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Cillian Buckley is mobbed by Kilkenny team mates and manager Derek Lyng. Morgan Treacy/INPHO
Leinster Hurling

The Cillian Buckley goal that was heard all around the world

Kilkenny manage to come out on top as Galway appeared to have the matter wrapped up.

LAST UPDATE | Jun 11th 2023, 7:43 PM

Kilkenny 4-21

Galway 2-26 

MAYBE IT WOULD never have happened under Brian Cody, but the sight of Kilkenny players in a massive pile-on at the final whistle of the Leinster final was a tonic to see just how much emotion can be wrung out of a provincial title.

Cillian Buckley, the man at the very bottom of that scrum, scored his first senior championship goal in the final play of the game to secure  victory for the Cats. Even though they have 75 titles of this kind now, few of them would have been settled with such an aftershock.

19 years ago, Kilkenny manager Derek Lyng was on the pitch when his side fell foul to Michael Jacob winning Leinster for Wexford in practically the exact same set of circumstances. The relief of winning is never as high as the low of losing.

“Cillian Buckley, I’m delighted for him personally because he’s just so dedicated to the game and is a leader within the group, and it’s a great way for him to finish off that Leinster final. So it’s absolute relief at the end,” said Lyng afterwards.

For those who feel that Munster hurling carries a little too much welcome for itself, this Leinster final showed that they can provide just the same level of drama.

There are ways to lose and ways to lose a game. This was an absolute killer for a Galway team that poured themselves into the final quarter of this game. And yet in Kilkenny’s first major triumph under Lyng, it was the old Codyesque blue collar and oft-cited qualities; ‘savage intensity’ and ‘hunger’ that remains.

Watching on from the stand, Brian Cody would undoubtedly have adored the manner of the win. Mightn’t have been mad about the exuberant celebrations, but then he was pictured caught up in the day himself in the stands.

It also secures a Leinster four in a row, though they seem to receive scant recognition for feats of this kind.

It was streaky stuff from both sides in the first half. With the crowd enraptured by events and the breathless finish in the Munster final, lowered temperatures and almost 20,000 less in this stadium meant it took a while for things to warm up. There was a big ol’ National League feeling to the thing.

In the first four minutes, the entire Galway full-forward line had opened their accounts and the third example – a Jack Grealish lasered delivery from one corner to the other and finding Conor Whelan – was an early sighting of what was to come.

An Evan Niland point from play was followed by Joseph Cooney stuffing Eoin Murphy’s puckout back over the bar, and a Mikey Butler foul on Kevin Cooney brought Niland’s third.

Galway 0-6 to 0-1 up after seven minutes. The Cat’s response coming in a routine TJ Reid point when he collected a break and economically converted.

It wasn’t a time to panic, and they then compiled an unanswered 1-5. The goal kicked it off; Cian Kenny dishing off to David Blanchfield to burn a path through the middle and handpass off to Martin Keoghan to feather a finish to the net.

Reid then dropped very deep to offer his services for defensive chores and landed a point from Kilkenny’s own 45 metre line and it led to a spurt of 1-5.

Back to Galway then and they broke Kilkenny’s momentum with a goal. Another Grealish delivery with a world of time to make it. Paddy Deegan went up and missed his chance with Whelan staying on the ground and latching onto the break to stitch it low past Eoin Murphy.

conor-whelan-celebrates-after-scoring-his-sides-first-goal-of-the-match Conor Whelan. Tom Maher / INPHO Tom Maher / INPHO / INPHO

Cue another three Galway points.

Cut then to another Kilkenny goal. Murphy’s puckout reached Walter Walsh, that human exclamation mark of a hurler and the big man ploughed towards goal leaving Fintan Burke and Grealish trailing before a disguised finish to the net.

By the break it was level, Kilkenny’s 2-9 matching 1-12.

The ‘Championship Quarter’ belonged to Kilkenny and another big push kick-started by a goal. David Blanchfield took heavy punishment on a run and released none other but the surprise package of Mikey Butler who burrowed through to net.

Evan Niland interrupted the flow with a quick free but then Kilkenny amassed six consecutive points.

