Less than 36 hours after winning their semi-finals, New York and Kilkenny once again faced off in the All-Ireland Junior Championship.
James Carroll got the Cats off the mark in Croke Park with a point from play. New York drew the game just a few minutes later as CJ Molloy put over a free. The Exiles looked assured in the backline and quick to counterattack. Thomas Shalvey charged up the field before spraying it over to the line which forced Kilkenny to foul and allowed CJ Molloy another chance at a free. The accuracy just was not there though with the wind not helping either side, swirling around the field on Jones Road. After ten minutes, nerves seemed quite evident in both sides. Mick Kenny settled any nerves for Kilkenny by putting over a free on 15 minutes.
Conor Mathers drew things level, picking up on a fantastic ball into him and showing some exceptional movement to put it over the bar. Mick Malone and Shay McElligot got themselves a score each, however, both sides were missing chances with the American team registering six wides, while Christy Walsh’s men hit four wide in the opening twenty. New York finally took the lead from a McElligot free before doubling that blow with Conor Mathers separating the team by two points. Out of nowhere, Kilkenny had a chance to put them up by one, Mick Malone took advantage of a lovely ball in from Carroll and charged towards the goalmouth, before putting it wide. Straight from the kickoff, Thomas Shalvey hit one over-the-bar before Bronx man Mathers got his third of the game.
Half time: Kilkenny 0-03 New York 0-07
Kilkenny needed a fast start, however first blood game from a McElligot free, with Kilkenny certainly having a mountain to climb. As impressive as New York were going forward, they are getting so many lads behind the ball frustrating the Black and Amber. The pressure being put on The Cats and the desperation to get into touching distance was resulting in two more wides. The wides themselves have been disappointed, however, the New York kick outs have been critical to their attack, batting for 100%. Lisdowneys Mick Kenny hit a point from a free to bring his county back into it with the first score of the second half. It was now crucial for Christy Walsh to get back-to-back scores, with the manager bringing on Rory Monks, Ciaran Quilty, and Joe Fennelly.
Quilty nearly made an immediate impact by hitting the post before the New York keeper Ryan Corrigan pulled off a brilliant save. James Carroll assured that Kilkenny would not come away from the attack empty-handed, by taking his score and bringing the game back to a one-score game. The substitutions have allowed the defending All-Ireland champions to hit a bit of a purple patch with they now looking more likely to get a much-needed goal.
Then it happened, Quilty spotted Mick Kenny who sidestepped his defender and burst it low into the bottom corner passing Corrigan to draw the game. Conor Hennessy finally put Kilkenny ahead before New York got a much-needed score from the boot of Emmet Loughran with a nailbiting ten minutes left. The advantage went to Kilkenny though as the next two scores went in their favour with Ciaran Quilty and James Carroll getting a point a piece. New York was not down and out though as Shay McElligot kept hopes alive.
We were now down to five points, the thoughts of extra time and penalties surely playing on Christy Walsh’s mind as he emptied the bench. Shay McElligot drew the game level though just as we approached injury time. New York had a glorious chance to put them ahead before hitting wide. Rory Monks went the other end and fisted over the bar with one point separating the side. things started to get frantic and before we knew it there was a two-point swing, McElligot, and Brian Coughlan allowed The Exiles to lead by one. The clock started ticking to the final few seconds, Kilkenny had one last throw of the dice, a line ball. It was taking very quickly, James Carroll found himself with the ball in hand, but it was not to be, with the shot going heartbreakingly wide.
For the first time in history, New York are the All-Ireland Junior Champions.
Full time: Kilkenny 1-09 New York 0-13