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12th May 2024

Kilkenny star falls foul to bizarre rule as Carlow secure historic draw

Callum Boyle

Carlow vs Kilkenny

Carlow won’t mind one bit

Carlow secured a historic point in their Leinster Senior Hurling Championships encounter against strong favourites Kilkenny on Saturday.

Hosting at Cullen Park, Carlow were going into the game winless in the Leinster SHC round-robin format was introduced and were expected to be brushed aside by the Cats.

Kilkenny had led 1-11 to 0-9 at half-time in a dominant opening 35 however Carlow were given a lifeline when last season’s All-Ireland runners-up were reduced to 14-men after Killian Doyle was sent off.

Leading by seven at that point, Carlow smelt blood and goal from Conor Kehoe with 10 minutes to go only allowed them to grow in confidence.

The historic moment would come with the final puck of the game, when Martin Kavanagh struck home from a free to level the game – but question marks were asked about the nature of how the free was awarded.

All-Ireland champion explains why free was awarded

Just after we had passed the five minutes of injury time a cross-field ball appeared to have been out of reach for Donagh Murphy, however he was able to divert it off Tom Phelan to earn a sideline ball.

Phelan then proceeded to follow the ball and threw it away, prompting the referee to award a free-in to Carlow, that Kavanagh subsequently converted.

Speaking on GAAGO’s coverage of the game, All-Ireland winner S√©amus Hickey¬†explained why the away side were punished.

“Tom Phelan gets the ball over the line but when he throws it into the stand it’s the equivalent of fouling a man taking a line ball. That’s why it turns into a free,” Hickey stated.

“Tom Phelan will feel pretty stupid at the end of the day to be caught for something so small and so silly. But, ultimately, it turned a fairly non-threatening situation into a levelling score. It’s a tough one to be pulled up on but technically that’s what happened.”

The decision is one that is obscure to say the least but Carlow won’t mind one jot as they caused one of the biggest shocks in Leinster senior hurling championship history.

After the game, Kavanagh summed up how big of a feat it was to get the draw in a game he scored nine points in.

“We’ve a small outfit in Carlow and we’re trying our best to compete with the best, he told GAAGP

“We’ve been competing well in the last few games and we’re delighted now to get a result. We fell short in the last few weeks but, look, we got a few bounces of the ball today, a few breaks. When you’re the likes of Carlow, you’re delighted to get a result.

“We’ve been there and thereabouts against Dublin and Galway as well and fell away in the second-half. In the first 15 minutes of the second half Kilkenny came out and got the first two or three scores…we didn’t panic and we stayed going.

“It’s [up towards the] top of the list between the Christy Rings and the Joe McDonaghs as well. This is probably up there because we strive to do what Kilkenny do and we’ll keep trying to push the barriers. We’ll keep believing and driving on in the county and see where we go.”

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