A run that was – again – halted with a Galway goal. This time Conor Whelan played a clever pass to substitute Jason Flynn who with his first touch, netted.

At that point, the margin had been cut from eight with twenty minutes left. Galway scored 1-10 up to the 75th minute. Kilkenny replied with 0-4. It wasn’t the sort of form that you felt deserved anything. Whatsoever.

On top of that, the small incidentals made anyone in the stadium feel that it was Galway’s day. Like a TJ Reid free clipping the post. Like Pádraig Walsh being blocked down by Pádraic Mannion and Galway whipping it downfield for a classy effort to level it with four minutes to go.

Sure, Billy Drennan scored with his first touch to put Kilkenny in front again, but Galway had big momentum, franked by two responses from Kevin Cooney who grew into the second half and a TJ Brennan point with seconds left on the clock.

But then the final act. The ball was down in the corner between the Hogan Stand and Canal End. Various figures had a go at clearing it and suddenly a dozen players looked exhausted. Eventually, John Donnelly whipped it square.

Mannion give the ball a knackered boot. Buckley was fresh and lively and could see a corridor of space once he sidestepped TJ Brennan. Mannion was there but by then, Buckley was already loading up the shot to go into the one unguarded spot of Éanna Murphy’s goal.

It found it.

cillian-buckley-scores-the-winning-goal-in-additional-time Cillian Buckley finds the net. Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

 

Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 0-9 (6f), Walter Walsh 1-2, Mikey Butler 1-0, Martin Keoghan 1-0, Cillian Buckley 1-0, Eoin Cody 0-3, Cian Kenny, John Donnelly 0-2 each, David Blanchfield, Pádraig Walsh, Billy Drennan 0-1 each

Scorers for Galway: Evan Niland 0-12 (9f), Conor Whelan 1-6, Jason  Flynn 1-0, Kevin Cooney 0-3, Brian Concannon 0-2, Joseph Cooney, Cathal Mannion, TJ Brennan 0-1 each

  

Kilkenny

1. Eoin Murphy (Glenmore)

2. Mikey Butler (O’Loughlin Gaels), 3. Huw Lawlor (O’Loughlin Gaels), 4. Tommy Walsh (Tullaroan)

22. Cian Kenny (James Stephen’s), 6. David Blanchfield (Bennetsbridge), 7. Darragh Corcoran (Ballyhale)

20. Conor Fogarty (Erin’s Own), 9. Paddy Deegan (O’Loughlin Gaels)

10. Tom Phelan (Conahy Shamrocks), 11. John Donnelly (Thomastown), 12. Billy Ryan (Graigue Ballycallan)

13. Martin Keoghan (Tullaroan), 14. TJ Reid (Ballyhale), 15. Eoin Cody (Ballyhale)

Subs

24. Walter Walsh (Tullogher) for Keoghan (19)

19. Padraig Walsh (Tullaroan) for Fogarty (52)

18. Cillian Buckley (Dicksboro) for Corcoran (58)

23. Timmy Clifford (Dicksboro) for Phelan (61)

26. Billy Drennan (Galmoy) for Ryan (68)

 

Galway

1. Éanna Murphy (Tommy Larkins)

5. Padraic Mannion (Ahascragh-Fohenagh) 3. Gearóid McInerney (Oranmore Maree), 2. Jack Grealish (Gort)

4. Darren Morrissey (Sarsfields), 6. Daithí Burke (Turloughmore), 7. Fintan Burke (St Thomas’)

8. Joseph Cooney (Sarsfields), 21. Cathal Mannion (Ahascragh-Fohenagh)

10. Tom Monaghan (Craughwell), 11. Conor Cooney (St Thomas’), 15. Evan Niland (Clarinbridge)

13. Conor Whelan (Kinvara), 12. Kevin Cooney (Sarsfields), 14. Brian Concannon (Killimordaly)

Subs

25. Jason Flynn (Tommy Larkins) for Monaghan (47)

20. Sean Linnane (Turloughmore) for Conor Cooney (60)

17. TJ Brennan (Clarinbridge) for Morrissey (64)

 

Referee: Sean Stack (Dublin)

Written by Declan Bogue 

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