BGE Leinster U20: Impressive Galway advance
Bord Gais Energy Leinster Under 20 Hurling Championship Semi-Final
GALWAY 0-19 KILKENNY 1-11
By Paul Keane at MW Hire O'Moore Park
Donal O'Shea returned to haunt Kilkenny with a dozen points as Galway powered through to the Bord Gais Energy Leinster U-20 HC final.
Galway, who have won the last three All-Ireland minor titles, are managed by former minor guru Jeff Lynskey and turned in a commanding display in difficult conditions in Portlaoise.
Managed by former minor guru Jeff Lynskey they burned off Kilkenny in the second-half with two separate bursts of 0-4 without reply.
O'Shea tormented Kilkenny in the 2018 All-Ireland minor final with 0-10 and impressed again to nail down their January 3 final place.
The son of former Tipperary senior manager Eamon O'Shea was the minor Player of the Year in 2018 and underlined his potential again here before being rested late on.
Holders Kilkenny returned to the ground where they lost out at the All-Ireland semi-final stage last year and after an even first 20 minutes or so were overpowered.
The first-half was the definition of a tit-for-tat encounter as the sides found themselves deadlocked on eight different occasions up to 0-8 apiece.
Both sides led at different occasions with Kilkenny running hard at Galway and drawing frees when they got the chance, converting five of them.
Kilkenny senior Eoin Cody, among a group of back to back All-Ireland club title winners with Ballyhale Shamrocks on the pitch, was a constant menace.
He scored an early point and contributed directly to several more throughout the half and carved out two goal chances late in the half.
His first was a weak effort that was easily saved but Galway 'keeper Darach Fahy had to be at his best to deny Cody again a minute late from a tight angle on the left.
Inspired by Fahy's excellence, Galway finished the half strongly and reeled off four points without reply to take a 0-11 to 0-8 lead at the interval.
Alex Connaire, O'Shea and Sean McDonagh were all on the mark during the mini-scoring blitz.
McDonagh, who struck 2-8 in last year's All-Ireland minor final success, came on for the injured Oisin Flannery and proved a real hit, winning a free that was converted and then scoring himself.
Galway's momentum was briefly halted by a 1-1 burst from Kilkenny after the restart, Eoin Guilfoyle slipping a low shot beneath Fahy from close range.
But four more Galway points in a row, all converted frees by O'Shea as Kilkenny found themselves overwhelmed at the back, put three between them again.
Kilkenny didn't score again from play and could only muster up two points from Guilfoyle frees.
Galway, in turn, tacked on another four points in a row with O'Shea striking three of them to heap yet more misery on Kilkenny following back to back All-Ireland minor wins over the Cats.
Scorers for Galway: Donal O'Shea 0-12 (11fs), Conor Flaherty 0-1 (1f), Dylan Shaughnessy 0-1, Sean Neary 0-1, Adrian Prendergast 0-1, Alex Connaire 0-1, Sean McDonagh 0-1, John Fleming 0-1.
Scorers for Kilkenny: Eoin Guilfoyle 1-7 (7fs), Conor Heary 0-2, Eoin Cody 0-1, Ian Byrne 0-1.
GALWAY: Darach Fahy; Oisin Salmon, TJ Brennan, Jason O'Donoghue; Diarmuid Kilcommins, Conor Flaherty, Dylan Shaughnessy; Ian McGlynn, Alex Connaire; Adrian Prendergast, Sean Neary, Conor Walsh; John Fleming, Oisin Flannery, Donal O'Shea.
Subs: Sean McDonagh for Flannery (25), Adam Brett for Prendergast (57), Mark Kennedy for O'Shea (61), Eoin Lawless for Salmon (62), Caimin Killeen for Connaire (65).
KILKENNY: Dean Mason; Shane Staunton, Darragh Corcoran, Darragh O'Keeffe; Martin O'Neill, David Blanchfield, Conor Murphy; Killian Egan, Martin O'Connell; Eoin Cody, Cian Kenny, Conor Heary; Ian Byrne, Stephen Donnelly, Eoin Guilfoyle.
Subs: Jack Morrissey for Byrne (39), James Brennan for Staunton (43), Ciaran Brennan for O'Connell (50), Conor Kelly for Murphy (54), Cian Kinsella for Donnelly (59).
REFEREE: Richie Fitzsimons (Offaly).