Colin Fennelly scored a fine goal in the first half
Kilkenny are back on the All-Ireland senior hurling championship trail. The Cats won a sensational semi-final in Croke Park today when unseating courageous champions, Limerick in a game of incredible intensity.
In the end a mere one point divided the teams after nearly 76 minutes of a battle that brought intensity to a new level.
Brian Cody, who has guided Kilkenny to 11 All-Ireland wins during a peerless reign, will now prepare his players for the final in three weeks time against either Tipperary or Leinster champions, Wexford, who play the second semi-final tomorrow.
In the end Limerick followers wondered about a late 65 they might have been awarded that might have earned them an equaliser, but although he admitted the call was wrong, their manager John Kiely suggested that was one of those things.
Kilkenny, whose early pace and touch was unreal, exploded out of traps. With the aid of a 14th minute goal from Colin Fennelly they led by a good 1-8 to 0-2 after 17 minutes.
Limerick stormed back, and with the aid of a penalty goal from Aaron Gillane on 35 minutes they had the gap back to 1-12 to 1-9 at half-time, although they had played with the breeze.
No one gave an inch after the change of ends. Limerick were chasers all the way, however.
At one stage they fell five points off the pace (1-20 to 1-15) but they simply refused to give in.
On a few occasions subsequently they had the gap back to one and two points, but they just couldn’t get level and the Cats clung on for a magnificent victory.
It was a powerful hurling day for Kilkenny, with the minors also qualifying for the All-Ireland final when they beat Munster champions, Limerick.
SCORERS: Kilkenny - TJ Reid (0-8, seven fres, one 65); Colin Fennelly (1-3); Adrian Mullen (0-4); Walter Walsh (0-2); Padraig Walsh, John Donnelly, Richie Hogan, James Maher (0-1 each). Limerick - Aaron Gillane (1-9, seven points frees, goal penalty); Shane Dowling (1-0); Diarmaid Byrnes (0-2, one free, one 65); Graeme e Mulcahy (0-2); Tom Morrissey, Peter Casey, Barry Nash, David Reidy 0-1 each).
Kilkenny - Eoin Murphy; Paul Murphy, Huw Lawlor, Joey Holden; Conor Fogarty, Padraig Walsh, Paddy Deegan; Conor Browne, Richie Leahy; John Donnelly, TJ Reid, Walter Walsh; Adrian Mullen, Colin Fennelly, Richie Hogan. Subs: Cillian Buckley for Richie Leahy 34the emin; Bill Sheehan for Richie Hogan 46th min; Billy Ryan for Donnelly 51st min; Liam Blanchfield for Walter Walsh 64th min; James Maher for Fogarty 67th min.
Limerick - Nickie Quaid; Sean Finn, Mike Casey, Richie English; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Dan Morrissey; Cian Lynch, William O’Donoghue; Gearoid Hegarty, Kyle Hayes, Tom Morrisssey; Aaron Gillane, Graeme Mulcahy, Peter Casey. Subs: Barry Nash for Declan Hannon (ht); Darragh O’Donovan for William O’Donoghue 58th min; David Reidy for Tom Morrissey 64th min; Pa Ryan for Peter Casey 67th min.
Referee - Alan Kelly (Galway).
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