Minor hurlers swamped by slick and superior Kilkenny

Kilkenny 4-23

Galway 1-14

John McIntyre at Nowlan Park

ON the law of averages alone, Galway’s remarkable run of positive results against Kilkenny in minor hurling was bound to end sooner rather than later but few anticipated that this dominance would be halted in such brutal fashion at Nowlan Park on Saturday.

Unbeaten by the Cats at this level since 2010, the latest crop of Galway minors walked straight into the equivalent of a hurling haymaker against a seriously a talented Kilkenny team which cantered to an 18-point victory.

This round-robin provincial championship fixture represented Kenneth Burke’s debut in inter-county management, but it proved a chastening experience for the St Thomas’ clubman and his team who never really got to grips with the skill, cohesion and greater physical power of their hosts.

Regardless of Galway’s upcoming fortunes in further round-robin group ties against Dublin and Wexford, they are guaranteed a place in the knock-out stages, but at least they have now seen the standard they must aspire to and that might be no bad thing. One expects that the boys in maroon will improve over the coming weeks, but they will need to.

Individually, several Galway players had good moments – not least centre back Jonah Donnellan, midfielder Eoghan Mulleady and half-forward Ciarán Leen – but Kilkenny were operating at a difference level and had star performers in Larry Phelan, Jack Dollard, David Barcoe, Anthony Clifford, Jake Mullen, Patrick Lacey, Conor Holohan and the towering Bill McDermott.

At times, Galway didn’t look up to the pace of the game. On numerous occasions they were turned over in possession due to a slowness in movement and striking, but that is something that can be worked on. Players like Brian Callanan never threw in the towel only to be eventually swamped by a superior force.

Pictured: Galway players Ronan Murphy, Ciarán Leen and Stephen Keane show their disappointment after losing heavily to Kilkenny in the Leinster Minor Hurling Championship at Nowlan Park on Saturday.

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