A 2-3 scoring burst from full-forward Liam Blanchfield, all from play, helped the Cats to a nine-point win and their 55th title.
It was a remarkable 20-point turnaround between the two teams in light of Dublin’s 11-point win in the same competition in late April.
Kilkenny scored just a single point from play in the whole game back then and were heavily criticised for the 2-8 to 0-3 defeat.
But they brought all that hurt to the big stage yesterday and dominated favourites Dublin, moving 1-5 to 0-1 up after 20 minutes and cruising on from there.
Aside from Blanchfield, Alan Murphy fired nine points and did serious damage to Dublin’s defence while Kilkenny’s defence was excellent and only blotted its copybook with the concession of an injury-time goal.
“We knew we didn’t perform when we met a few weeks ago,” said Kilkenny manager Hoban. “We got ridiculed quite heavily in Kilkenny. Looking back on it, we actually missed a lot of chances on a very wet and dirty day.
“So we knew we weren’t as bad as maybe the scoreline suggested. A lot of the people that knocked us weren’t even at the game either. We knew we had more in us and we weren’t lacking motivation.
“If the players needed any motivation for this one then they were definitely going into the wrong dressing-room. At the same time, motivation is one thing, you need to perform as well.
“I’m delighted for the guys because I know the hurlers they are and it was great to see them perform to their actual ability.”
Dublin may have read too much into their early wins over Wexford and Kilkenny in the competition. The Dubs looked complacent against Wexford in their recent semi-final rematch and required three late points to win by just one. Kilkenny came back to haunt them yesterday in similar fashion.
Dubs boss Pat Fanning admitted it’ll be tough to motivate his team for an All-Ireland quarter-final.
“It’ll be fairly hard to build the boys up after that,” said Waterford man Fanning. “It just wasn’t our day. Kilkenny showed a hunger and an enthusiasm that we couldn’t match on the day. We’ll have to go off and see what the reasons were for that. I did say it after the last Kilkenny game in Nowlan Park that that was probably the worst possible score line we could have won by in terms of motivation for them.”
Kilkenny did much of the damage early on and Blanchfield’s 10th minute goal put them 1-2 to 0-2 ahead. They would move seven clear after just 20 minutes and assume pole position.
Dublin fans who arrived early for the senior game had little to cheer about.
Sean Ryan’s 25th minute goal after a great run by Rian McBride gave them a ray of light but they were flattered to trail just 1-9 to 1-5 at half-time. Four Kilkenny points after the restart from Murphy and Sean Morrissey doubled their advantage to eight and lent an ominous look to the score line.
A flat Dublin side scored just one point in the first 16 minutes of the second-half. They looked to Eoin O Conghaile for inspiration when he came on later and, like the semi-final when he shot the winning point, he delivered again with 1-2.
But the game was up by that stage and a 1-4 scoring burst without reply from Kilkenny between the 38th and 44th minutes put them into a 2-17 to 1-6 lead and a match winning position that they weren’t going to let slip.
Scorers for Kilkenny: L Blanchfield (2-3), A Murphy (0-9, four frees, one 65), S Morrissey and R Corcoran (0-2 each), C Browne and J Walsh and R Butler (0-1 each).
Scorers for Dublin: E O Conghaile (1-2), S Ryan (1-0), S Gray (0-3, three frees), C Bennett (0-2), R McBride, C O’Callaghan and E McHugh (0-1 each).
KILKENNY: D Brennan; D Joyce, C Doheny, C McGrath; P Lyng, J Cleere, C Delaney; C Browne, L Scanlon; R Corcoran, R Butler, B Ryan; A Murphy, L Blanchfield, S Morrissey.
Subs: E Kenny for Ryan (h/t), J Walsh for Butler (52), L Hennessy for Corcoran (60).
DUBLIN: J Treacy; M McCallion, S Barrett, D Butler; S Howard, J Malone, P O’Dea; R McBride, D Burke; C O’Callaghan, S Ryan, S Gray; C Bennett, E Conroy, E McHugh.
Subs: C O’Sullivan for O’Dea (15-16, blood), E O Conghaile for Gray (15-18, blood), O’Sullivan for O’Dea (27), T Fox for Barrett (27), C Brady for Burke (40), O Conghaile for Gray (43).
Referee: P O’Dwyer (Carlow).