All-Ireland GAA Hurling Championship Semi-Final – Kilkenny 2-19 Waterford 1-16

Kilkenny display killer instinct to dismantle Deise


By Martin Breheny from the Irish Independent newspaper

Monday August 08 2011

A familiar August tale of Kilkenny efficiency and Waterford shortcomings colliding to produce a predictable result. Just as they had done over five previous seasons, Kilkenny booked in for another All-Ireland final date without having to show their full hand, while, yet again, Waterford failed to cross the class line which has proved so elusive for so long. They were infinitely better than in the Munster final where Tipperary humiliated them, but still came up quite some way short.

Nobody could question Waterford’s workrate, resolve or resilience, but even a tightly-packed combination of all three was never going to be enough to dislodge Kilkenny in their obsessive drive to return to the All-Ireland final. If Waterford were to succeed where they failed repeatedly against Kilkenny over the last seven years, they needed to perform at a level not reached this season. It would also have required Kilkenny to drop down a few notches, a scenario that looked most unlikely when they hit Waterford for 1-2 in the opening six minutes.

Ominously, Kilkenny’s first score was a goal from Danesfort sniper Richie Hogan, who smashed the ball to the net in the third minute. Could this turn into a repeat of the 2008 All-Ireland final where Kilkenny scourged Waterford in a manner not seen on the big day for a very long time? With the memory of the seven-goal Munster final massacre still lurking dangerously close to the surface, Waterford must have feared that unless they stopped the bleeding immediately they were in line for a second embarrassing defeat in four weeks.

To their credit, they stemmed the flow and, having done that, they set about trying to wound Kilkenny. For a time, they succeeded, cutting a 1-3 to 0-1 Kilkenny lead after 10 minutes to just a two-point deficit after 31 minutes. Much of the credit for the recovery belonged to John Mullane, whose driving runs from centre-forward seriously discommoded the Kilkenny defence. Moving Mullane out from the corner has reinvigorated him and he continued to cause serious problems for Kilkenny all day. He scored 1-6 — all from open play — and was desperately unlucky not to have landed a second goal in what became a match-turning minute just before half-time. Mullane hit his first goal in the 25th minute and eight minutes later looked certain to strike again when he pulled the trigger from close range.

However, Kilkenny goalkeeper David Herity, who was extremely secure all day, made a brilliant block, diverting the ball into the air before collecting it comfortably. It was the worst possible outcome for Waterford, who might have had a goal, a point or even a ’65’ off Mullane’s drive. However, their bad luck got worse almost immediately when Kilkenny broke downfield and Colin Fennelly played in Hogan, who batted the ball to the net. It was a six-point turnaround in the space of a minute, leaving Kilkenny leading by 2-9 to 1-7 when they could so easily have been trailing by 2-7 to 1-9.

Henry Shefflin pointed a free just before the interval to further depress Waterford as they headed for the dressing-room. They needed a positive start to the second half, but instead it was Kilkenny who retained the initiative, out-scoring Waterford by 0-5 to 0-1 in the third quarter. It left Kilkenny leading by 10 points after 51 minutes and, while Waterford pared it back by one around the hour mark, it still looked as if they were headed for a comprehensive beating.

However, Waterford summoned a late of burst of energy, firing over four unanswered points to come within striking distance with seven minutes left, but, as Kilkenny have done so often in the past, they tightened their defensive security, ensuring that Waterford couldn’t get through for the goal they so badly needed. Subs Paddy Hogan and Eddie Brennan scored late points for Kilkenny before Mullane closed out the scoring, leaving Kilkenny six points clear and comfortably through to their ninth All-Ireland final in 10 seasons. They did it with the minimum of fuss while always giving the impression they had plenty in reserve if tougher questions were asked.

Eight Kilkenny men scored in the first half — seven from open play — while only four countered for Waterford, three from open play. That was a significant difference on a day when Mullane’s excellence was the only redeeming feature of the Waterford attack. Shane Walsh scored two goals against Kilkenny in the 2009 All-Ireland semi-final, but found no room to manoeuvre yesterday; Eoin Kelly made no impression, while Pauric Mahony, who has done well overall in his debut season, had a lean time too. Tony Browne, Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh and Noel Connors did well in the Waterford defence, but, in terms of overall balance, Kilkenny held the edge all over the field.

