Christy Walsh backed Kilkenny senior bowlers to complete the second half of a dream double of All-Ireland title success for the county.
Alsh Footballers capped off a memorable weekend with an impressive performance at Croke Park to win the All-Ireland Youth Football title, the county’s first ever.
Stoppage time goals from Mick Kenny and John Walsh secured a slightly flattering nine-point victory for the Cats, though they were fully worth the win overall.
The competition was revamped this year to allow mainly foreign entrants and Kilkenny beat London 3-11 to 2-9 on Friday night in Abbotstown in a semi-final double header.
New York took care of Warwickshire in the other semi-final, although trailed from mainstay in office this time and will return to the Big Apple on Monday after their five-day trip.
Johnny McGeeney’s side, which included a number of players who had featured in the Connacht Championship and Tailteann Cup, came to life in the third quarter and briefly reduced their backlog to two points after a Brian Coughlan goal in the 41st minute.
They had the opportunity to make it a one-point game soon after from free play, but squandered the opportunity and never recovered.
Kenny’s back-to-back points for Kilkenny again put the sides five points and late goals widened the deficit.
Kilkenny supporters hope this bodes well ahead of their return to Croke Park next Sunday for the senior hurling final against Limerick.
“I would give them every chance next Sunday too, God I would,” said Walsh, a native of Kerry, a Railway Cup medalist himself from his playing days with the Kingdom. “I think the momentum is with Kilkenny. They’re happy and they’re healthy and fit and they got a powerful win in the semi-finals. I think their curve could go up and Limerick’s could just go down. a little .”
Among the Kilkenny players to take a victory lap with the trophy was four-time star thrower Paul Murphy, who played a key role in semi-final and final victories.
“We have quality players,” Walsh said. “They wouldn’t look out of place in a lot of teams and they got their reward with a fantastic win. I don’t know where that gets us, maybe it’ll just be another weekend next year but we’ll see.”
Kilkenny finished strong on Friday night against London and put that momentum into the start of the final, scoring the game’s first five points.
Jim Culleton’s second point of the afternoon left the Black and Amber men leading 0-6 to 0-2 and Jamie Holohan’s goal soon after, following a clever pass from Adam Mansfield, left New York in trouble.
Kilkenny led 1-6 to 0-4 at halftime, but New York’s four straight points, two either side of the interval, reduced the deficit to just one goal.
Coughlan’s excellent solo goal left just two, although Kilkenny leveled off and sailed through the final quarter in impressive fashion.
They held a three-point gap in stoppage time before Kenny and Walsh both punished errors in the New York defense with goals in the 63rd and 66th minutes.
Kilkenny: M Kenny 1-4 (4f), J Holohan 1-2, J Walsh 1-0, J Culleton 0-2, C Hennessy, K Blanchfield, S Kelly, E Phelan 0-1 each.
New York: B Coughlan 1-1 (0-1f), S McElligot 0-4 (4f), M Brosnan, Conor Mathers 0-2 each.
Kilkenny: K Dunphy; P Murphy, T Kenny; G Malone; K Blanchfield, C Wallace, S Kelly; J Culleton, T Aylward; C Hennessy, M Malone, M Kenny; R Monks, J Holohan, A Mansfield.
Subtitles: E Phelan for Monks & J Walsh for Mansfield (h/t), S Murphy for Hennessy (45), S Stapleton for Malone (52), J Fennelly for Kelly (61).
New York: B Cole; M Boyle, D Corridan, P Mathers; C Hogan; D Curran, J Boyle, P Cronin; Conor Mathers, C Rafferty; B Coughlan, T Mathers, K Loane; S McElligot, M Brosnan.
Subtitles: Caolan Mathers for Rafferty (h/t), E Loughran for Loane (41), D Rooney for Cronin (52), R O’Neill for Hogan & J Breen for Corridan (56).
Ref: B Tiernan (Dublin).