Dubs run Cats close

KILKENNY 1-23 DUBLIN 3-15

Dublin came within minutes of a famous win over All-Ireland champions Kilkenny but the Cats pulled through for their sixth win of the NHL campaign, courtesy of late points from Eoin Larkin and Richie Hogan.

Anthony Daly's Dublin side got on top in the latter stages of the second half with David 'Dotsy' O'Callaghan firing home two quick goals. His second strike had them leading by 3-14 to 0-21.

But Kilkenny, who were already guaranteed a place in the Division 1 final thanks to previous results, ended hopes of a pre-Championship upset when Larkin rifled home a late goal and the Dublin defence leaked those two late points.

A free from David Curtin had briefly levelled the game at 3-15 to 1-21 but Kilkenny's experience and attacking aplomb helped them go into the May 3 decider against Tipperary on a winning note.

In front of a 3,500-strong crowd, Daly's underdogs led 1-2 to 0-0 thanks to points from David Treacy and Joey Boland and a well-taken goal from Kevin Flynn.

With the Cats' defence exposed, O'Callaghan and Treacy combined to set up Flynn for a ground shot to the net.

Three successive points from Henry Shefflin got Kilkenny off the mark but Dublin were more than holding their own.

Boland, with three points from play, and O'Callaghan (with three frees) had the visitors leading by 1-9 to 0-6 by the 22nd-minute.

TJ Reid and Larkin had opened their accounts by that time and with a stunning surge of eight points without reply before half-time, Brian Cody's charge seized the lead for half-time.

Reid impressed on the edge of the square, claiming a hat-trick of points, Hogan also took his tally to three and Shefflin ended the half with a handsome 0-8 haul.

All that meant Kilkenny turned around with a 0-17 to 1-10 advantage and with the promise of more, Dublin were coming under increasing pressure.

By the midpoint of the second half, Kilkenny were 0-20 to 1-13 to the good thanks to three more Shefflin scores but they had missed some decent goal-scoring opportunities.

Former footballer O'Callaghan was coming more and more into the game and he scored a superb goal to light the touch-paper for Dublin's comeback.

He cut in from the right on a solo run and buried a stinging shot past Kilkenny net minder David Herrity.

After opting to point a penalty, O'Callaghan beat Herrity again with an angled shot and the visiting supporters were in dream land.

Unfortunately for them and the neutrals in the crowd, Dublin could not maintain the pace and Larkin and Hogan came to Kilkenny's rescue.

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