Kilkenny suffered their first league defeat of the 2011 Allianz Hurling League when they lost to defending champions, Galway, in an exciting encounter in Pearse Stadium. Having enjoyed an excellent start, thanks to early goals from Michael Fennelly and Eddie Brennan, Kilkenny led by 2-3 to no score after seven minutes but they gradually lost their way after this and trailed by two points at the break 2-7 to Galway to Kilkenny’s 2-5.Worse was to come as two further goals were conceded in the third quarter and 4-11 to 2-8 in arrears after 52 minutes, Kilkenny were facing a heavy defeat. A rally in the last quarter reduced the deficit to two points but Galway finished the stronger side and added two final points to stretch the winning margin to four.
This result did not seem likely when Kilkenny enjoyed a dream start. Eoin Larkin pointed after just 20 seconds; Michael Fennelly scored a goal after 90 seconds when he collected a handpass from his brother Colin. Eddie Brennan was picked out by PJ Delaney and he fired a brilliant shot to the corner of the net past goalkeeper Colm Callanan after two minutes. Richie Hogan opened his account with a point in the third minute and then Larkin registered his second point.
The Westeners slowly began to improve. Gantley took a pass from Iarla Tannian to score Galway’s first goal in the 11th minute and, from there on, they were the dominant side all the way to half-time and again on the restart. Richie Hogan pointed a free for Kilkenny but Glaway replied with five unanswered points from Adrian Cullinane, Iarla Tannian, Ger Farragher and Aonghus Callanan With the difference back to 2-04 to 1-05, Michael Fennelly and Andy Smith exchanged points before Galway full-forward Iarla Tannian won a ball ahead of John Dalton and fshot low past Colin McGrath for a well-taken goal. Ger Faragher then hit his third point of the half to leave the interval score 2-7 to 2-5 in favour of the maroon clad team. It was an incredible turnaround as Kilkenny ended the half with seven wides, having been outscored by 2-07 to 0-02 since their excellent start.
Richie Hogan pointed as play resumed, but Galway were still dominant and Ger Farragher added two more points before a high ball in from Donal Barry led to the home side’s third goal when Colin McGrath’s attempted clearance bounced off Iarla Tannian and into the net. TJ Reid pointed to make it 3-10 to 2-08, but then hesitancy in the Kilkenny defence allowed David Burke to steal the ball and Cyril Donnellan finished to the net.
Kilkenny did stage a comeback.Michael Fennelly and Hogan landed two good points and Colin Fennelly goaled when Galway goalkeeper Colm Callanan dropped the ball when attempting to clear. Further points from T.J. Reid and Richie Hogan made to 4-12 to 3-13 and increased the pressure on Galway but Ger Farragher’s eighth point of the day and Aonghus Callanan’s second, saw out victory for the Westeners.
Teams and Scorers
Scorers -Galway: I Tannian 2-2, G Farragher 0-8 (5f, 1 ’65’), J Gantley, C Donnellan 1-0 each, A Callanan 0-2, A Cullinane, A Smith 0-1 each. Kilkenny: R Hogan 0-6 (3f, 1’65’), M Fennelly 1-2, C Fennelly, E Brennan 1-0 each, TJ Reid, E Larkin 0-2 each, J ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick 0-1.
Galway C Callanan, D Collins , C O’Donovan , G O’Halloran, D Barry , T Og Regan , A Cullinane, G Farragher , D Burke, E Ryan , A Smith , C Donnellan , J Gantley , I Tannian , A Callanan . Subs: D Joyce for Cullinane (56), J Coen for Gantley (70), K Kilkenny for Ryan (72).
Kilkenny C. Mc Grath C Fogarty , J Dalton , P Murphy ; T Walsh , J Tyrrell , JJ Delaney , M Fennelly , PJ Delaney , C Fennelly, E Larkin , TJ Reid , E Guinan , E Brennan , R Hogan . Subs: J ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick for J.Tyrrell (40), J Mulhall for E.Guinan (45).
Referee-C McAllister (Cork)