A 63rd minute point from sub Enda Fahy just as extra time was beckoning earned Galway a dramatic victory over Kilkenny in a high class All-Ireland minor hurling semi-final in Croke Park this afternoon.
Galway led twice, via the first and last points, and Fahy’s priceless late, late strike rounded off a strong second half effort that saw them out-score the opposition by 1-6 to 1-2.
Kilkenny conceded the opening point to deadly finisher, Jack Canning, but when Jim Ryan got to the end of a cross from the right by Conor Heary he finished a good move to the net.
The Cats had the advantage, and with the team working really hard throughout the field they drove on well.
At half-time the losers showed 1-6 to 0-6 in front after playing against the wind, and the expected tight nature of the contest looked sure to play out as had been predicted.
Galway upped the tempo after the turn and they pulled back early points through Conor Walsh (free) and Canning. The next score was Kilkenny’s second goal. The scorer was Eoin Cody after he was placed by Heary.
The losers looked nicely placed when 2-6 to 0-8 front, but when they conceded a penalty goal to Canning within 90 seconds they simply didn’t have time to build on the advantage. Galway drew level on 40 minutes when Sean Bleahane burst through three tackles before shooting a point at the Canal End.
After missed chances at both ends, Kilkenny won back the lead through Adrian Mullen in the 45th minute (2-7 to 1-9). Galway earned parity again, and again through Bleahane.
Again the Cats won back the lead through Mullen (65), but after Galway sub Donal Mannion levelled that left the door open for Enda Fahy to decide it all against brave Kilkenny, who played out the closing minutes with 14 men.
SCORERS: Galway - Jack Canning (1-4, goal penalty); Sean Bleahane (0-3); Conor Walsh (0-2, frees); Conor Molloy, Donal Mannion, Enda Fahy (0-1 each). Kilkenny - Adrian Mullen (0-4, two frees, one 65); Eoin Cody (1-1); Jim Ryan (1-0); James Brennan, Niall Brassil, Eoin O’Shea (0-1 each).
Kilkenny - Dean Mason; Tommy Ronan, Michael Carey, Darragh Walsh; James Brennan, Conor Flynn, Jordan Molloy; John Dowd, Niall Brassil; Eoin O’Shea, Conor Heary, Jim Ryan; Eoin Cody, Adrian Mullen, Sean Ryan. Subs - Daithí Barron for S. Ryan; Jack Kelly for E. O’Shea; Niall Brennan for J. Ryan.
Galway - Darach Fahy; Caimin Killeen, Damiel Loftus, Darren Morrissey; Ronan Glennon, Conor Caulfield, Mark Gill; Conor Fahey, John Fleming; Martin McManus, Conor Walsh, Ben Moran; Sean Bleahane, Conor Molloy, Jack Canning. Subs - Shane Ryan for Fleming; Donal Mannion for C. Molloy; Conor Elwood for B. Moran; Enda Fahy for M. McManus.
Referee - Johnny Murphy (Limerick).