Kilkenny captain Mick Malone holds the cup aloft as he celebrates with teammates after their side's victory in the GAA Football All-Ireland Junior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and New York at Croke Park in Dublin.
Kilkenny captain Mick Malone holds the cup aloft as he celebrates with teammates after their side's victory in the GAA Football All-Ireland Junior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and New York at Croke Park in Dublin. 

All-Ireland JFC Final: Kilkenny too good for New York

All-Ireland junior football championship final


By Paul Keane at Croke Park

Kilkenny winning All-Irelands at Croke Park, nothing new there perhaps though the sight of Christy Walsh's footballers performing a victory lap was entirely novel.

A restructuring of the All-Ireland junior football championship handed Kilkenny a terrific opportunity this year and they took it with both hands, beating both London and New York within 48 hours to claim their maiden title at the grade.

They struck late goals on both occasions with stoppage time majors from the excellent Mick Kenny and John Walsh sealing a slightly flattering nine-point win on this occasion.

Jamie Holohan was also on the mark for Kilkenny with a first-half goal as they led from start to finish and capped a memorable weekend with silverware success.

With four-time All-Ireland hurling winner Paul Murphy in defence, the win was perhaps a good omen ahead of the county hurlers' All-Ireland senior final next Sunday.

New York, who jetted into Ireland on Thursday morning and who depart for the Big Apple tomorrow, can take plenty of heart from their performances across the weekend.

Johnny McGeeney's side refused to relent and reduced what was at one stage a seven-point deficit to just three late on before those two stoppage time Kilkenny goals.

The encounter capped a terrific few days for Kilkenny who defeated London 3-11 to 2-9 at the GAA's National Games Development Centre in Abbotstown on Friday evening.

The other semi-final, part of a double header at the venue, was between New York and All-Britain runners up Warwickshire with the US outfit winning that one by 1-8 to 0-6.

Kilkenny's was the more eye-catching display on Friday with the black and amber men coming from behind with late goals from Mick Malone and Kenny and they took that momentum into the opening exchanges here, working a move immediately from the throw-in that led to a Holohan point and proceeding to rattle off four more before New York finally opened their own account.

Kenny, who struck 1-4 against London, was on the mark again during the early blitz with two converted frees.

Jim Culleton's second point of the day in the 26th minute left Kilkenny 0-6 to 0-2 ahead and Holohan then put significant daylight between the teams with an expertly taken goal.

Adam Mansfield picked out Holohan with a clever pass from the left and the Erin's Own man beat the advancing goalkeeper with a neat finish.

Kilkenny threatened a rout at this stage but New York points from Brian Coughlan and Shay McElligot gave them vital traction before the break, even if they still trailed 1-6 to 0-4.

Two more New York scores from free-taker McElligot and Mike Brosnan confirmed that a comeback was on the cards.

They reduced their arrears to just two points when Coughlan strode through the centre of Kilkenny's defence and struck a rocket to the net, 1-8 to 1-6.

The opportunity was there to make it a one point game but a missed New York free proved to be a momentum sapper and Kilkenny gradually put more and more distance between the teams in scoring terms as the clock ticked down.

Back to back Kenny points from frees stretched the gap to five approaching the hour mark before those two late goals which set the seal on a landmark win for the county's footballers.

Kilkenny scorers: Mick Kenny 1-4 (0-4f), Jamie Holohan 1-2, John Walsh 1-0, Jim Culleton 0-2, Conor Hennessy 0-1, Kevin Blanchfield 0-1, Shane Kelly 0-1, Ethan Phelan 0-1.

New York scorers: B Coughlan 1-1 (0-1f), Shay McElligott 0-4 (0-4f), Mike Brosnan 0-2, Conor Mathers 0-2.

Kilkenny: Killian Dunphy; Paul Murphy, Tom Kenny; Ger Malone; Kevin Blanchfield, Ciaran Wallace, Shane Kelly; Jim Culleton, Tom Aylward; Conor Hennessy, Mick Malone, Mick Kenny; Rory Monks, Jamie Holohan, Adam Mansfield.

Subs: Ethan Phelan for Monks h/t, John Walsh for Mansfield h/t, Shane Murphy for Hennessy 45, Shane Stapleton for Malone 52, Joe Fennelly for Kelly 61.

New York: Brendan Cole; Mike Boyle, Danny Corridan, Paidi Mathers; Conor Hogan; Dylan Curran, Jamie Boyle, Peter Cronin; Conor Mathers, Conor Rafferty; Brian Coughlan, Tiernan Mathers, Kevin Loane; Shay McElligot, Mike Brosnan.

Subs: Caolan Mathers for Rafferty h/t, Emmet Loughran for Loane 41, Dylan Rooney for Cronin 52, Ryan O'Neill for Hogan 56, James Breen for Corridan 56.

Referee: Barry Tiernan (Dublin).