Defending All-Ireland junior football champions Kilkenny are bound for Croke Park this Sunday in a bid to make it two titles in a row.
Christy Walsh’s side had a somewhat nervy finish in the end but held out for a 1-13 to 0-15 win over London in their championship semi-final at the GAA National Games Development Centre in Abbotstown in the first of our two live games on Friday night.
While Kilkenny were without a number of key names from last year’s All-Ireland win, Walsh’s much-changed side opened the scoring through Mullinavat’s Ian Duggan, and with 10 minutes on the clock had six points on the scoreboard including a free from Mick Kenny a point from play from James Carroll.
The four-point margin earned early on carried through to half time with Kilkenny going into the break 0-12 to 0-8 up, Jamie Holohan, James Carroll and Jim Culleton all chipping in with points.
London slowly clawed the gap back, Shay Rafter getting the scoring underway in the second half for the visitors with Ryan McCready, and a brace from Connor Spinks cutting the deficit to a single point, 0-13 to 0-12.
James Carroll’s goal with 10 minutes to go proved vital, London taking the last three scores of the game but leaving it too little too late as Kilkenny closed out a solid performance to set up a lunchtime date on Sunday with the Exiles.
Kilkenny’s brand of football could have yielded another two or three goals but while they’ll take some confidence to Croke Park on Sunday, they’ll need to be more clinical if they’re to come back to the Marble City as All-Ireland champions for a second year running.
The county’s footballers and hurlers in consecutive All-Ireland finals? Not a bad way to spend two weekends in July.
Catch Kilkenny v New York live on KCLR this Sunday at 1.30pm, live from Croke Park.
London team v Kilkenny
Kilkenny team v London
Listen back: Kilkenny v London