Galway's loss to Kilkenny hurts the most after 'disappointing performance'

The road towards an All-Ireland final appearance has become longer and more testing for the Galway senior hurlers following their defeat at the hands of Kilkenny by 0-22 to 0-17 in last weekend's Leinster final.

Should Cork get the better of Antrim this weekend, then it will be Kieran Kingston’s men next up for Galway in Thurles.

Cork are on the crest of a wave off the back of impressive wins against Waterford and Tipperary, and will have no fears of taking on a Galway side that failed to hit its stride against Kilkenny.

TJ Reid’s laser-like free-taking in the second half in tricky conditions paved the way for Kilkenny to rule the roost in Leinster for a third successive year, but this was not a contest that came anywhere close to matching the epic nature of the following day’s Munster final between Limerick and Clare.

Galway manager Henry Shefflin knows well that nothing less than serious improvement will be required if his side are to progress any further in 2022.

“Truthfully, if we perform like that against any team in two weeks’ time, we will not win,” Shefflin stated frankly. “It’s hurting tonight, hurting tomorrow, then get back on to the training field next week.

“You need to bring that hurt to the performance, because we can talk and say all the words we want to, but you have to perform when the ball is thrown in. Disappointment is the overriding emotion now. A disappointing result, but more so a very disappointing performance. That’s probably the thing that probably hurts the most.”

Galway only led in the very early stages of the game and were always chasing a Kilkenny side that appeared to have learned more from a defeat in the group stages in Salthill.

Shefflin was perplexed by the most frustrating performance of his tenure to date.

“If you go out and you lose a big game and you perform somewhat to your capabilities, it wouldn’t be too bad. But not to perform at all is very disappointing, so that’s probably one that is hurting the most. It’s hard to put into words because we didn’t see this one coming.

“There was a good energy about us. There was good work rate, there was good intent in anything we did. There was intensity all over the place.

“Training has been good for the last two weeks. I definitely felt we would get a performance. Would it be good enough? I knew there was going to be a bounce in Kilkenny. It just never happened; disappointment is just the overriding emotion.”

KILKENNY: E Murphy; M Butler, H Lawlor, T Walsh; M Carey, R Reid, P Deegan (0-2 ); C Fogarty, A Mullen (0-4 ); B Ryan (0-1 ), TJ Reid (0-12, 11fs, 1’ 65 ), R Leahy (0-1 ); C Kenny, M Keoghan (0-1 ), E Cody. Subs: C Browne for Kenny (34 ), W Walsh for Leahy (45 ), P Walsh (0-1 ) for Ryan (54 ); J Donnelly for Keoghan (60 ).

GALWAY: E Murphy; D Morrissey, Daithí Burke, J Grealish; P Mannion (0-1f ), G McInerney, F Burke (0-1 ); J Cooney, J Coen; T Monaghan, C Cooney (0-9, 6fs, 1 ‘sl, 1 ‘65 ), C Mannion; C Whelan (0-4 ), C Fahy (0-2 ), B Concannon. Subs: J Flynn for Monaghan (43 ); R Glennon for Fahy (55 ); David Burke for Coen (61 ); G Lee for Concannon (70 ).

REFEREE: J Owens (Wexford ).


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