Hurling semi-final (minor): Galway draw with Kilkenny

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By Brendan O’Brien at Croke Park

Kilkenny 0-26 Galway 2-20 (after extra-time)

Galway and Kilkenny will have to start from scratch again after their All-Ireland minor semi-final at Croke Park ended in stalemate after over 80 minutes of hurling this afternoon.

As with most stalemates, there were mixed feelings on both sides.

Kilkenny’s Richie Leahy in action against Galway’s Jack Grealish yoday. Picture: Sportsfile

Galway were left to rue two damaging spells when they zoned out and let their opponents clock up scores while Kilkenny will wonder how they let the Connacht side slip back into contention when they looked next to dead.

There was no secret to that, in fairness.

Goals got Galway out of jail: the first after 49 minutes of the second-half when centre-forward Thomas Monaghan found the net to bring the sides level after a 19-minute drought during which Kilkenny had peeled off five white flags.

The second, which came from substitute Cian Salmon towards the end of the second extra period, was needed even more as Galway were four points adrift with just two minutes left thanks to a half-dozen points landed by Kilkenny in the opening barrages of extra-time.

Both sides will have departed HQ knowing that they could do better because, though there was plenty of fluid hurling played, it was a game which failed to live up to the gilded reputations of many of those involved until the last moments of normal and extra time.

Andy Gaffney for Kilkenny and Evan Niland for Galway provided the bulwark of the scores for the respective outfits, most of them emanating from dead balls, with the Connacht side just about the better side at half-time which stage they led 0-10 to 0-8.

That no-show for the next 19 minutes should have cost them their shot at an All-Ireland final, but Kilkenny were far from impressive in that same period though they did keep their end of the scoreboard ticking over.

So, they go again, possibly next Sunday as part of a triple-header with the second minor semi-final between Tipperary and Dublin and the second senior last four clash which featured Galway and Tipperary.

Neither can have many complaints.

Scorers for Kilkenny: A Gaffney (0-10, 8 frees, 1 ‘65’); R Leahy (0-4); C Hennessy (0-3); J Donnelly (0-2); M Cody, C Doheny, J Connolly, D O’Connor, S Mahony, J Cuddihy and B Sheehan (all 0-1).

Scorers for Galway: E Niland (0-8, 6 frees, 1 ‘65’); T Monaghan (1-3); C Salmon (1-0); B Concannon (0-2); C Connor, J Grealish, F Burke, M Lynch, S Loftus, C Fahy and L Forde (all 0-1).

Kilkenny: S Murphy; M Cody, T Walsh, C McGrath; D Mullen, D Joyce, C Doheny; R Leahy, J Connolly; D O’Connor, S Mahony, J Donnelly; A Gaffney, J Cuddihy, T O’Dwyer. Subs: E Delaney for Donnelly (HT); C Hennessy for O’Connor (43); R Bergin for Joyce (52); N Walsh for Connolly (59); B Sheehan for O’Dwyer (61). T O’Dwyer for Mahony (70); J McEvoy for Donnelly (80).

Galway: D Gilligan; C Connor, J Fitzpatrick, S Bannon; C Mulry, I O’Brien, A Greaney; J Grealish, J Coyne; B Concannon, T Monaghan, F Burke; M Lynch, E Niland, S Loftus. Subs: C Fahy for Concannon (39); C Salmon for Burke (43); K Cooney for Lynch (57); B Concannon for Grealish (65); L Forde for Coyne (67); F Burke for Monaghan (73).

Referee: J O’Brien (Tipperary).

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