Kilkenny too strong for Galway - again

The Galway senior hurlers must be sick to their back teeth of the sight of the black and amber jersey after Richie Hogan, Conor Fogarty, and company tore into the second half of the Leinster final last weekend to see off Galway with a fair degree of comfort, 1-26 to 0-22.

Galway had dominated parts of the first half, held the Kilkenny forwards fairly well, and led at half time by three points, 0-13 to 0-10.

Cathal Mannion showed up well in that 35 minutes and Daithí Burke did well on TJ Reid at full-back. However, Micheál Donoghue's men probably should have been a few more scores ahead at that stage as Kilkenny had not really been in the game and had produced a lacklustre enough first 35 minutes.

Hogan's introduction

However the introduction of former hurler of the year Richie Hogan and John Power by Brian Cody at half time added more urgency and fluidity to Kilkenny's play.

Midfielders Fogarty, Michael Fennelly and their half-back line really horsed into the game too and put Galway on the back foot.

After only a few minutes of the second half and with Brian Cody's words of encouragement still ringing in their ears, Kilkenny were level and Jonjo Farrell got in for a soft enough goal. Galway found it hard to contain the Kilkenny forwards from there to the finish with Hogan rifling over some superb scores.

No doubt Galway will be reviewing the game in detail over the coming week and some of their defenders will be disgusted with the quality of their clearances when they see them in the video analysis. On far too many occasions really hard won ball was just driven out to an unmarked Kilkenny player and a lot of their scores came from headless Galway clearances.

The Galway squad will be disappointed too that when Kilkenny turned up the heat in the second half, they did not seem to have the players or the quality to match that intensity and stick with them. The reality appears to be that Kilkenny are just too good for Galway - and most other teams too - at the moment, and when they step on the gas, as they did in last year's All-Ireland final and last Sunday in the second half, they can burn off the maroon challenge with some ease.

Special players

Key forwards Reid and Hogan, who scored 0-15 between them last Sunday, are special players. When they get into the scoring groove, Galway are not able to stop them from a defensive point of view. And they do not have the forwards to outscore them at the other end either.

Last weekend's success was Brian Cody's 15th provincial title as manager and if they can produce two more 70 minutes like last Sunday's second half, it is difficult to see what team will stop them collecting another All-Ireland victory in September.

Galway need to circle the wagons - learn what they can from last weekend and come out with all guns blazing the next day for the full 70 minutes and see where that takes them.

Scorers for Galway: J Canning (0-6, 6 frees ); C Mannion (0-5 ); C Cooney, C Whelan (0-3 ); J Cooney (0-2 ); D Glennon, C. Donnellan, A Smith (0-1 ). Galway: C Callanan; P Mannion, Daithi Burke, J Coen; G McInerney, J Hanbury, A Harte; David Burke (c ), D Glennon; N Burke, J Cooney, C Cooney; C Whelan, J Canning, C Mannion. Subs: Donnellan for J Cooney (46 ); F Moore for Coen (53 ); J Flynn for N Burke (57 ); A Smith for Glennon (59 ); P Killeen for Hanbury (66 ).

Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid (0-10, 7 frees, 1 65 ); J Farrell (1-4 ); R Hogan (0-5 ); C Fogarty (0-3 ); W Walsh (0-2 ); J Power, M Fennelly (0-1 ).

Kilkenny Murphy; P Murphy, J Holden, R Lennon; P Walsh, K Joyce, C Buckley; C Fogarty, M Fennelly; W Walsh, C Fennelly, L Ryan (c ); J Farrell, TJ Reid, E Larkin. Subs Hogan for Larkin h/t; J Power for Fennelly (h/t ).



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