Kilkenny closed out the season as it began, with a defeat in a frees shoot-out. This time they were beaten after a terrific comeback by All-Ireland champions of 2017, Galway in the inaugural Wild Geese Trophy hurling exhibition game in Sydney.
The Cats opened the season with a defeat by Wexford in the Walsh Cup final in Nowlan Park, and now they closed it with a loss in the Spotless Stadium.
The Cats looked well placed nearing the end of the first half when 14 points ahead. Galway, however, dug themselves out of trouble and after forcing a late draw with a goal from Joe Mooney they won the 65 metre frees shoot-out 4-3.
After the scores were level early on, Kilkenny inched ahead with a brace of points from both James Maher and Richie Hogan. By the end of the quarter they were 0-9 to 0-5 in front.
The gap went up to six points before Ger Aylward got in for the first goal, and not long afterwards he repeated the act.
When Richie Hogan weighed in with a point from a free, Kilkenny were 2-14 to 0-6 clear and their hurling was thrilling the big crowd.
Galway steadied the ship with points from Cathal Mannion and a goal from Niall Burke, and by the break the deficit was back 2-15 to 1-10.
On Galway roared. Between the 40th and 50th minutes they were on fire, out-scoring the opposition by 1-5 to 0-1 with Mannion contributing the goal. Even when Galway had a man red carded they never relented.
When Davy Glennon nabbed their third goal the gap was down to the minimum. Kilkenny hit back through through Walter Walsh, but Galway still refused to go away.
The eventually winners forced the issue to a frees shoot out after Joe Mooney lashed home a goal, and they won the match in the shoot-out.
SCORERS: Galway - Cathal Mannion (1-4); Joe Canning (0-7, five frees, one 65); Niall Burke (1-3, points frees); Davy Glennon (1-1); Joe Mooney (1-0); Aidan Harte, Brian Concannon (0-2 each); C onor Whelan, Shane Moloney, Johnny Coen, Fearghal Flannery (0-1 each). Kilkenny - Richie Hogan (0-11, six frees, two 65s); Ger Aylward (2-0); Walter Walsh (1-2); James Maher (0-3); Conor Fogarty, Richie Leahy (0-2 each); Martin Keoghan, Jason Cleere, Liam Blanchfield, John Donnelly, Luke Scanlon (0-1 each); Eoin Murphy (0-1, free).
GALWAY - Fearghal Flannery; Paul Killeen, Daithi Burke, Sean Linnane; Padraic Mannion, Gearoid McInerney, Aidan Harte; Johnny Coen, Sean Loftus; Joseph Cooney, Joe Canning, Jason Flynn; Conor Whelan, Niall Burke, Cathal Mannion. Subs - Davy Glennon for C. Whelan; Brian Concannon for J. Cooney; Shane Bannon for P. Killeen; Joe Mooney for J. Coen; Colm Callanan for F. Flannery; Jack Coyne for J. Flynn.
KILKENNY - Eoin Murphy; Enda Morrissey, Huw Lawlor, Conor Browne; Jason Cleere, Conor Delaney, Conor Fogarty; Liam Blanchfield, James Maher; Martin Keoghan, Richie Hogan, Richie Leahy; Ger Aylward, Walter Walsh, John Donnelly. Subs - Bill Sheehan for G. Aylward; Luke Scanlon for J. Donnelly; Conor Martin for L. Blanchfield; Pat Lyng for R. Leahy.
Referee - James Owens (Wexford).
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