Three first-half goals helped propel Galway to success against Kilkenny’s Division 1A hurling league clash in Pearse Stadium this afternoon.
In a rematch of last year’s All-Ireland final replay, Anthony Cunningham’s side laid the foundations for their victory in the first-half.
A double goal blast in the opening quarter was integral to their success as Joe Canning supplied two deliveries which were finished to the net by his colleagues in attack, Davy Glennon and Niall Healy.
Kilkenny responded to hit five points on the spin with Richie Hogan, Lester Ryan and Tommy Walsh amongst their scorers in that period as they cut the gap to 2-4 to 0-9.
But then Galway pounced for the critical third goal before the interval courtesy of attacker Damien Hayes with Canning again the creator as he enabled his Portumna club mate to rattle the back of the Kilkenny net.
With a 3-4 to 0-10 interval advantage, Galway had the momentum entering the second-half which was initially a scrappy affair. By the midway mark Joe Canning’s accuracy from frees ensured they remained in the ascendancy as they lead by 3-8 to 0-12 by the 51st minute.
Kilkenyn could not bridge that gap in the finale as Galway, for whom Joseph Cooney starred at centre-back, claimed the honours as they began their 2013 league campaign in a promising fashion.
Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 0-6 (0-5f, 0-1 ‘65), Davy Glennon, Damien Hayes 1-1 each, Niall Healy 1-0, Joseph Cooney, Aidan Harte, David Collins 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kilkenny: Richie Power 0-8 (0-5f, 0-1 ‘65), Richie Hogan 0-4 (0-4f), Aidan Fogarty 0-2, Tommy Walsh, Lester Ryan, Eoin Larkin 0-1 each.
GALWAY: Fergal Flannery (Padraig Pearses); Johnny Coen (Loughrea), Kevin Hynes (Sarsfields), Fergal Moore (Turloughmore); Niall Donoghue (Kilbeacanty), Joseph Cooney (Sarsfields), David Collins (Liam Mellowes); Iarla Tannian (Ardrahan), Aidan Harte (Gort); Jonathan Glynn (Ardrahan), Niall Burke (Oranmore-Maree), Davy Glennon (Mullagh); Niall Healy (Craughwell), Joe Canning (Portumna), Damien Hayes (Portumna).
Subs: Tadhg Haran (Liam Mellowes) for Tannian (31), Brian Flaherty (Abbeyknockmoy) for Healy (52), Padraig Brehony (Tynagh-Abbey-Duniry) for Burke (68).
KILKENNY: Eoin Murphy (Glenmore); Paul Murphy (Danesfort), JJ Delaney (Fenians), Jackie Tyrrell (James Stephens); Tommy Walsh (Tullaroan), Kieran Joyce (Rower-Inistioge), Conor Fogarty (Erin’s Own); Lester Ryan (Clara), Richie Power (Carrickshock); Colin Fennelly (Ballyhale Shamrocks), Michael Fennelly (Ballyhale Shamrocks), Matthew Ruth (James Stephens); Tom Breen (St Martin’s), Richie Hogan (Danesfort), Aidan Fogarty (Emeralds).
Subs: Mark Kelly (O’Loughlin Gaels) for Breen (49).
Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork)