Kilkenny Galway draw sees first All-Ireland hurling final replay in 53 years
Kilkenny 0-19 Galway 2-13: On A day of high drama, a late point from Joe Canning secured a first All-Ireland hurling final replay in 53 years.
Canning held his nerve with a late controversial free under the Hogan Stand to earn a second bite of the cherry for Galway.
September 30 is the date for the replay and the GAA are expected to reduce admission prices for it. Gate receipts are close to €5m for All-Ireland finals, so even if prices are cut, the GAA are still in line for a huge windfall. Stand tickets yesterday cost €80, leaving room for a big reduction for the replay.
Odds of 12/1 for a draw were on offer beforehand and while Galway opened up a seven-point lead in the first half, the Cats fought back and led by a point on three occasions in the final quarter.
Joe Canning's stoppage-time equaliser from a free earned Galway a draw in a tension-filled climax after Kilkenny had earlier outscored them by 0-12 to 1-3 in the second half.
Kilkenny were unhappy with the decision to award the match-saving free after Davy Glennon was challenged by Jackie Tyrrell, but ref Barry Kelly had no hesitation when the Galway sub went to ground as he tried to get past the corner-back.
Galway dominated much of the first half and led by five points at the break (1-9 to 0-7). Henry Shefflin top-scored for Kilkenny on 0-12, while Joe Canning contributed 1-9 for Galway. Niall Burke, with 1-2, was the only other Galway forward to score.
With Dublin and Tipperary minors also drawing, it means that September 30 will host a full All-Ireland final programme.
Cody lacked cavalry for charge home
With all the focus on Barry Kelly in the build-up to this final, it was almost inevitable that a refereeing decision would play a vital role in the outcome of this game.
Kilkenny will feel it was a soft free against Jackie Tyrrell, which set up the match-saving score, but there were so many incidents this game might have hinged on that you can't help but feel that, regardless of the journey, the right result was reached at the end.
Kilkenny can look to that free award as a turning point but similarly, Galway might point to the couple of minutes before the break when the Cats were handed a couple of frees that helped cut the gap to a much more manageable five points at the interval.
Galway were full value for the seven-point lead they opened up at one stage in the first half. Crucially, they had managed to quell the influence Brian Hogan and Henry Shefflin had on the game.
They did this by boxing clever, keeping their deliveries low and taking the fight out of the skies, where Kilkenny so often come out on top. Hogan was pulled out from the centre-back position as often as possible and Niall Burke did very well to win a couple of aerial duels, something that is normally the reserve of the O'Loughlin Gaels man.
At the other end, Joe Canning's roving brief meant JJ Delaney had plenty to think about and when he seared away to get the game's opening goal, it emboldened Galway.
And if Canning was the man of the first half, then Shefflin was king after the restart. The stats show Kilkenny outscored Galway by 0-12 to 1-4 in the second period and that they landed six unanswered scores before Galway's second goal. Niall Burke was in the right place at the right time to capitalise on a defensive mix-up, which breathed new life into a fading Galway challenge.
In years gone by, Cody might have gone to the bench, which would have helped them streak off into the distance, but he can't look to a line packed with All Stars and multiple All-Ireland winners at the moment.
I was saying to Eddie Brennan yesterday that he would have at least been an option on the bench, but he's gone from the squad.
Michael Rice's injury decreased Cody's options further, while James 'Cha' Fitzpatrick would have been a serious player to bring on. They are all gone now and that depth has been gnawed away, and it was noticeable that they made just one change, waiting until the 63rd minute to do so, when Matthew Ruth was introduced for the muted Colin Fennelly.
The goal steadied the ship and Galway settled back into things.
Canning clipped over a couple of frees after what had been a quiet second half for him. And Shefflin took his point from a penalty in the last minute of normal time when there was a chance of a goal that would surely have settled it.
It was a difficult situation for the Ballyhale man -- he was perhaps mindful of the free he saw saved in the first half and that he missed the resultant '65'.
Soon afterwards, Canning missed a relatively simple free and, knowing him, he would have taken that hard had it been their last chance. But he kept his nerve when it really mattered and gave Galway another bite of the cherry.
Who's in better shape for the replay? It's really hard to know. Galway now have a panel of players who know what it is to play in an All-Ireland final, which is something they didn't have before the throw-in.
In the second half yesterday, Kilkenny had found a way to deal with Galway's tactics, something they struggled with for the first half and in the Leinster final.
And while there's no doubt that there is an anti-climatic feel to a final that finishes in a draw, there was solace in the fact that, unlike the Tipp-Kilkenny semi-final -- this was a real game of hurling and that we can look forward to another clash in three weeks' time.
Dublin and Tipperary couldn't be separated in the minor final either.
Shay Boland's Dubs were impressive in that they showed little respect for the reputation their opponents came into the final with as they set the tone early on.
Tipp have some class operators and they eventually found their groove, which meant Dublin needed another controversial free award to secure a draw in what turned out to be an omen for the senior game.
Still though, Tipp will know they underperformed yesterday and it will feel like they got out of jail and William Maher's side can finish the job next time around.
- Cyril Farrell
Kilkenny: D Herity; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan, K Joyce; M Fennelly, R Hogan; H Shefflin, TJ Reid, E Larkin; C Fennelly, R Power, A Fogarty.
Galway: James Skehill; David Collins, Kevin Hynes, Fergal Moore; (capt), Niall Donoghue, Tony Og Regan, Johnny Coen; Andy Smith, Iarlaith Tannian; David Burke, Niall Burke, Cyril Donnellan; Damien Hayes, Joe Canning, James Regan