Paul Murphy, Jackie Tyrrell and Tommy Walsh were ultra-vigilant in defence, Michael Fennelly emerged as the day’s most influential midfielder, while in attack Hogan’s goals, Shefflin’s leadership and Colin Fennelly’s industry left Waterford with a range of difficulties. Kilkenny’s only blip was their inaccurate shooting. They shot seven wides in the first half and were off-target 10 times in the second, an error rate which suggests that target practice will be high on the agenda in Nowlan Park over the coming weeks. Waterford had their shooting problems too, especially in the opening 15 minutes of the second half when they shot five wides, while scoring just one point.

It left them with far too much to do and while they showed commendable appetite for the recovery effort, they needed goals to really rattle Kilkenny. They dropped lots of lengthy deliveries in front of the Kilkenny goal, but the defence sealed all approach routes in front of Herity. In the end, then, it was business as usual for Kilkenny, while Waterford are once again facing the reality that, despite their best efforts, they just can’t break through the barrier which continues to torment them in August. Kilkenny, in contrast, are back in the All-Ireland final after straight-forward wins over Wexford, Dublin and Waterford.

Scorers — Kilkenny: H Shefflin 0-7 (4f), R Hogan 2-0, M Fennelly 0-3, C Fennelly, E Larkin 0-2 each, M Rice, B Hogan, TJ Reid, P Hogan, E Brennan 0-1 each. Waterford: J Mullane 1-6, E Kelly 0-3 (2f), P Mahony (2f), M Shanahan (1f) 0-2 each, S Molumphy, S Prendergast, R Foley (f) 0-1 each.

Kilkenny — D Herity 8; P Murphy 8 N Hickey 7, J Tyrrell 8; T Walsh 8, B Hogan 6, JJ Delaney 7; M Fennelly 8, TJ Reid 6; M Rice 7, R Power 7, H Shefflin 7; C Fennelly 7, E Larkin 7, R Hogan 8. Subs: P Hogan 7 for Reid (h-t), E Brennan 7 for Rice (61).

Waterford — C Hennessy 7; N Connors 7, L Lawlor 6, D Fives 6; T Browne 7, M Walsh 7, D Prendergast 5; K Moran 6, S O’Sullivan 6; S Prendergast 6, J Mullane 9, P Mahony 5; S Molumphy 6, S Walsh 5, E Kelly 5. Subs: J Nagle 6 for D Prendergast (h-t), M Shanahan 7 for Mahony (44), T Ryan 6 for Kelly (52), R Foley 6 for S Walsh (53).

Ref — B Kelly (Westmeath)


Hogan double helps Cats to sixth successive final

Report from the web site

Sunday, August 07, 2011

GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final

Kilkenny 2-19 Waterford 1-16

Kilkenny may have failed to reach their usual high standards, but they did enough to beat Waterford by six points and reach their sixth successive GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship final. Two Richie Hogan goals at either end of the first half were the difference between the sides in the end, but the Cats would have won by a far more comfortable margin had they not struck a total of 17 wides. Hogan’s 34th minute goal helped Kilkenny to a 2-10 to 1-7 lead at the break. That margin flattered the Cats as Waterford had recovered well from the concession of an early Hogan goal to reduce the gap to just two points in the second quarter after John Mullane’s 25th minute strike had brought them right back into contention.

When Kilkenny hit five of the first six scores in the second half, the portents looked ominous for the Déise. However, Kilkenny failed to show any of their trademark ruthlessness in a disappointing second half as their forward line struggled to capitalise on the surfeit of ball coming their way, hitting wide after wide and allowing Waterford back into the game. Thanks largely to the inspirational Mullane – who finished with 1-6 from play – the Déise staged a brief rally in the closing 10 minutes and whittled the gap back to five by the 64th minute.

