Kilkenny U20 hurlers traveled to Glenisk O’Connor Park in Tullamore to take on Galway in round two of the O’Neills Leinster hurling championship
After defeat to Wexford in round 1 Mark Dowling was hoping for his team to put in a performance against the tribesmen on Saturday last, he was boosted that he had the senior hurlers available to play in the game. Kilkenny got off to a great start and by the 7th minute had a lead 1-1 to 0-2 thanks to Billy Drennan. Galway hit a purple patch and scored 1-6 without reply to leave the Cats trailing by seven points by the first quarter. Billy Drennan reduced the deficit with his second goal of the half to leave four in it approaching the interval. The teams went into the break with just a puck of a ball between them 1-12 to 2-6.
By the third quarter of the game, Kilkenny had a six-point lead and was cruising, things got better for the stripey men when Timmy Clifford rattled the Galway net to leave eight points between the teams. That was quickly followed up with a Galway goal and the lead was back to five. Cillian Hackett scored a fourth goal for Kilkenny as the clock ticked into the red, Galway though didn’t give up and scored their third goal two minutes into injury time. There was still time for the Cats to get another goal, their fifth in total, and came from the stick of Gearóid Dunne.
“Happy with the second half especially the first 15-20 minutes of it,” said Kilkenny manager Mark Dowling.
“Happy to score 5-20 but been honest unhappy to concede 3-20, it’s nice to have something to work on as well. To win today has a nice feel-good factor after last week and it’s nice to get a boost like that for him”
There is a possibility that these teams could meet again further down the line, Dowling was happy about that:
“That’s the thing with the round robin and it’s great and I support it that fact there is a number of matches now for the players is great, you are likely to meet one another further down the road if you’re to progress during the championship. You just have to take it as a separate match when it happens and I have no doubt if we meet Galway again we’re going to be in for an awful battle”
Asked what pleased him most about the performance, he said “I’m just after coming out of the dressing room and what I said to the lads what pleased me most is the lads haven’t got too high after winning the match, they’ve just taken it on board and they’ll move on straight away, there is no one in there jumping around or shouting and that’s pleasing, in relation to the match our first fifteen, twenty minutes of the second half was pleasing”.
“Maybe the games come a bit too tight, but for the lads, I think it’s great, everyone wants to be playing matches, you do enough training, and the ratio of training to matches can be a bit lob-sided, so to be getting matches week in week out can test panels and injuries can become a problem, I think ultimately this is what they train for this is what they play for and please god going into a full UPMC Nowlan Park on Saturday with the Senior match too will be great for these lads”.
Listen back to the full interview below: