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Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Hurling round-up

Aaron Niland starred for Galway in their Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Hurling Championship victory over Kilkenny. 

Aaron Niland starred for Galway in their Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Hurling Championship victory over Kilkenny. 

By Paul Keane


LAOIS 4-14 ANTRIM 1-19


DUBLIN 2-23 KERRY 0-11



Newcomers to the Electric Ireland Leinster minor hurling championship this year, Galway are making their presence felt and are through to the province's last four.

They will be joined by Wexford in the semi-finals after the two counties celebrated Good Friday by finishing top of their respective Tier 1 groups with powerful Round 3 displays.

Aaron Niland pulled the strings for Galway in their 1-23 to 0-13 defeat of Kilkenny at UPMC Nowlan Park.

The Clarinbridge talent and recent Croke Cup finalist with Presentation College, Athenry struck 1-13 across the hour or so including the game's only goal in the 44th minute.

Free-taker Niland struck all but three points from placed balls while Jason Rabbitte, Conor Gilligan, Colm Burke and midfielder Michael Burke all weighed in with important points.

It was tight and tense initially and Galway led by 0-9 to 0-6 at half-time with free-taker Conor Doyle keeping the Cats well in it.

Galway pulled away in the third quarter though, twice reeling off bursts of three points before Niland nailed his goal from a free to leave nine points between them.

Kilkenny, for whom Doyle struck nine points, still have everything to play for as their runners-up finish in the group means they are through to a provincial quarter-final.

Laois secured third spot in the Tier 1, Group 2 table, behind Galway and Kilkenny, with a dramatic 4-14 to 1-19 defeat of Antrim at the GAA's National Games Development Centre.

Justin Duggan scored 3-5 for Laois including the stoppage time goal that sealed a flattering four-point win at Abbottstown following a terrific Antrim revival.

Laois had led 2-10 to 0-9 at half-time but Antrim, inspired by goalscorer Roan McGarry, fought back to level terms with 10 minutes to go before being suckered by that late Duggan goal.

In the other Tier 1 group, Wexford beat provincial title holders Offaly 3-12 to 0-10 with goals from Joe O'Leary, Liam Cooney and Jason Rossiter to claim top spot with a 100% record. Like Galway, Wexford's reward is a Leinster semi-final place.

Dublin defeated Kerry by 2-23 to 0-11 to finish second in the Group 1 table on four points.

Callum Graham struck both of Dublin's goals, his first coming just before half-time as they reached the break with a commanding 1-12 to 0-5 lead in Portlaoise.

Conor Newton, Ryan Murphy and Darragh Delaney also got on the scoresheet for the Dubs who are through to the quarter-finals.

Offaly will have the opportunity to bounce back when they contest a Leinster preliminary quarter-final but Kerry, like Antrim, are out after finishing bottom of their respective groups.

Meanwhile, Westmeath and Kildare, who finished top of their Tier 2 groups, won their pre-preliminary quarter-final ties on Good Friday to advance to the preliminary quarter-final stage, along with Offaly and Laois.

Westmeath defeated Carlow by 3-10 to 0-7 in Mullingar and were grateful to Conor Heffernan for his 2-6 haul. Caolan Ready scored the other goal for the hosts who led by 2-4 to 0-5 at half-time.

Leixlip talent Olan Hynes Kelly scored the only goal of the game in Kildare's 1-24 to 0-21 win over Meath at Hawkfield.