Cats crush Galway to retain Liam MacCarthy
There was to be no third time lucky for Galway as Kilkenny wreaked terrible revenge for their Leinster final defeat to win yet another All-Ireland title.
The final scoreline, 3-22 to 3-11, doesn’t look pretty. You would have to feel for Galway, who deserved a better end to a fine year. But Kilkenny were simply ruthless in the second 35 minutes and they left Galway spluttering in their wake as they romped to yet another, well deserved All-Ireland crown. Losing Cyril Donnellan for a wild pull on JJ Deleney after 48 minutes didn’t help the Tribesmen’s cause either, to say the least.
After a slow enough opening 10 minutes, with Joe Canning and Henry Shefflin swapping frees, the first score from play was a beaut from Kilkenny debutant Walter Walsh.
But no sooner had Kilkenny looked like they taking control when David Burke struck back in some style. Twice. A long ball into the square was flicked home by the Galway forward and a minute later he was on the end of a great move involving Donnellan and Damien Hayes to put Galway up 2-2 to 0-5.
But like the champions they are, Kilkenny struck back immediately as a tame effort from Eoin Larkin was batted back by a clearly less than 100 per cent James Skehill and Richie Power raised the green flag for the Cats after 18 minutes.
From that point Kilkenny stepped on the gas. They rattled in six unanswered points, with Richie Power, Richie Hogan and Walsh again popping over scores.
Galway managed two more points before the break, both via Canning dead balls, but there was no doubt that Brian Cody’s men were in the ascendency at the half, 1-11 to 2-4.
Kilkenny nabbed the first score of the second half before a superb Joe Canning sideline reduced the gap to three with just 23 minutes to play.
Then Donnellan lost the head and Galway lost the match. Just before the red was flashed at Donnellan, Canning struck the post when a goal would have levelled it. In those two moments the game swung to the Cats and they strode home from that point with ease.
Michael Fennelly roamed forward to score his first point, Walsh tacked on another, as did Hogan, before Walsh capped a wonderful senior debut with a goal, killing the contest with 12 left on the clock.
Colin Fennelly, newly introduced, had fire in his belly and he goaled as well. A late Johnny Glynn goal for Galway was probably the pick of the six we saw at HQ today but it was no more than window dressing on a bad day for Anthony Cunningham’s side.
Shefflin now moves onto nine All-Ireland medals and Kilkenny have annexed six of the last seven All-Irelands. Like the scoreline above, the bare numbers don't do justice to the feat.