Paul Keane reports from Croke Park
A REMARKABLE GAME of two halves at Croke Park ultimately went Galway’s way as the Electric Ireland All-Ireland minor champions got the defence of their title off to winning start.
Leading by 12 points approaching half-time in their quarter-final group stage opener, Brian Hanley’s Galway side looked all set for a big win.
But in what was a repeat of last year’s final, Kilkenny came storming back into the context to dramatically level the game at 2-12 apiece with 10 minutes to go.
The beaten Leinster finalists, fresh from their quarter-final group stage win over Clare, held all the momentum but couldn’t push on to take the lead.
Instead, it was Galway’s Sean McDonagh, the team’s top scorer with 1-7, who sniped a 50th minute goal that put his team three clear and the score ultimately separated the teams.
Alex Connaire fired two important points when he came on for Galway while Ian Byrne was Kilkenny’s super sub with two second-half goals to ignite that comeback and he scored 2-2 in total.
It was Kilkenny’s seventh game of a lengthy campaign while Galway were playing for the first time this summer but hit the ground running.
Greg Thomas struck eighth and 29th minute goals and they were full value for their 2-10 to 0-6 half-time lead.
Colman O’Sullivan celebrates scoring a goal.
Source: Gary Carr/INPHO
But Kilkenny turned up the intensity in the second-half and Byrne’s introduction was vital with the attacker sniping from close range in the 36th minute before finishing superbly from the left three minutes later.
Timmy Clifford’s 48th minute point for Kilkenny levelled it at 2-12 apiece but the young Cats couldn’t take the lead as Galway redoubled their efforts and pulled off a significant win.
Scorers for Galway: Sean McDonagh 1-7 (0-3f), Greg Thomas 2-2, Gavin Lee 0-2, Alex Connaire 0-2, Liam Leen 0-1, Tiernan Killeen 0-1, Colm Molloy 0-1.
Scorers for Kilkenny: Ian Byrne 2-2 (0-1f), Billy Drennan 0-6 (0-6f), Timmy Clifford 0-2, Pierce Blanchfield 0-2, Colman O’Sullivan 0-1, Peter McDonald 0-1, Liam Moore 0-1, Braedon Wheeler 0-1.
1. Michael Egan (Cappataggle)
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2. Eanna Davoren (Moycullen)
3. Eoin Lawless (Athenry)
4. Adam Nolan (Kilnadeema Leitrim)
5. Enda Collins (Cearn Mor)
6. Ian McGlynn (Cill Chon Iarainn)
7. Christy Brennan (Clarinbridge)
8. Liam Leen (Clarinbridge)
9. Oisin Slevin (Ardrahan)
12. Tiernan Killeen (Loughrea)
11. Sean McDonagh (An Cregan Maigh Locha)
10. Colm Cunningham (Moycullen)
13. Gavin Lee (Clarinbridge)
14. Shane Morgan (Loughrea)
15. Greg Thomas (Beal Atha Gartha)
18. Alex Connaire (Sarsfields) for Slevin (41)
19. Paddy Cummins (Gort) for Lee (50)
17. Sean O’Hanlon (Turloughmore) for Leen (53)
23. Ryan Howley (Creachmhaoil) for Collins (55)
20. Colm Molloy (Kilnadeema Leitrim) for Killeen (58)
1. Aidan Tallis (Lisdowney)
5. Peter McDonald (Thomastown)
3. William Halpin (Slieverue)
4. Tristan Roche (St Martins)
2. Billy Reid (Glenmore)
6. Padraic Moylan (Dicksboro)
7. James Aylward (Mooncoin)
8. Andy Hickey (Dunnamaggin)
9. Denis Walsh (Dunnamaggin)
10. Pierce Blanchfield (Graiguenamanagh)
12. Liam Moore (Dicksboro)
15. Jack Doyle (Windgap)
13. Billy Drennan (Galmoy)
14. Timmy Clifford (Dicksboro)
11. Colman O’Sullivan (Tullogher Rosbercon)
18. Ian Byrne (Glenmore) for Hickey (h/t)
17. Zach Bay Hammond (Thomastown) for Walsh (h/t)
23. Braedon Wheeler (Piltown) for Doyle (59)
19. Seanan Doyle (Blacks and Whites) for Drennan (60)
Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford).
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