Galway booked their place in the Leinster U-21 Hurling Final with a very impressive 3-13 to 1-17 win over Kilkenny at Tullamore on Wednesday evening. Galway will now go head to head with Wexford in the provincial final.
Galway led at the break by 1-08 to 0-09. Evan Niland grabbing the Tribesmen’s goal. Niland impressee in the first half for Tony Ward’s side contributing 1-05 from the 1-08 scored. The sides started nervously and it took until the 6th minute for the first score to be registered on the scoreboard through a Niland free, James Bergin replied for DJ Carey’s charges though and the sides were level once more. Niland responded once more however in a battle between the free takers. Bergin equalised once more though, before Galway keeper Eanna Murphy was called into action to stop a certain goal from Adrian Mullen. Colum Prendville edged the Cats in front on 17 minutes.
The pace of the game was upping and it was long before Niland had the Kilkenny net bulging. He ran through the middle of the Kilkenny defence to fire the ball to the net. Mullen and Niland then traded scores. With half time approaching Fahy registered another Galway point. Brian Concannon and Conor Hennessy tapped over scores within a few seconds of each other before Niland’s fourth point left a goal between the sides. However, Bergin responded for Kilkenny with two points to leave the minimum between the sides, but once again Niland and Fahy hit back for Galway before Bergin finished the scoring for the half to leave Kilkenny trailing by two.
On the resumption Fahy opened the scoring to grab his second point of the day, before Bleahene finished to the net the gap was out to six courtesy of that goal and a Kevin Cooney point. Bergin and Cooney traded scores then and with 20 minutes to go the game was certainly not over. Richie Leahy registered a sublime point, but Niland and Cooney hit two on the spin for Galway. John Donnelly got another Kilkenny point, before the gap was out to nine courtesy of a third Galway goal, this time coming from Fahy, 3-12 to 0-12. Kilkenny teams as they so often do hang on into games and this one wasn’t any different. Bergin, Hennessy and Leahy all pointing. Donnelly then seen his shot on 58 minutes hit the crossbar and bounce back into play, their luck may have run out, however Leahy managed to get a point from the attack in the end.
Cooney pointed on 59 minutes and surely now Galway looked on their way to a Leinster Final. However, there was a massive scare for Galway as Donnelly and Sheehan had goal chances. They kept on pushing for the much needed goal but the Galway defence hung on in the end despite Donnelly netting a goal in injury time. As well as the date with Wexford in the final on July 4th, the Tribesmen have no guaranteed themselves an All-Ireland semi-final.