Anthony Cunningham hails his Galway heroes after Leinster final win over Kilkenny

Galway are Leinster hurling champions for the first time ever – after a shock Croke Park win over All-Ireland kingpins Kilkenny.

Anthony Cunningham’s Tribesmen sent the red hot championship favorites reeling with a stunning Sunday win.

The incredible victory ended Kilkenny’s seven-year-run as Leinster champions with the consolation of a quarter-final spot as the Cats bid to recover their McCarthy Cup ambitions.

Triumphant Galway boss Cunningham said after the 10 point win: “We’re delighted to have won Leinster. It’s the end of that competition for us today and it is history.

“But we’re in a new series now which is the All-Ireland series and it’s knockout from here on out and we’re going to have to be ready for that.”

Kilkenny boss Brian Cody, whose side were beaten up on the scoreboard in an unbelievable first-half, told the Irish Sun he had no problem with the end result.

Despite being short several key players through injury, Cody insisted: “We’ve never used being short any players as a reason for losing.

“We had 15 players ready to start and 15 players ready to come in. With our panel, not having players isn’t a reason at all.

“We don’t deal in excuses. If you were to use the fact that everyone else thinks you’re going to win the game, it’s a very poor excuse to have. It’s won and lost on the field.”

The All-Ireland quarter-finals are next for Cody and his Cats. He added: “We’re certainly not going to win the Leinster Championship, because that’s gone today.

“But our year is still alive with the quarter-final. That’s the challenge for us now.

“Look, the All-Ireland Championship is wide open. We’re thankfully still there and we’ll see where it goes.”

Clare produced the other big shock of the hurling weekend when they dumped Dublin out of the qualifiers in Ennis while Cork were always too strong for Offaly on Leeside.

The Rebels also lifted the Munster football title on Sunday when Cork were easy winners over Clare at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.

Antrim ran out comfortable winners over Derry in the Ulster hurling final.

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