Allianz Hurling League Division IA: Galway 3-11 Kilkenny 0-17
Galway made the perfect start to their Allianz Hurling League Division IA campaign by beating the reigning league and All-Ireland champions Kilkenny in a fine game at Pearse Stadium, Salthill on Sunday afternoon.
In a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland decider, it was Galway who gained revenge over their main rivals, hitting three goals in the first half to lead by 3-4 to 0-10 at the break.
Although Kilkenny did close the gap and threaten to stage a comeback in the closing stages, Anthony Cunningham’s side did enough to hold on and seal two precious league points. Josephy Cooney, playing in a new No. 6 role, was the man of the match with a towering display, while Joe Canning created all three goals for the Tribesmen, and as usual pitched in with some excellent scores from placed balls (0-6).
Davy Glennon grabbed Galway’s first goal in the 14th minute, his ground stroke finding the back of Eoin Murphy’s net after excellent work by Canning created the opening. A minute later, Niall Healy scored Galway’s second, cutting in from the left and firing a shot past a hopelessly exposed Murphy.
Despite the concession of the early goals and their defence looking very shaky, Kilkenny were still well in the game thanks to some good shooting from midfielder Richie Power, while Tommy Walsh and Lester Ryan also pitched in with good scores from play.
However, on 32 minutes, Canning was at his very best again for the Leinster champions, finding his Portumna club-mate Damien Hayes with a superb crossfield ball. Hayes jinked past his marker and fired a fine shot to the roof of the net. Aidan Fogarty landed a late score to leave the Cats trailing by three at the break.
The second half was a far tighter affair, with Richie Hogan missing a couple of straightforward frees for Kilkenny having re-opened their account shortly after the restart. Davy Glennon and David Collins both hit the target for Galway, but there was little shape to much of the play in the third quarter.
Power and Canning traded frees before Cooney crowned a magnificent display for Galway with a wonderful point three minutes from the end. A Power free cut the gap back to three again, but Galway held on for a deserved win and they will look forward to their meeting with Clare in two weeks after a solid opening day performance.
Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 0-6 (0-5fs, 0-1 ‘65), Davy Glennon 1-1, Damien Hayes 1-1, Niall Healy 1-0, Joseph Cooney 0-1, Aidan Harte 0-1, David Collins 0-1.
Scorers for Kilkenny: Richie Power 0-8 (5fs, 165), Richie Hogan 0-4 (0-4fs), Aidan Fogarty 0-2, Tommy Walsh 0-1, Lester Ryan 0-1, Eoin Larkin 0-1.
Report courtesy GAA.ie