Match Report From Richie Stone-
Kilkenny 3-20 Wexford 4-6
Kilkenny’s under 21 hurlers swept into the Bord Gais Energy Leinster hurling final when they brushed aside the challenge of a Wexford team that flattered to deceive at Nowlan Park on Wednesday evening.
The Slaneysider’s hit the ground running and had four unanswered points, two from Michael O Regan and one each from Barry Carton and Gary Moore as the Kilkenny side without the services of senior panellist Cillian Buckley was slow to get going. Kevin Kelly opened the “Cats” account in the eleventh minute with a pointed free but Wexford responded with a goal from the lively Barry Carton straight from the puck out to leave them 1-4 to 0-1 ahead. That goal seemed to spur Kilkenny into action and Walter Walsh hit their first goal in the 14th minute and from there onwards they never looked back. Three Kilkenny points from frees in as many minutes from Kevin Kelly who hit a total of 9 points levelled matters by the 18th minute and when John Power who started instead of Cillian Buckley fired home an angled drive from the old stand side of the pitch the Model county’s challenge collapsed. Wexford then missed a penalty just before the interval. They also hit eight wides in that first half. At the break Kilkenny led 2-9 to 1-5.
Within twenty seconds of the restart Walter Walsh had Kilkenny’s third goal after good work from Kevin Kelly and from there onwards it was mainly damage limitation for Wexford whose evening went from bad to worse when they had a defender red carded. By the 40th minute Kilkenny had established a 3-13 to 2-5 lead after Wexford had a second goal from Michael O Regan in the 39th minute.
The Kilkenny selectors then began to empty the bench with Martin Gaffney proving to be be the most successful of the changes. Gaffney hit three points after being introduced at the three quarter stage. Wexford hit two goals from close in frees in the 52nd and 56th minutes by Jack Guiney but the stable door was well and truly closed at this stage and Kilkenny eased their way into the final which will be against a Laois side that had to battle all the way to overcome a stiff challenge from Carlow in the other semi final.
Kevin Kelly 0-9 (7 frees) Walter Walsh 2-1 John Power 1-1 Ger Aylward 0-3 Martin Gaffney 0-3 Geoff Brennan 0-1, Cathal Kenny 0-1Padraig Walsh 0-1
Jack Guiney 2-1(all frees) Michael O Regan 1-2,Barry Ian Byrne 0-1Gary Moore 0-1Carton 1-1
Dylan Walsh (Thomas town) Jason Cocoran (John Lockes) Willie Phelan (Dunnamaggin) Joe Lyng (Rower/Inistioge) Luke Harney (Kilmacow) Richie Doyle (Barrow Rangers) Brian Kennedy (St Lachtains) Geoff Brennan (St Patrick’s) Ollie Walsh (Dicksboro) Cathal Kenny (Barrow Rangers) Padraig Walsh (Tullaroan) John Power (Carrickshock) Ger Aylward (Glenmore) Walter Walsh (Tullogher/Rosbercon) Kevin Kelly (St Patrick’s)
Subs. Martin Gaffney for Cathal Kenny (44) Paul Buggy for Kevin Kelly (51) Pat O Carroll for Richie Doyle (52) Owen M cGrath for John Power (55)
Mark Fanning (Glyn/Barntown Willie Deveraux (St Martins) Matthew O Hanlon(St James Ramsgrange) Alan Norton (Taghmon/Camross) Mark Moloney (St Martins) Conor Gough (Oulart The Ballagh) Aidan Cash (Shelamiers) Aidan Nolan (HWH Bunclody) Diarmuid o Keefe (St Annes Rathangan) Lee Chin (Faythe Harriers) Michael O Regan (Glyn/Barntown) Liam Og Mc Govern (St Annes Rathangan)Jack Guiney (Rathnure/St Annes) Barry Carton (Claughban)
Subs Shane O Gorman for for Mark Moloney (30) Kevin Nimmo for Aidan Nolan (38)Ian Byrne for Barry Carton (46) Barry O Gorman for Alan Nolan (47) Aidan Cash for Liam Og Mc Govern (63)
Referee David Hughes (Carlow)
Walter Walsh recieves the Bord Gais TG4 Man of the Match Award from Nickey Doran of Bord Gais