Ian Byrne of Kilkenny in action against Sean Neary of Galway during the Leinster GAA Hurling U20 Championship semi-final match between Kilkenny and Galway at Bord Na Mona O'Connor Park in Tullamore, Offaly.
Ian Byrne of Kilkenny in action against Sean Neary of Galway during the Leinster GAA Hurling U20 Championship semi-final match between Kilkenny and Galway at Bord Na Mona O'Connor Park in Tullamore, Offaly. 

Leinster U20 HC: Galway hold on for win over Kilkenny


Bord Gáis Energy Leinster U20 Hurling semi-final

GALWAY 1-18 KILKENNY 1-13

By Brian Lowry in Tullamore

Galway are through to meet Dublin in the U20 Leinster hurling final after a real game of two halves in Tullamore. Galway led by an amazing 13 points at half time but in the end were holding out for the win as the Kilkenny men roared back into life in the second half.

Diarmuid Kilcommins took just 14 seconds to open the Galway account and it was a sign of what was to come in the opening half as they blitzed the Kilkenny men.

Kilkenny registered their first through Peter McDonald in the fourth minute but they would go scoreless for 19 minutes after that during which time Galway powered on.

Donal O’Shea nailed a ‘65’, frees and one from play before the water break as Galway led 0-8 to 0-1. With 19 minutes on the clock, they struck for their first goal when Sean McDonagh picked out O’Shea through the eye of a needle and the Salthill man rattled the net to compound the miserable Kilkenny showing.

Eoin Guilfoyle landed a free on 23 minutes for Kilkenny but Galway answered in style with Sean Neary landing two scores from his own half back line.

Donal O’Shea had the final say of the half as he stroked over with the last puck and the Tribesmen went in leading 1-13 to 0-3 at half time and a final appearance within their grasp.

Kilkenny came out with a bit more about them in the second half with Eoin Guilfoyle and Cian Kenny adding scores but two sublime sideline cuts from Sean McDonagh cut out the early second half gusto from Kilkenny.

The Cats were given a glimmer of hope on 45 minutes when Tomas Dunne fired home a rebound from a saved Conor Kelly penalty but Galway still led 1-16 to 1-7 with 15 minutes to go.

Galway went 14 minutes without a score and in that time, Kilkenny clawed their way back into the game. Along with Dunne’s goal, they added three more points to make it 1-16 to 1-11 with eight minutes to play.

Galway needed a score and they got in through substitute Paddy Commins but two more Eoin Guilfoyle frees for Kilkenny and some wayward Galway shooting left it only a four point game in the dying embers.

Kilkenny couldn’t find that second goal and Galway survived by the skin of their teeth having been cruising at half time.

Scorers for Galway: Donal O’Shea 1-7 (0-3f and 0-1 ’65), Sean McDonagh 0-3 (0-2 s/l cuts), Sean Neary, John Cooney 0-2 each, Diarmuid Kilcommins, Niall Collins, Conor Flaherty and Paddy Commins 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kilkenny: Eoin Guilfoyle 0-7 (0-5f and 0-1 ’65), Tomas Dunne 1-0, Aidan Tallis (f), Peter McDonald, Shane Staunton, Cian Kenny, Conor Kelly and Billy Drennan 0-1 each.

GALWAY: Paddy Rabbitte; Eoin Lawless, Eoghan Grace, Christy Brennan; Shane Quirke, Sean Neary, Evan Duggan; Ian McGlynn, Jason O’Donoghue; Diarmuid Kilcommins, Sean McDonagh, John Cooney; Niall Collins, Donal O’Shea, Oisin Flannery. Subs: Alex Connaire for Ian McGlynn (33), Paddy Commins for Oisin Flannery (40), Conor Flaherty for Evan Duggan (47), Oisin Slevin for John Cooney (53), Tiernan Killeen for Sean McDonagh (56)

KILKENNY: Aidan Tallis; David Fogarty, Jamie Young, Peter McDonald; Shane Staunton, Cathal Beirne, Padraig Dempsey; Cian Kenny, Padraic Moylan; Ciaran Brennan, Conor Kelly, Jack Morrissey; Timmy Clifford, Liam Moore, Eoin Guilfoyle. Subs: Paul Cody for Liam Moore (20), Ian Byrne for Ciaran Brennan (25), Tomas Dunne for Padraig Dempsey (ht), Billy Drennan for Jack Morrissey (37), George Murphy for Conor Kelly (55)

Referee: Patrick Murphy (Carlow)