even opening 30 minutes, Kilkenny took a lead they would never lose when Lester Ryan, who had ghosted in behind the Clare defence, gathered an Eoin Larkin pass and lashed the sliotar past Banner netminder Patrick Kelly (2-7 to 1-7).
Clare came out full of fire for the second half and worked hard to claw the Cats back. They got the gap down to a single point but their wayward shooting yielded six wides, errors which came back to haunt them when Aidan Fogarty drilled a bullet-like strike past Kelly with 50 minutes on the clock (3-7 to 1-9).
Twice more Clare reduced arrears to a single point, but that ever-growing second half wides tally (it was into double figures by the hour mark) cost them dearly.
Kilkenny are one of four teams on four points in the Division 1A table (Waterford have five, Clare, Cork, the Cats and Tipp have four apiece with Galway on three). Beat Cork at Nowlan Park this Sunday, and they’ll reach the league semi-finals.
See this week’s Kilkenny People for full report and match reaction from Cusack Park.
Kilkenny - E. Murphy, P. Hogan, K. Joyce, C. Fogarty, T. Walsh, B. Hogan, P. Walsh, L. Ryan, M. Fennelly, M. Rice, R. Power, E. Larkin, G. Aylward, R. Hogan, A. Fogarty. Subs: C. Fennelly for Rice, 43 mins; W. Walsh for Power, 53 mins; M. Ruth for Aylward, 59 mins.
Clare - P. Kelly, D. O’Donovan, D. McInerney, S. Morey, B. Bugler, P. Donnellan, P. O’Connor, N. O’Connell, Conor Ryan, Colin Ryan, T. Kelly, F. Lynch, J. Conlan, S. O’Donnell, C. Galvin. Subs: E. Barrett for McInerney, 49 mins; D. Honan for Lynch, 63 mins.
Referee - A. Stapleton (Laois).