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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Karl O'Kane

Kilkenny 2-26 Clare 0-20: Brian Cody's Cats roar into All-Ireland final with Clare demolition

The old master Brian Cody continued his astonishing All-Ireland semi-final record at Croke Park this evening as his Kilkenny side put Clare to the sword in ruthless fashion.

Cody’s Kilkenny had triumphed in 16 All-Ireland semi-finals out of 18 including the upset Limerick last four victory in 2019 - only losing out to Galway in 2001 and 2005.

But in 2020 and 2021 the Cats lost their midas touch in semi-finals, falling to Waterford and Cork at the penultimate stage of the Liam MacCarthy race.

READ MORE: Kilkenny v Clare score recap and result

However, 11-time All-Ireland winning manager Cody was back on form again this evening.

Cody once again showed his mastery of the lengthy gap between games which so many other counties complain about.

Not a man for whinging, his side just went out and obliterated Brian Lohan’s Clare, who were perceived to be coming off the ideal two week break since their quarter-final victory over Wexford.

The first half was an absolute disaster for Clare.

Bar a few notable exceptions in their under pressure defence, the Banner were literally second to every ball.

The loss of centre back John Conlon before the throw-in disrupted them.

Paudie Fitzpatrick came in on the wing but he found Adrian Mullen far too hot to handle as the Ballyhale Shamrocks man hit four first half points from play in a five point haul.

Kilkenny's Walter Walsh with Padraig Walsh after the game (©INPHO/Evan Treacy)

TJ Reid was also on fire in the first half, firing two points from play and having a hand in nine of the first eleven points - four of them direct assists - as Kilkenny rocketed out into a 1-17 to 0-6 half-time lead.

Reid was on his third marker by the start of the second half, with Rory Hayes taking over from David McInerney, with Paul Flanagan having started on the Cats’ legend.

The Clare forwards bar Shane O’Donnell were awful, but some of the high, straight deliveries did them no favours with Paddy Deegan, Huw Lawlor and co lapping it up magnificently.

Clare never really threatened a goal in the match, with David Fitzgerald’s late shot a routine stop by Eoin Murphy standards.

Ian Galvin was taken off after 26 minutes, but it might have been anyone from midfield up, bar David Fitzgerald and O’Donnell.

Clare had a sniff of goal before half time, but Fitzgerald overcooked the handpass and Aron Shanagher slipped going for the ball as it went harmlessly over the endline.

It summed up Clare’s half.

They hit 11 wide and dropped one more short, to Kilkenny’s one wide with none dropped short.

McInerney and Kelly had three wides apiece in a horror half for the Banner.

Clare added 13 further wides in a loose second half, to finish with 24.

Kelly was held scoreless from play by Mikey Butler, who was sticky and tenacious all day.

McInerney and sub Cian Nolan had huge second halves for Clare, but the damage was long since done, as Kilkenny qualified for their first All-Ireland final since 2019.

Overall, it was a desperately disappointing All-Ireland semi-final, but Kilkenny won’t care.

Newcomer Cian Kenny had a huge match for the victors at midfield, scoring 1-2 from play, with his 43rd minute goal, which came off a huge Walter Walsh catch off a Murphy puck out, signalling the end of the contest.

Richie Reid read the game brilliantly dropping off from centre half back and that allied to their work rate all over the field rendered this a classic Kilkenny big game performance, and one which Clare had simply no answer to.

Kilkenny will now meet the winner’s of tomorrow’s second semi-final, featuring Limerick and Galway, which will take place in a fortnight.

KILKENNY: E Murphy, M Butler, H Lawlor, T Walsh, M Carey, R Reid, P Deegan, C Browne (0-1), C Kenny (1-2), A Mullen (0-5), P Walsh (0-2), TJ Reid (0-10, 7fs), B Ryan (0-2), M Keoghan (1-0), E Cody (0-3).

SUBS: W Walsh (0-1) for Keoghan ht, J Donnelly for P Walsh 49mins, R Leahy for Browne 61mns, A Murphy for Ryan 66mins, D Blanchfield for Carey 72mins.

CLARE: E Quilligan, R Hayes (0-1), C Cleary, P Flanagan, D Ryan (0-3), D McInerney (0-1), P Fitzpatrick, D Reidy, C Malone, D Fitzgerald (0-3), T Kelly (0-4, 3fs, 1 65), S O’Donnell (0-4), I Galvin, P Duggan (0-1, f), R Taylor (0-1).

SUBS: A Shanagher for Galvin 26mins, M Rodgers (0-2) for Reidy ht, C Nolan for Fitzpatrick ht, S Meehan for Duggan 49mins, S Golden for Taylor 65mins.

REFEREE: F Horgan (Tipperary)


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