Kilkenny defeated Westmeath by twenty-two points in the opening round of the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship in UPMC Nowlan Park on Saturday evening last
Kilkenny bounced back from their recent league defeat to Limerick as they defeated Westmeath in a one-sided game in the first round of the Leinster Championship. The cats were overwhelming favorites going into the game and were never threatened in a game they completely controlled from start to finish. they went into the break with a very healthy 0-17 to 0-4 lead.
It was the first time that TJ Reid has played this year and with Adrian Mullen returning the cat’s started with a strong team with both contributing fifteen points of Kilkenny’s total. The weather conditions were very difficult and the second half was just two teams going through the motions as Kilkenny ran out comfortable winners despite TJ Reid missing a penalty after Charlie McCormack was shown a black card after pulling down Adrian Mullen as he ran toward the Westmeath goal. Kilkenny had eleven different scorers in the game which will please Derek Lyng, but he will be worried about the lack of goal chances created and the fact his team didn’t work the Westmeath goalie a bit more.
Speaking to the media after the game, Lyng said:
“We started the game very well, we were totally on top. We were winning battles all over the pitch and as the game went on we were comfortable. We know we have bigger tests ahead, I suppose the lads are ready for this. We’ve had a good couple of weeks since the Limerck game and the lads were ready for this, but we’ll have a bigger test next week”
“We made it very hard on them, conditions didn’t help either, we pushed up everywhere around the pitch and made it hard on them. Westmeath have a championship left to play and I have no doubt they’ll do better in other games but I think its more down to the way we played than Westmeath’s performance today”
On the topic of the lack of goal chances, Lyng said “I’m not sure if we had too many chances second half, first half I thought we had one or two, you’d like to be on the end of a few chances and test their keeper a bit more, we didn’t do that and we’ll need to next week and in the coming weeks and its something we’ll have to work on”
Kilkenny was missing a couple of key men at the weekend and Lyng gave an update on their progress
“Both of them [Drennan] and [Deegan] had really strong league campaigns, only thing is they’re not long term which is the only positive out of it, they’ll likely miss the next two to three rounds but hopefully they’ll be back then”.
Both TJ and Adrian Mullen were back which Lyng was happy about “Adrian was moving really well TJ was the same, got the full game into him [Reid] which he needed, both of them were sharp and that’s a positive and we have more lads coming back to us in the next couple of weeks”.
Lyng will go up against his former teammate, Henry Shefflin for the first time when both sides meet in round 2 of the championship next weekend, he had this to say “Galway are a serious team, I saw the team at the weekend, they’re strong but a great challenge for us and we’re looking forward to it”.
Listen back to the full interview on Scoreline Extra at the link below