John Fallon reports from Semple Stadium
KILKENNY HAD TOO much firepower for Clare in the opening game of the All-Ireland minor hurling quarter-final round robin series at Semple Stadium in Thurles.
These two sides will battle it out with Galway for two sides to advance to the All-Ireland semi-finals and Kilkenny will now fancy their chances after this impressive win.
The sides were level three times in the opening seven minutes but Kilkenny pulled away to lead by 1-7 to 0-7 at the break.
The goal came after 23 minutes when the Clare defence failed to deal with a cross from Billy Drennan and Pierce Blanchfield pounced to fire a low shot from an angle into the bottom left corner.
Jack Doyle quickly added a point for Kilkenny to lead by 1-6 to 0-4 but Clare rallied and a couple of points from Shane Meehan helped reduce the margin to a goal by the interval.
They would have been closer but Kilkenny goalkeeper Aidan Tallis did superbly to deflect an effort from Meehan over the bar.
Billy Drennan strikes on goal against Clare at Semple Stadium.
Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO
Kilkenny corner-forward Drennan was the key player, shooting five points in the opening half, three of them from play.
Tallis produced another superb save to deny Meehan after the restart, while two points from Blanchfield extended Kilkenny’s lead.
Clare responded with a couple of points from Conner Hegarty and another long-range free from Cian Galvin to cut the gap to 1-9 to 0-10 after39 minutes.
But then Drennan passed through to Andy Hickey and his neat overhead flick was finished to the net by the inrushing Colman O’Sullivan.
Clare did not recover from that blow and will now look to rescue their campaign when they meet Galway in their next match in the round robin series.
Scorers for Kilkenny: Billy Drennan 0-9 (4f, 1 ’65), Pierce Blanchfield 1-3, Colman O’Sullivan 1-0, Jack Doyle 0-1, Timmy Clifford 0-1.
Scorers for Clare: Conner Hegarty 0-4, Shane Meehan 0-3 (2f), Cian Galvin 0-3 (2f, 1’65), Killian O’Connor 0-1, Colm O’Meara 0-1, Oisin O’Donnell 0-1.
1. Aidan Tallis (Lisdowney)
2. Billy Reid (Glenmore)
3. William Halpin (Slieverue)
4. Tristan Roche (St Martin’s)
5. Peter McDonald (Thomastown)
6. Pádraic Moylan (Dicksboro)
7. James Aylward (Mooncoin)
of the team
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8. Andy Hickey (Dunnamaggin)
9. Denis Walsh (Dunnamaggin)
10. Pierce Blanchfield (Graiguenamanagh)
11. Colman O’Sullivan (Tullogher Rosbercon)
12. Liam Moore (Dicksboro)
13. Billy Drennan (Galmoy)
14. Timmy Clifford (Dicksboro)
15. Jack Doyle (Windgap)
19. Senán Doyle (Blacks & Whites) for Walsh (54)
18. Ian Byrne (Glenmore) for O’Sullivan (54)
17 Zach Bay Hammond (Thomastown) for Clifford (62)
1. Aaron Shanahan (Tulla)
2. Storm Devanney (Sixmilebridge)
3. Adam Hogan (Feakle)
4. Cillian McGroary (Corofin)
5. Jarlath Collins (Eire Óg, Ennis)
6. Cian Galvin (Clarecastle)
7. Tony Butler (St Joseph’s Doora Barefield)
8. Colm O’Meara (Clonlara)
17. Oisín O’Donnell (Crusheen)
10. Killian O’Connor (Corofin)
11. Oisín Clune (Feakle)
13. Shane Meehan (The Banner)
23. Dylan Downes (Sixmilebridge) for
14. Conner Hegarty (Inagh/Kilnamona)
15. Diarmaid Cahill (Corofin)
9. Cormac Murphy (O’Callaghan’s Mills) for Clune (45)
22. Seán Ronan (Kilmaley) for Downes (48)
24. Shane Punch (Ruan) for Cahill (45)
12. Keith Smyth (Killanena) for Collins (54)
18. Callum Beirne (Clooney/Quin) for Butler (59)
Referee: Nathan Wall (Cork).
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