How would this League opener go? We followed the action every step of the way.
13.11 – Welcome to Salthill. It was frosty this morning out in the west, but conditions are now ideal. Injuries have impacted on Brian Cody’s team selection, but the Black and Amber still field a starting XV studded with classy hurlers. There is experience in every line, but significant interest surrounds how Conor Fogarty, Lester Ryan, and Tom Breen will fare.
For the locals the stationing of Joseph Cooney at centre back dominates the pre match conversations. Anthony Cunningham, Mattie Kenny, and Tom Helebert steered Galway back to respectability in 2012, but remaining at the top table will be a monumental challenge.
In attack Jonathan Glynn, who impressed in his Championship cameos last year, will be hoping to exhibit his ball winning prowess again. The Ardrahan youngster is adept in the air. How Glynn performs will be worth monitoring.
13.46 – A decent crowd is gathering at Pearse Stadium. Galway want to build on last year’s encouraging campaign, but they face a real test in the Salthill sun.
13.55 – One late change on the Kilkenny team. Eoin Larkin starts instead of Michael Fennelly.
14.05 – Galway 0-1 Kilkenny 0-0: 3 mins – Aidan Harte has struck the first point of the game. Lively start with two splendid clearances from Joseph Cooney in the early stages.
14.07 – Galway 0-2 Kilkenny 0-1: 5 mins – It is moving along at a nice clip here in Salthill. Joe Canning (free) and Richie Power have traded scores.
14.12 – Galway 0-2 Kilkenny 0-2: 11 mins – It is very tight in the early stages in the west. Richie Hogan has just landed a free from 63 metres to level it up.
14.17 – Goal for Galway!
14.18 – A second goal for Galway in 90 seconds!
14.20 – Galway 2-3 Kilkenny 0-4: 17 mins – The Tribesmen have pounced for two goals inside 90 seconds. Joe Canning deliveries created the two goals which were bagged by Davy Glennon and Niall Healy. An interesting first quarter.
14.22 – Galway 2-4 Kilkenny 0-5: 20 mins – Richie Hogan and Joe Canning swap frees and then Richie Power converts one from an acute angle.
14.31 – Galway 2-4 Kilkenny 0-7: 24 mins – Kilkenny have hit three points on the spin including a beauty from Tommy Walsh to trim the deficit.
14.33 – Galway 2-4 Kilkenny 0-9: 31 mins – Make that five points in a row from the Cats with Richie Hogan and Lester Ryan leaving only the minimum in it.
14.34 – Goal for Galway!
14.37 – Galway 3-4 Kilkenny 0-9: 34 mins – The third Galway goal was scored in the 32nd minute and it was all about Portumna. Again Canning was the creator and on this occasion Damien Hayes converted. After controlling Canning’s sharp cross field pass Hayes skipped away from Tommy Walsh before rattling the Kilkenny net.
14.39 – Half-time: Galway 3-4 Kilkenny 0-10: An Aidan Fogarty point ends the opening period scoring. Galway have been fairly clinical converting chances inside and that is why they leave at the interval protecting a three point lead.
14.48 – Galway 3-4 Kilkenny 0-10: It is very early in the year, but this has been a decent game in Salthill. Galway are fortunate to be ahead, but they have been efficient converting goal chances. Kilkenny have offered glimpses of class, particularly Richie Power, who has enjoyed a productive outing hurling plenty of ball at centrefield.
14.54 – Teams are back on the field in Salthill. Game has resumed.
14.58 – Galway 3-4 Kilkenny 0-11: 39 mins- Richie Hogan taps over a routine free as Kilkenny move to within two points of Galway again.
15.00 – Galway 3-4 Kilkenny 0-11: 41 mins – It has been a scrappy start to the second half. Richie Hogan has missed a scoreable free for the Cats.
15.02 – Galway 3-4 Kilkenny 0-11: 44 mins -Hogan surprisingly misses another free seconds after Davy Glennon was denied a fourth Galway goal by Kilkenny custodian Eoin Murphy.
15.05 – Galway 3-5 Kilkenny 0-11: 47 mins – Galway finally register a second half score courtesy of a nice Damien Hayes point on the run.
15.07 – Galway 3-6 Kilkenny 0-11: 48 mins- Joe Canning has nailed his fourth free of the afternoon from distance to edge Galway further ahead.
15.08 – Galway 3-6 Kilkenny 0-12: 49 mins – Aidan Fogarty has landed a fine score for Kilkenny, who have introduced Mark Kelly for Tom Breen.
15.10 – Galway 3-8 Kilkenny 0-12: 51 mins – Joe Canning rifles over another free and it is quickly followed by a tidy effort from Davy Glennon.
15.13 – Galway 3-8 Kilkenny 0-13: 54 mins – Richie Power scores a free for the Cats, who are still very much in this contest despite leaking three first half goals.
15.14 – Galway 3-9 Kilkenny 0-13: 55 mins – David Collins has just drilled over a delightful score for Galway, who are five ahead with 15 minutes remaining.
15.18 – Galway 3-9 Kilkenny 0-14: 58 mins- Richie Power blasts over a free after Kevin Hynes fouled Colin Fennelly.
15.20 – Galway 3-9 Kilkenny 0-15: 60 mins – A drop of controversy here. Referee Diarmuid Kirwan somehow didn’t award a free out to Galway and then Kilkenny were given a soft one which Richie Power converted. The locals aren’t too happy!
15.22 – Galway 3-10 Kilkenny 0-15: 62 mins – Joe Canning bangs over a 65, but Eoin Larkin responds with a point for play seconds after Galway custodian Fergal Flannery denied Richie Hogan.
15.23 – Five minutes left Galway lead by four.
15.26 – Galway 3-11 Kilkenny 0-17: 67 mins – Joseph Cooney scores a classy point for Galway, but a Richie Power free brings Kilkenny to within a goal of the Maroons.
15.29 – Galway 3-11 Kilkenny 0-17: 69 mins- Seconds remain, will Galway hold on?
15.31 – Galway win by three in Salthill.
15.34 – Full-time: Galway 3-11 Kilkenny 0-17 - It wasn’t a classic by the Corrib, but that won’t bother Galway manager Anthony Cunningham. The Tribesmen pocketed the spoils and at this stage of the year that is what truly matters. Joseph Cooney was a standout performer for the locals, who face Clare in Ennis in a fortnight. Kilkenny go to Thurles on Saturday week. Already that looks a crunch Division 1A fixture.
Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 0-6 (5fs, 165), Davy Glennon 1-1, Damien Hayes 1-1, Niall Healy 1-0, Joseph Cooney 0-1, Aidan Harte 0-1, David Collins 0-1.
Scorers for Kilkenny: Richie Power 0-8 (5fs, 165), Richie Hogan 0-4 (4fs), Aidan Fogarty 0-2, Tommy Walsh 0-1, Lester Ryan 0-1, Eoin Larkin 0-1.