BGE U21 Semi-Final: Easy win for Kilkenny
Bord Gais Energy All Ireland Under 21 Semi-Final
KILKENNY 8-35 DERRY 0-7
By Declan Rooney at Semple Stadium
Three goals in the opening nine minutes sent Kilkenny on their way to claiming a place in the Bord Gais Energy U-21 All-Ireland semi-final at Semple Stadium in Thurles.
Derry, bidding to reach their first final at this grade, never looked like recovering from that early onslaught.
Kilkenny never looked back from the moment John Donnelly got their opening goal in the second minute, with Shane Walsh and Richie Leahy also hitting the net in that bright start.
Cormac O’Doherty got Derry’s opening score after seven minutes, while Corey Reilly and Daragh Cartin also found the range for the Ulster champions.
But Kilkenny kept pulling away and a goal from Billy Ryan after 17 minutes made it 4-3 to 0-3.
Liam Blanchfield and Sean Morrissey added points before Ryan got his second goal of the match nine minutes from the break.
Ciaran Steele pulled back a point for Derry, but Kilkenny led by 5-12 to 0-4 at the interval after three points from Shane Walsh and one apiece from Donnelly, Blanchfield and John Walsh.
Three points in the opening two minutes after the restart ensured the second-half would be all one-way traffic with the wind behind Kilkenny.
Blanchfield and Alan Murphy extended the lead to 5-17 to 0-4 before Shane Walsh got in for his second goal of the match.
Kilkenny continued to pick off points from all angles and led by 6-28 to 0-4 by the time Cormac O’Doherty got Derry’s opening score of the second-half with eleven minutes remaining.
Brendan Laverty also found the range for Derry with O’Doherty getting his third point of the match five minutes from the end.
But Kilkenny kept extending their lead with Eoin Kenny getting their seventh goal as they qualified for their first U-21 final since 2012.
They will now hope to finish the job and capture their 12th Under 21 crown next month and their first since 2008.
Fourteen players found the target for Kilkenny in this comprehensive win and Eddie Brennan’s team finished with an eighth goal in the closing stages from Luke Scanlon.
Scorers for Kilkenny: Shane Walsh 2-7 (2fs), John Donnelly 1-7, Billy Ryan 2-0, Liam Blanchfield 0-6, Richie Leahy 1-2, Eoin Kenny and Luke Scanlon 1-1 each, Alan Murphy and John Walsh 0-3 each, Niall McMahon, Darren Mullen, Sean Morrissey, Huw Lawlor, and Ryan Bergin 0-1 each.
Scorers for Derry: Cormac O’Doherty 0-3, Ciaran Steele, Darragh Cartin, Corey Reilly, and Brendan Laverty 0-1 each.
KILKENNY: Darren Brennan; Michael Cody, Conor Delaney, Niall McMahon; Darren Mullen, Jason Cleere, Tommy Walsh; Luke Scanlon, Huw Lawlor; Billy Ryan, Sean Morrissey, Richie Leahy; Shane Walsh, John Donnelly, Liam Blanchfield.
Subs: John Walsh for Billy Ryan (21), Aidan Nolan for Jason Cleere (23), Eoin Kenny for Sean Morrissey (half time), Alan Murphy for Richie Leahy (half time), Ryan Bergin for Tommy Walsh (48).
*DERRY: *Francis McEldowney; Conor Kelly, Shane McGuigan, Seamus Higgins; Eamon McGill, Ruairi McCartney, Paddy Turner; Ciaran Steele, Conor McAllister; Thomas Magee, Cormac O’Doherty, Gabriel Farren; Darragh Cartin, Odhran McKeever, Corey Reilly.
Subs: Brendan Laverty for Thomas Magee (half time), Proinsias Burke for Gabriel Farren (half time), Conor McCrystal for Francis McEldowney (38), Shane McKeever for Paddy Turner (43), Sean F. Quinn for Shane McGuigan (53).
*REFEREE: *John O’Brien (Laois).