Despite their difficulties in attack, Kilkenny’s defence held solid and superb performances from Jackie Tyrrell and Paul Murphy helped them stem the tide in that worrying closing spell, as late points from Michael Rice and Eddie Brennan ruled out any fleeting hopes that Waterford would claim a first Championship win over their south-east neighbours for the first time in 52 years. Waterford, one suspected, needed a positive start to give them the confidence they needed bridge that daunting gap; they got the opposite. With just under three minutes played, the Cats ransacked their full-back line, as Richie Hogan raced onto a breaking ball and fired to the net. Michael Fennelly and Henry Shefflin added quick scores to compound the Déise misery.

Eight minutes had passed before Waterford registered a point, Eoin Kelly on target from a free, but there were signs that, despite the horrible start, Waterford were up for the battle. Kevin Moran was excelling again in midfield and he found a bristling Mullane, who sent over a fine score from play. When Pauric Mahony and Seamus Prendergast made it three Waterford scores in a row, belief began to course through their side, especially after Prendergast’s wonderful effort in the 13th minute.

However, Kilkenny ruthlessly stamped out that little revival when they hit four points in six minutes. Fennelly, who has been in inspired form at midfield this year, hit a second point, while TJ Reid and Eoin Larkin were also on target. Six points down, Waterford needed a response – and it was Mullane who came up trumps again with a goal on 25 minutes. Seamus Prendergast won the ball and rather than take his point, the Ardmore man spotted Mullane’s run and he finished brilliantly to the Kilkenny net.

Davy Fitzgerald’s side were buzzing and two lovely points from Mullane and Kelly reduced the gap to just two points – 1-9 to 1-7 – with four minutes to go to half-time. Indeed, they might have had the lead had Kilkenny goalkeeper David Herity not saved well from Mullane, who probably should have taken his point given the tight angle. Nevertheless, Waterford were on top and looked on course to be trailing by a very manageable margin at half-time. But disaster struck when a loose defensive clearance was snaffled up by the Cats and Colin Fennelly fed Richie Hogan, whose flicked finish over Clinton Hennessy was sublime. Henry Shefflin added a point in added time to leave Kilkenny six ahead at the break.

Shefflin opened the second half with two more scores and by the 51st minute, the Cats had increased their lead to 2-14 to 1-8 and the game appeared to be over as a contest. However, that is when Kilkenny uncharacteristically lost their way and allowed Waterford back into the game. The Déise forwards had struggled in the third quarter and the introduction of Maurice Shanahan, Tommy Ryan and Richie Foley appeared to give them a new lease of life. Waterford’s comeback began in earnest in the 56th minute, as captain Stephen Molumphy began a purple patch that produced six points in nine minutes. Shanahan hit three and Mullane added two more points from play to his total.

But there was to be no fairytale ending to Waterford’s roller coaster season as Kilkenny responded with two points to end any hopes of a comeback. Rice and Brennan finally hit the target for the Cats after their second half performance had been pockmarked by a string of wides.

Kilkenny Scorers: H Shefflin 0-7 (0-4f), R Hogan 2-0, M Fennelly 0-3, E Larkin 0-2, C Fennelly 0-2, M Rice 0-2, E Brennan 0-1, B Hogan 0-1, TJ Reid 0-1.

Waterford Scorers: J Mullane 1-6, E Kelly 0-3 (0-2f), M Shanahan 0-3 (0-2f), P Mahony 0-2 (0-2f), S Molumphy 0-1, S Prendergast 0-1.

Kilkenny: D Herity; P Murphy, N Hickey, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan, JJ Delaney; M Fennelly, M Rice; TJ Reid, R Power, E Larkin; C Fennelly, H Shefflin, R Hogan. Subs: E Brennan for R Hogan (Temp, 34-36), P Hogan for TJ Reid (HT), E Brennan for M Rice (61)

Waterford: C Hennessy; D Fives, L Lawlor, N Connors; T Browne, M Walsh, D O’Sullivan; K Moran, S Sullivan; S Prendergast, S Molumphy, P Mahony; J Mullane, S Walsh, E Kelly. Subs: J Nagle for D Prendergast (HT), M Shanahan for P Mahony (45), T Ryan for E Kelly (52), R Foley for S Walsh (53).

Referee: Barry Kelly (Westmeath)

Attendance: 31,634