All Ireland MHC Final: Galway retain title
2020 All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship Final
GALWAY 1-17 KILKENNY 1-14
By David Connors at MW Hire O'Moore Park, Portlaoise
An injury time Liam Collins goal ultimately proved the difference and when the dust settled was all that separated the teams as Galway secured their 14th All-Ireland Minor Hurling title and their tenth since 2000 to continue their incredible recent dominance at the grade in what was a Covid-delayed 2020 competition finale.
It was a historic win for Brian Hanley’s side as the victory means Galway become the first team to win four successive Irish Press Cups and a remarkable fifth minor All-Ireland in six seasons.
From a Kilkenny standpoint, it was the first time in their proud history that they lost three minor finals on the bounce also and though a spirited second half comeback they were just pipped at the post by Collins’ goal.
However it was Galway’s day, as they made a mockery of their lack of competitive action since their August 2019 All-Ireland win, finding themselves 0-8 to 0-1 to the good shortly after the first half water break after mesmerising opening quarter from Galway’s dynamic duo of corner forwards Liam Collins and Colm Molloy, in particular, who combined for their side’s opening eight points in a high quality first half performance.
Like their Brian Cody-led senior counterparts though, Kilkenny certainly were not going to go down without a fight and as they gradually began to get a foothold of proceedings in the second quarter, only trailed by a much more manageable four points at the half-time break, on a scoreline of 0-10 to 0-6.
The aerial battle was fiercely contested by both sets of players throughout and the crowd in attendance were often brought to their feet by a soaring fetch, physical hit or a piece of individual brilliance from two gifted teams in a high-octane contest that was certainly worth the price of admission.
Though Galway found the going tough in the second period and on three separate occasions fell behind by the minimum after points from Cathal Beirne, Ted Dunne and a 60th minute white flag from Denis Walsh, it began to look like it would finally be third time lucky for the Cats at minor level.
Clarinbridge clubman Gavin Lee, however, equalised in injury time and the uber-impressive Liam Collins tapped home, following a composed run by substitute Darren Shaughnessy before laying off to the superb Collins, who made no mistake finishing to the back of the Kilkenny net.
In doing so, it means the All-Ireland Minor trophy returns back across the Shannon and completes a never-been-done four in-a-row in the minor hurling championship in the process.
Scorers for Galway: Liam Collins 1-7 (4f, 1 65), Colm Molloy 0-3, Gavin Lee 0-2, Ruben Davitt 0-1, Liam Leen 0-1, Kieran Hanrahan 0-1, Diarmuid Davoren 0-1, Greg Thomas 0-1.
Scorers for Kilkenny: Billy Drennan 1-6 (1-0 pen, 0-5 f), Joe Fitzpatrick 0-2, Denis Walsh 0-2, Killian Doyle 0-1, Harry Shine 0-1, Ted Dunne 0-1 and Cathal Beirne 0-1.
GALWAY: Darragh Walsh; Shane Morgan, Adam Nolan, Michael Walsh; Seán O’Hanlon, Tiernan Killeen, Patrick Burke; Liam Leen, Kieran Hanrahan; Gavin Lee, Greg Thomas, Ronan Killilea; Liam Collins, Ruben Davitt, Colm Molloy.
Subs: Diarmuid Davoren for Ronan Killilea (41), Darren Shaughnessy for Ruben Davitt (55), Tiernan Leen for Micheal Walsh (58), Conor Slattery for Collins (60+5).
KILKENNY: Brian Minogue; Zach Bay Hammond, Niall Rowe, Mark Donnelly; Joe Fitzpatrick, Gearóid Dunne, Billy Reid; Killian Doyle, Cathal Beirne; Billy Drennan, Timmy Clifford, Denis Walsh; Harry Shine, Ted Dunne, Eoin O’Brien.
Subs: Killian Carey for O’Brien (51).
Referee: Seán Stack (Dublin).