O’Shea strikes 0-12 as Galway see off Kilkenny to book Leinster hurling final place
David Connors reports from Portlaoise
GALWAY DETHRONED REIGNING Bord Gáis Energy Leinster U20 hurling champions Kilkeny during near perfect conditions on a novel December evening semi-final meeting under lights in Portlaoise.
As with the case with winter hurling and heavy sod, top class free-takers are invaluable and with Donal O’Shea and Eoin Guilfoyle both teams possessed top notch marksmen in their ranks.
In the end, it was Salthill-Knocknacarra man’s frees that proved the difference and his twelve point haul secured a place in the Leinster final for his side.
Both sides met at this stage last year with Kilkenny running our four-point victors and could call upon five starters from that from that victory in Dean Mason, Conor Heary, David Blanchfield, Stephen Donnelly and senior star Eoin Cody.
They had a stacked management team contained a trio of Cat’s All-Star recipients in manager Derek Lyng and his selectors Micheal Rice and Peter Barry.
Kilkenny manager Derek Lyng.
Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO
Galway came into this contest with a game under their belts after dishing out a 26-point quarter-final drubbing to Laois and made just one change from that side with dual star Conor Flaherty – who is set to line out in goal for the Tribesmen’s U20 footballers just hours later in their All-Ireland decider with Dublin – replacing Adam Brett at centre-back.
Galway’s team contained four senior panel members in goalkeeper Darach Fahy, captain TJ Brennan, Diarmuid Kilcommins and Conor Walsh and were backboned a raft of the All-Ireland minor winning sides from 2017-19. Current boss Jeffrey Lynskey oversaw two of those Irish Press Cup successes (’18 and ’19) as well as the Westerner’s 2015 U-18 crown.
Galway boss Jeffrey Lynskey.
Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO
The first sixteen scores of the game were divided out evenly on a tit-for-tat basis in a highly entertaining and hugely physical opening half.
Galway landed the last three points of the first half through the nerveless Donal O’Shea (two frees), son of Tipperary coach Eamon, and a cracking over the shoulder score from 2019 Minor Hurler of the Year Seán McDonagh to leave the half-time scoreboard reading 0-11 to 0-8 at the change of ends.
Kilkenny sharpshooter Eoin Cody, who was orchestrating much of the black and amber attacking threat in early exchanges on the’ 45 but was much more subdued second half in the inside line, was denied a goal twice in the first half thanks to a pair of superb saves from the Galway netminder Darach Fahy. While at the other end, Noreside custodian Dean Mason was also called into action into action during a frantic and breathless first period.
Galway’s TJ Brennan with Eoin Cody of Kilkenny.
Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO
The Ballyhale starlet might have failed to make his goal opportunities pay but the ultra-impressive Eoin Guilfoyle made no mistake on 33 minutes to finish to the net and just two minutes later turned a three-point deficit into a one point advantage after converting a free.
However, Galway’s Donal O’Shea was unerring on placed balls at the other end thereafter, landing four pointed frees without response, to punish some poor Kilkenny discipline and stretch Galway’s lead out to three by the second water break.
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With Galway defenders such as Jason O’Donoghue, TJ Brennan, Conor Flaherty and the rest getting on top, scores from play were at an absolute premium in the second half with John Fleming’s outrageous 49th minute point the only score from play after the half-time whistle.
However, Tribe attackers like McDonagh, Fleming and Conor Walsh were able to draw fouls from Kilkenny defenders when running at them and O’Shea was consistently deadly and landed three final quarter-final pointed scores to ensure victory for his side.
Scorers for Galway: Donal O’Shea 0-12, (0-11f), Seán Neary, Adrian Prendergast, Conor Flaherty (0-1f), Dylan Shaughnessy, Alex Connaire, Seán McDonagh and John Fleming 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kilkenny: Eoin Guilfoyle 1-8 (0-8f), Conor Heary 0-2, Eoin Cody 0-1.
of the team
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1. Darach Fahy (Ardrahan)
2. Oisín Salmon (Clarinbridge)
3. TJ Brennan (Clarinbridge – captain)
4. Jason O’Donoghue (Gort)
5. Diarmuid Kilcommins (Annaghdown)
6. Conor Flaherty (Carnmore)
7. Dylan Shaughnessy (Loughrea)
8. Ian McGlynn (Kilconieron)
9. Alex Connaire (Sarsfields)
12. Adrian Prendergast (Craughwell)
11. Sean Neary (Castlegar)
10. Conor Walsh (Turloughmore)
13. Oisín Flannery (St Thomas)
14. John Fleming (Meelick-Eyrecourt)
15. Donal O’Shea (Salthill-Knocknacarra)
21. Seán McDonagh (Skehana-Mountbellew-Moylough) for Flannery (inj) (25)
18. Adam Brett (Killimordaly) for Prendergast (57)
23. Mark Kennedy (Clarinbridge) for O’Shea (60+1)
20. Eoin Lawless (Athenry) for Salmon (60+2)
17. Caimin Killeen (Loughrea) for Connaire (60+5)
1. Dean Mason (Ballyhale Shmarocks)
2. Darragh O’Keeffe (Dunnamaggin)
3. Darragh Corcoran (James Stephens)
4. Shane Staunton (Clara)
5. Conor Murphy (Bennettsbridge)
6. David Blanchfield (Bennettsbridge)
7. Martin O’Neill (Mooncoin)
8. Cian Kenny (James Stephens)
9. Killian Egan (Graigue-Ballycallan)
10. Martin O’Connell (Clara)
11. Eoin Cody (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
12. Conor Heary (O’Loughlin Gaels)
13. Ian Byrne (Glenmore)
14. Stephen Donnelly (Thomastown)
15. Eoin Guilfoyle (James Stephens)
22. Jack Morrissey (St Patrick’s Ballyragget) for Byrne (40)
17. James Brennan (Erin’s Owen) for Staunton (43)
21. Ciaran Brennan (Bennettsbridge) for O’Connell (50)
20. Conor Kelly (O’Loughlin Gaels) for Murphy (54)
23. Cian Kinsella (Piltown) for Donnelly (60)
Referee: Richie Fitzsimons (Offaly)