Nothing easy as Tipp and Clare ties roll up

John Knox

Reporter:

John Knox

Defending champions, Kilkenny suffered their second defeat in three outings in the Allianz National Hurling League and now they face a mad scramble for points.

Defending champions, Kilkenny suffered their second defeat in three outings in the Allianz National Hurling League and now they face a mad scramble for points.

During a hectic closing five minutes the Galway goal enjoyed a charmed life as Kilkenny sub, Kevin Kelly and Jonjo Farrell (twice) were deprived of a big score by sharp moving home goalie, Colm Callanan or the intervention of a stick or limb as the Tribesmen claimed a second victory.

The visitors opened smartly playing against the stiff breeze. Richie Hogan and Willie Phelan shot early points but the winners, who often over played the ball, passed them with a minor from deadly free taker, Jason Flynn in the 21st minute (0-6 to 0-5).

The losers had two late points from frees by Richie Hogan to leave them nicely placed at half-time when a mere 0-11 to 0-8 behind.

Galway introduced Joe Canning at the start of the new for his first taste of action in months after recovering from a broken finger. He made a significant contribution when claiming four points, one a ‘Joe Special’ from a 40 metre sideline cut.

At one stage during the half the home team built up a decent lead of 0-17 to 0-12 and they looked in control. However, they lost their way.

Three Kilkenny points in-a-row by Richie Hogan threw the match open again before Hogan retired injured with a hamstring injury which leaves him a doubtful starter for this weekend’s clash with Tipperary in Thurles.

Kilkenny’s John Power had lashed a shot against an upright earlier in the half, and in the dying stages the Galway goal escaped again as Brian Cody’s men threw everything into attack in search of victory.

Kilkenny’s remaining fixtures in Division IA are against Tipperary and Clare (March 22) and they need points desperately if they are to have any hope of defending the title.

Scorers: Galway - Jason Flynn (0-11, seven frees, one 65); Joe Canning (0-4, two frees, one 65); Dean Higgins (0-2); Andrew Smith, James Regan, Cathal Mannion (0-1 each). Kilkenny - Richie Hogan (0-10, eight frees); Lester Ryan, Mark Kelly (0-2 each); Padraig Walsh, William Phelan, Walter Walsh, Jonjo Farrell (0-1 each).