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The Cats become champions again beating Galway 3-22 to 3-11 in the All Ireland senior hurling final

By Conor Lennon

Cheering for the Kilkenny Cats

Kilkenny strolled to an All Ireland victory over Galway in a rather anti-climactic final yesterday.

Though Leinster champions Galway started well with two goals from half-forward David Burke, Kilkenny always looked to be in control of the match and pulled ahead with scores from Richie Power, Henry Shefflin and the impressive Walter Walsh.

Indeed, Walsh’s performance was one of the main talking points of the match, with the Under-21 star scoring a goal and three points on his way to winning Man of the Match.

The full-forward, making his first appearance for the Kilkenny seniors, was the surprise inclusion when Brian Cody announced his team on Friday night. Walsh was one of two changes, which also saw Cillian Buckley make his first start for the team since the Leinster final.

Galway failed to perform to the high standards they set themselves in their last two meetings with Kilkenny. Of the six forwards that started for the Tribesmen, only Joe Canning managed to point in the first half, with the Kilkenny back line dominating.

Worries before the match about Galway keeper James Skehill looked to be true as he was substituted at half time after looking extremely uncomfortable.

Skehill couldn’t be faulted for Richie Power’s first half goal however, as the Carrickshock man reacted quickest to a loose ball in the Galway square and guided it one-handed into the back of the net.

After Joe Canning’s brilliant display in the drawn match, Galway’s talismanic full-forward was professionally marshalled by Kilkenny centre-back Brian Hogan. This, combined with Cyril Donnellan’s red card for striking Tommy Walsh, left Galway facing an up-hill battle.

The match could have ended very differently however, if Canning’s second-half shot for goal had not cannoned off the bottom of the up-right. A few minutes before, Galway had the ball in the Kilkenny net only for the goal to be disallowed and a Galway free awarded instead.

Henry Shefflin, who finished the match with nine points, won his ninth All Ireland medal on the field of play, equalling former Kilkenny goalkeeper Noel Skehan’s record.

 

Photo by yeasaris on flickr.

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