Ian Kenny of Waterford attempts to stop Limerick’s Shane O’Brien catching the ball. [Inpho/James Crombie]

Kilkenny cling on for victory

Kilkenny 1-24; Wexford 2-20

Kilkenny are now seeking five provincial titles on the trot but on this showing they may have to be content with a Leinster rather than what their real pursuit is for - the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

They seemed to be home and hosed with 15 minutes to go but a resurgent Wexford had them hanging on at the very end with their comeback, which came up a point short of sharing the spoils.

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The Model men has some consolation as they will go through as the third qualifier in Leinster into the  All-Ireland Hurling Championship quarter-final where they will face either Offaly or Laois, with Cork, the third qualifier in Munster playing either McDonagh Cup finalists as well.

Eoin Cody of Kilkenny and Wexford’s Shane Reck in action. [Inpho/Laszlo Geczo]

Dublin 2-27; Galway 1-24

Galway’s ability to underachieve on the hurling front knows no bounds and on Sunday against Dublin they were very much the authors of their own sad exit from this year’s hurling championship.

Cruising early on into a comfortable lead, the expulsion of All Ireland winning captain of 2017 David Burke after quarter of an hour changed the course of the game and allowed the Manager of that Galway ‘17 success Michael Donoghue to use the extra man to win easily by six points in the end.

Burke’s late challenge on Fergal Whiteley was seen as red card material by Cork ref Colm Lyons and when the Dubs had cut the deficit by the interval to two, with the extra man and wind advantage at Pearse Stadium in their favor, the writing was as good as on the wall for Henry Shefflin’s crew.

The former Kilkenny great may now decide to step away after three less than successful years at the helm with the Tribesmen.

He was critical of the decision to send Burke off and other calls throughout the game. Speaking afterwards he declared:  "For me he didn't deserve a red card. It was a yellow card and obviously it had a big bearing on the game. 

"When you have the opposing manager in the linesman's ear telling him it's a red card, well I think the linesman and the officials need to support each other. The linesman in the second-half told Colm Lyons it was a wide ball; he walked to his umpires and had a chat with them for a minute. Why was that? I don't know and the next thing they give a point."

On his own future at Galway where he is contracted to stay until 2026, he stated: “It’s something after three years that I was always going to reassess, and that will be no different now. But I think today is not the day for that," he said.

"I’m absolutely heartbroken because you put so much into this and we’ve thrown everything at it. We felt we had to be a little bit different this year and make that step change, and we did that with the support of the county board.

"We tried everything, but the more we tried, the more it seemed to come back on us and it was very hard for us to catch a break, and it was just one of those years I think."

However despite all the problems with the home side, Dublin should be given credit for the way they played for each other and how they were able to take advantage of the Galway sending off.

As well as that they showed better penetration and once Sean Currie scored a goal after less than a minute, nobody needed telling that the dubs hadn’t travelled just to make up the numbers.

Donal Burke is the Blues’ new scoring talisman and by hitting 1-6, 1-4 from play in that opening half, he put down a marker for his colleagues to have a serious go at winning this normally tricky fixture.

His goal shortly before half-time was an elixir as it reduced Galway’s advantage with the elements in their favor.

The half-time talk roused the visitors to hit six unanswered points on the changeover with another stalwart Chris Crummey notching four over the 70 minutes from the wing back position.

Galway struggled to match Dublin’s pace and power and if they can rediscover this form, they will give Kilkenny a right run for their money in the Leinster Final on Sunday week.

Galway tried to the end and got a consolation goal from substitute Declan McLoughlin after 62 minutes but Johnny Glynn’s introduction early in the second half lasted only four minutes as the transatlantic star was forced off with a shoulder injury.

Limerick 0-30; Waterford 2-14

Even the best of machines malfunction sometimes and so it was with Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday when, backed by the substantial wind, they scored 14 points and hit 14 wides in the first half to leave the Munster door ajar for Waterford on the changeover if they were good enough.

The third quarter is traditionally when Limerick shoot other teams’ lights out but on this occasion a second Deise goal from Shane Bennett threw Davy Fitzgerald’s side right back into the mix.

Waterford were hurling well and a big question was being asked of the side seeking five All Irelands in a row. With a fourth quarter green tide they answered emphatically with a barrage of white flags which saw them hit the 30 mark, by which time they were 10 up on a bewildered Waterford outfit who had nothing more to give.

Afterwards manager John Kiely was delighted with his charges, particularly as they had to do without Seamus Flanagan, who scored 3-3 last day against Cork, when he pulled up midway through the first half with a hamstring injury.

Limerick had no need to worry though as their well is deep and his replacement Shane O’Brien showed his worth by sticking over two vital first-half points and adding another after the break.

"I'm delighted we got the result, number one, but the performance, number two, was very, very solid,” said Kiely.

"It was down to a two-point game maybe 10 minutes into the second half and with that breeze that was there, that was a real challenge for us.

"To be fair, Waterford sent a substantial number of balls down deep into our defense from puckout, or second ball off puckout, and it takes a great resilience to deal with that, especially off the back of our performance the last day on those.

"So really, really thrilled with that and the resilience that's been shown by the group. I think the way they've bounced back in the last two weeks is something that I'm extremely proud of."

Limerick, who incidentally had 13 names on the scoresheet on Sunday,  will now face neighbors and old rivals Clare in the Munster final 

Clare 1-24; Tipperary 0-24

Diarmuid Ryan's goal and a play-making masterclass by Shane O’Donnell were the two things which separated these sides at Thurles on Sunday in a contest which saw Clare advance to the Munster Final and Tipp restore their pride with a young-looking side  already gone from both the Munster and All Ireland series.

The home side played very well in the first half and even when they went 1-17 to 0-12 in the second half, rallied and were within a puck of a ball of achieving a draw by game’s end.

 Jake Morris has become their go-to scoring man and his 11 shots at goals yielded 11 points for his perfect personal tally

Leinster Hurling Round Robin

Dublin 2-27; Galway 1-24

Kilkenny 1-24; Wexford 2-20

Munster  Hurling Round Robin 

Limerick 0-30; Waterford 2-14

Clare 1-24; Tipperary 0-24