The Munster and Leinster Hurling Finals concluded on the weekend of November 14th, and 15th, with Kilkenny and Limerick being crowned as champions in their respective provinces.
Kilkenny is a step closer to the All-Ireland Hurling Final, after claiming Leinster Final Victory over Galway on Saturday, November 14th.
Supersub Richie Hogan hit 1-02 off the bench to inspire the Cats to their 72nd Leinster title, the first in four years.
The Tribesmen looked to be on the path towards victory, remaining consistent throughout the whole game and were up 5 points with fifteen minutes to go. However, the true determination that Kilkenny has shone through, as Hogan scored two goals in a minute to secure the win.
Hogan’s second goal came from a flick of the loose ball, as full-back Joseph Cooney and goalkeeper Eanna Murphy got muddled up trying to defend. It was a brilliant touch and will definitely be considered a contender for goal of the season.
Galway kept the heads up, with Joe Canning and David Burke putting a point each over the bar to reassert their confidence in the game.
However, their confidence was short-lived as Hogan got another goal a minute later.
The bigger, more aggressive Galway side won most of the ball and scored most of the points of the play in the game but also did most of the fouling, allowing Kilkenny to keep in touch through frees.
The Cats have now finally got a win over Galway, their first championship victory over their biggest rivals in five attempts. It may have been a case of a game lost behind for Galway, as they looked to be the dark horse in this year’s season.
Kilkenny march on to the semi-finals which take place this weekend. A defeated Galway side will face Tipperary in another quest for glory.
Across the other side of the country, Limerick was busy claiming their second Munster final victory over Waterford.
The Treaty side was seen as firm favourites ahead of the game, following previous dominant performances over Clare and Tipperary.
However, despite the wind and pundits against them, Waterford held their own and put up a strong fight.
Limerick had led 0-14 to 0-11 at half-time in what was a strange game under lights, saw both sides draw level on five separate occasions.
An impressive 12 point return from Waterford’s Stephen Bennett, with three scores from play, wasn’t enough to see off a determined Limerick side in their 48th Munster final appearance.
The Deise thought it was best to display a tactic that allowed Limerick to play the short puck-out, and then attack the defending side. It worked extremely well, but unfortunately, it just wasn’t their day.
They put up one hell of a fight, but Waterford led the match for less than a minute and proved too weak for a powerful Limerick team. The way Limerick took control in the final quarter showed why they remain firm All-Ireland favourites.
Limerick now has two back-to-back to Munster SHC final wins for the first time since 1981, and are likely to keep their momentum going as they prepare for the semi-final next week.
Both the Limerick and Kilkenny team will now head to training ahead for their semi-finals. Their opponents will depend on the outcome of the quarter-finals, as Clare face Waterford and Tipperary face Galway.
Image Credit: RTE