Galway claw back Cats at the death

John Knox

Reporter:

John Knox

Kilkenny 3-22 Galway 5-16 Galway finished like an express train, and after trailing by 10 points with nine minutes to go, and nine with five remaining, they ended up grabbing a late draw in a thrilling Leinster senior hurling championship semi-final in Tullamore today.

Kilkenny 3-22 Galway 5-16

Galway finished like an express train, and after trailing by 10 points with nine minutes to go, and nine with five remaining, they ended up grabbing a late draw in a thrilling Leinster senior hurling championship semi-final in Tullamore today.

And the Cats nearly stole a win at the death. Two minutes into ‘lost time’ Henry Shefflin shot a superb lead point from 35 metres on the left sideline.

However, within seconds Galway ace Joe Canning landed an equally brilliant point from the same distance at the town end to force the tie to a replay, which will be played at the same venue next Saturday.

The ticket into the Leinster final against Dublin looked to be Kilkenny’s when the excellent T.J. Reid pointed a free in the 62nd minute to send them a comfortable looking 3-20 to 2-13 ahead.

Within seconds Kilkenny goalie, Eoin Murphy, brought off a class save from Joe Canning at the expense of a 65, which was pointed by Conor Cooney. The Galway revival was on!

The Westerners next raid netted a point for Jason Flynn. Reid posted a replay before Conor Cooney bagged a goal at the other end (3-21 to 3-15).

Suddenly the game was out of control on everyone, and it was a mad dash to the finishing line. Within a minute Galway netted again. It was Conor Cooney who applied the finish after a delightful cross by Joseph Cooney.

It was a one score game (3-21 to 4-15) with 68 minutes showing on the clock.

Beyond the 70 minute mark sub Jonathan Glynn got a run at the Kilkenny goal, and he was rugby-tackled to the ground by defender, Cillian Buckley. Joe Canning blasted the penalty to the net to level the scores.

There was one last kick in the Cats. Henry Shefflin, who had come on a sub, rifled over the lead point two minutes into additional time. The game looked theirs again!

No so! Galway stormed back and Joe Canning shot a magnificent equaliser after claiming the puck-out.

“We are only at half-time in this tie,” insisted Galway manager, Anthony Cunningham afterwards. “The replay could go either way.”

It was a close game through. After a tough first half, the teams were level at 1-9 each at the break.

SCORERS: Kilkenny - T.J. Reid (1-8); Colin Fennelly (1-3); Richie Hogan (0-5); Eoin Larkin (1-1); Padraig Walsh (0-2); Tommy Walsh, Aidan Fogarty, Henry Shefflin (0-1 each). Galway - Conor Cooney (2-7); Joe Canning (2-3); Niall Burke (1-2); Jason Flynn (0-2); Andrew Smith, Jonathan Glynn (0-1 each).

Referee – Johnny Ryan (Tipperary).