Undoubtedly, Joe Deane’s well-taken goal ten minutes into the second half had an important influence on the outcome, in the sense that it inspired Munster to raise their game. And, in another context, it was noteworthy that Damien Fitzhenry was beaten for the first time, having made a few good saves earlier on. Deane, who had got back on top after having lost an early advantage over Doc O’Connor, was one of several Munster players to do well in attack. And, both in general play and free-scoring Niall Gilligan was also hugely influential, both at centre-forward where he started and later at full-forward.
Leinster were hit by the withdrawal of the Kilkenny trio Michael Kavanagh, Derek Lyng and Henry Shefflin, as well as Brian Whelahan.
Munster only had to replace corner-back Paul Curran (with John Browne). It was noteworthy that Tony Browne and Ollie Moran lined out (alongside each other at midfield) after having been in opposition in the Munster club championship on Saturday. Tommy Walsh, operating at left half-forward, made no impact and he was to be replaced in the second half. And Gary Hanniffy was always struggling against Philip Maher.
At the other end, Munster had more options, in the person of Gilligan, Deane, Eoin Kelly and, to a lesser extent John Mullane. But, just like in the All-Ireland semi-final, Dan Shanahan never really settled against JJ. Delaney, one of Leinster’s better performers on the day. At the break, it was 0-8 each.
Brennan pointed Leinster in front for a brief period on the resumption before Kelly equalised and from there on Munster took over. Kelly added two points from frees before Deane went through and gave Fitzhenry no chance by placing his shot perfectly in the corner. That came after ten minutes and in another five Munster had opened up a lead of nine points.
From there on they controlled the game almost at will, with the half-backs taking over and Ronan Curran particularly prominent in the centre. Browne and Moran gave of their best before they were each replaced and the combined play of Deane, Gilligan and Kelly was too much for the hard-pressed Leinster backs to cope with. And, Fitzhenry again came to their rescue with a fine save from Shanahan late in the match.
Scorers for Munster: N. Gilligan 0-6 (0-2 ‘65’s); J. Deane 1-2; E. Kelly 0-5 (0-3 frees); E. Corcoran and J. Mullane 0-2 each; R. Curran, T. Browne, O. Moran and D. Bennett 0-1 each.
Leinster: J. Young 0-5 (0-3 frees, 0-1 ‘65); B. Murphy 0-3; E. Brennan and M. Jacob 0-2 each; J. Hoyne 0-1.
MUNSTER: B. Cummins (Tipperary); J. Browne (Cork), P. Maher (Tipperary), J. Murray (Waterford); E. Corcoran (Tipperary), R. Curran (Cork), D. Fitzgerald (Tipperary); T. Browne (Waterford, capt.), O. Moran (Limerick); D. Shanahan (Waterford), N. Gilligan (Clare), N. Moran (Limerick); J. Mullane (Waterford), E. Kelly (Tipperary), J. Deane (Cork). Subs: S. Prendergast (Waterford) for N. Moran (second half); D. Bennett (Waterford) for Browne (55th minute); B. Dunne for (Moran, 61st); P. O’Brien (Tipperary) for Shanahan (64th).
LEINSTER: D. Fitzhenry (Wexford); D. O’Connor (Wexford), D. Ryan (do capt.), M. Travers (do); R. McCarthy (do), D. Ruth (Wexford), J.J. Delaney (Kilkenny); E. Young (Laois), M. Cordial (Offaly); B. Murphy (do), J. Hoyne (Kilkenny), T. Walsh (do); M. Jacob (Wexford), G. Hanniffy (Offaly), E. Brennan (Kilkenny).
Subs: C. Keaney (Dublin) for Walsh (46th minute); R. Mullally (Kilkenny) for Cordial (54th).
T. McIntytre (Antrim).