Kilkenny bounced back from their recent league final defeat to Limerick with an emphatic win over Westmeath in a lopsided Leinster Championship opener at UPMC Nowlan Park. The Cats dominated the game from start to finish, showing no ill-effects from their previous loss.
Reid and Mullen Lead the Way for Kilkenny
TJ Reid, who played his first game since Ballyhale Shamrocks All-Ireland club success last January, looked sharp and scored a total of nine points. Adrian Mullen also made an impact in his second appearance of the season, scoring six points from centre forward. John Donnelly also starred, leading a Kilkenny team that had 11 different scorers on the night.
Westmeath struggled to keep up with Kilkenny, only managing to score four points from play. While their defensive gameplan denied Kilkenny of a goal, it also restricted their own attacking options. They needed a strong start, but from the moment Donnelly pointed in the opening minute, the game looked to be one-sided.
Kilkenny Takes an Early Lead
Kilkenny quickly took control of the game, with Eoin Cody, Adrian Mullen, and Timmy Clifford all taking early scores. By the end of the first quarter, Kilkenny led 0-11 to 0-1, with Joseph Boyle scoring Westmeath’s only point in that time. Westmeath managed to stem the flow with points from Ciaran Doyle and Darragh Clinton, but by halftime, Kilkenny was in control, leading 0-17 to 0-4.
A Slow Second Half
Kilkenny’s scoring slowed down in the second half, and TJ Reid missed a penalty. However, both teams seemed to go through the motions for much of the period, with Kilkenny continuing their domination. Niall Brennan and Mossy Keoghan both scored after coming off the bench for Kilkenny.
Westmeath will need to regroup after the humbling defeat, while Kilkenny looks ahead to a much-anticipated match against Galway in Nowlan Park next Sunday.
Teams and scorers
Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 0-9 (3fs, 2 65), Adrian Mullen 0-6, John Donnelly 0-4, Eoin Cody, Martin Keoghan 0-2 each, David Blanchfield, Padraig Walsh, Darragh Corcoran, Timmy Clifford, Billy Ryan, Niall Brennan 0-1 each
Scorers for Westmeath: Ciaran Doyle 0-4 (3fs), Joseph Boyle, Darragh Clinton, Derek McNicholas 0-1 each.
Kilkenny: Eoin Murphy; Mikey Butler, Huw Lawlor, Tommy Walsh; David Blanchfield, Richie Reid, Padraig Walsh; Darragh Corcoran, Paddy Mullen; Timmy Clifford, Adrian Mullen, John Donnelly; Billy Ryan, TJ Reid, Eoin Cody.
Subs: Cian Kenny for P.Mullen (46), Martin Keoghan for Ryan (47), Cillian Buckley for P.Walsh (56), Niall Brennan for A.Mullen (61), Conor Delaney for Lawlor (64).
Westmeath: Noel Conaty; Darragh Egerton, Conor Shaw, Johnny Bermingham; Robbie Greville, Tommy Doyle, Aaron Craig; Davy Glennon, Shane McGovern; Shane Clavin, Joseph Boyle, Eoin Keyes; Kevin Regan, Ciaran Doyle, Darragh Clinton.
Subs: Cormac Boyle for McGovern (h-t), Charlie McCormack for Clavin (h-t), Derek McNicholas for Clinton (48), Jack Gillen for Keyes (56), Gary Greville for Egerton (67).