Bord Na Móna Walsh Cup Senior Hurling Final: Kilkenny 0-20, Galway 0-18
Umpires had no reason to reach for the green flag in either their semi-final or final, but Kilkenny were still presented with the Bord na Móna Walsh Cup for the 20th time this afternoon.
A 0-15 to 0-14 victory over Wexford in the penultimate round was followed-up with a two point defeat of Galway in front of 4,111 supporters at Nowlan Park.
Captain Richie Hogan again displayed his leadership skills with over half of that tally against the westerners, as they held a narrow lead for most of the 70 minutes.
But The Cats came under pressure when reduced to 14 men in the 56th minute, with the dismissal of Pat Lyng, and Galway subsequently cut their deficit from five points to two by the final whistle.
Goakeeper Eoin Murphy pulled off a great save to keep Kilkenny ahead late on, while he also came to their rescue once in the first half.
Galway sent another couple of goal chances wide in the second half but, overall, Kilkenny deserved to lift the title for the third time this decade.
Driven on in the first half by their half back line featuring man-of-the-match Kieran Joyce, Paul Murphy and Conor Fogarty, and with Richie Hogan faultless from frees and open play, Kilkenny enjoyed a 0-13 to 0-10 cushion at the interval.
Galway only led once, when free-taker Jason Flynn gave them an early 0-2 to 0-1 advantage. But they would have been reasonably content to only trail by three at the half way stage, considering they were six behind in the 30th minute.
Flynn contributed five frees (and one from play) for Galway, but saw a couple of crucial opportunities go the wrong side of the upright.
The second half was delayed for almost ten minutes following an injury to Galway’s Martin Dolphin in the 43rd minute.
However, with Ollie Walsh and Lester Ryan coming to the fore, Kilkenny never looked like surrendering their lead and despite stepping up a gear late on, Galway just ran out of time.
Kilkenny - R. Hogan 0-11 (7f, 2 ‘65’); O. Walsh 0-3; L Ryan 0-2; K. Joyce, C. Fogarty, P. Lyng, C. Martin 0-1 each.
Galway - J. Flynn 0-6 (5f); J. Cooney, D. Glennon 0-2 each; S. Maloney 0-2, (1f); C. Callanan (f); A. Tuohy, A. Harte, J. Coen, S. McInerney, T. Monaghan 0-1 each.
KILKENNY: E. Murphy; J. Holden, R. Lennon, M. Walsh; K. Joyce, P. Murphy, C. Fogarty; O. Walsh, L. Ryan; P. Lyng, C. Martin, M. Malone; R. Hogan, J.J. Farrell, R. Leahy.
Subs - C. O'Shea for Fogarty; L. Blanchfield for MalonE; S. Morrissey for Leahy; J. Maher for Martin; A. Murphy for Farrell.
GALWAY: C. Callanan; B. Flaherty, J. Hanbury, J. Grealish; A. Tuohy, M. Dolphin, A. Harte; J. Coen, D. Nevin; S. Maloney, J. Cooney, D. Glennon; S. McInerney, J. Flynn, C. Whelan.
Subs - T. Monaghan for Nevin; M Donohoe for Grealish; G. McInerney for Dolphin; P. Flaherty for S. McInerney; K. McHugo for C. Whelan.
Referee - P. Murphy (Carlow).