Dublin end 72-year drought with Hurling League win

Dublin 0-22 Kilkenny 1-7

Dublin have bridged a 72-year gap to win their first NHL title since 1939 amid scenes of joy at Croke Park.

Appearing in their first final since 1945, they totally dominated a disappointing Kilkenny side that had to play more than half the game with 14 men.

Now thoughts will turn to the championship, and on whether Anthony Daly’s side really has made the breakthrough to the big-time.

The Cats scored just one point from play, and face an uncertain future as they plan for the climb back to the top of hurling’s pile.

Ryan O’Dwyer and Paul Ryan were on target early on as the Dubs started with intent, but they were rocked by an Eddie Brennan goal on 10 minutes.

TJ Reid drove a long range free into the danger area, and when Richie Hogan slipped the ball across the square, Brennan collected and drilled home from close range.

Ryan regained the lead for the Dubs with a 16th minute free, and added a wonderful score from play.

Daire Plunkett also curled over a spectacular point to delight the home town supporters, and now Anthony Daly’s men were in full flow.

They hit eight points without reply, with Ryan bringing his tally to six.

And Kilkenny suffered a huge blow in the 25th minute when Eoin Larkin received a straight red card following a clash with Conor McCormack.

A long range free from Michael Rice ended a 21 minute scoreless spell for the Cats, but they still could not halt Dublin’s charge.

There was a controversial end to the half, with McCormack racing through to blast to the net, only to discover that referee Michael wadding had blown the half-time whistle seconds earlier.

Dublin led by 0-11 to 1-2 at the interval, and had to soak up a spell of pressure from the wind-assisted Cats, but they did so efficiently, with full back Tomas Brady standing firm and brave.

However, they suffered a blow on 42 minutes with the loss of centre back Joey Boland with a shoulder injury.

Nevertheless, Dublin continued to prosper, with McCormack, substitute Maurice O’Brien and Ryan O’Dwyer all splitting the posts, with Kilkenny restricted to a handful of converted frees off Reid’s stick.

Liam Rushe forced a turnover of possession to epitomise the Dublin spirit, sending Keaney in for a point, and with 10 minutes to play, they led by six.

The much anticipated Kilkenny backlash never materialised, and their challenge faded away, as Dublin finished the job off in clinical fashion with a string of fabulous scores from subs David Treacy and Simon Lambert, skipper Johnbb McCaffrey, and a huge effort from Keaney.

Kilkenny: D Herity, J Dalton, B Hogan, N Hickey, P Hogan (0-1, f), J Tyrrell, JJ Delaney, TJ Reid (0-5, 5f), M Rice (0-1), J Fitzpatrick, M Ruth, E Larkin, C Fennelly, E Brennan (1-0), R Hogan.

Subs: M O’Brien for Boland, M Kavanagh for Delaney, J Mulhall for Fennelly, P Murphy for Ruth

Dublin: G Maguire, N Corcoran, T Brady, P Kelly, J McCaffrey (0-1), J Boland, S Durkin, A McCrabbe, L Rushe, C Keaney (0-3), R O’Dwyer (0-2), C McCormack (0-1), D Plunkett (0-1), D O’Callaghan (0-1), P Ryan (0-9, 5f)

Subs: M O’Brien (0-2) for Boland, D O’Dwyer for Plunkett, D Treacy (0-1) for McCrabbe, S Lambert (0-1) for Rushe, S Ryan for O’Callaghan

Referee: M Wadding (Waterford).

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