Cats retain title

Kilkenny 2-20 Dublin 1-19, Parnell Park

Kilkenny 2-20 Dublin 1-19, Parnell Park

Kilkenny have claimed back-to-back Bord Gáis Energy Leinster Under-21 Hurling titles following a four-point win over Dublin at Parnell Park tonight.

Michael Walsh's charges were in outstanding form throughout this game with man-of-the-match and two-goal hero John Joe Farrell bagging the first of his goals after just two minutes.

The final result was not the only blow for the Metropolitans. Dublin senior manager Anthony Daly was in attendance and is now sweating on the fitness of Simon Lambert and Oisin Gough, both of whom picked up injuries in the closing 13 minutes.

Kilkenny's attacking prowess was evident right from the throw-in with a brace of John Mulhall points inside the opening minute-and-a-half, before Farrell's goal ensured an early five-point lead.

Richie Hogan made it 1-03 to 0-00 with the first of his five points, and it seemed Dublin had no answer.

Dublin did manage to edge their way back into the game. Simon Lambert, David Treacy, Peter Kelly and Conor Clinton who all got on the scoresheet in the opening quarter to cut the gap to a goal by the 16th minute.

The Cats were goal hungry but Dublin's defence came up trumps on occasion with Rory O'Carroll making a magnificent block on a Farrell shot in the 18th minute.

Scores flowed freely in the ten-minute spell before the interval, however it was the Cats who were on top as they outscored Dublin by six points to two in that period to ensure a 1-12 to 0-08 half-time lead.

If Kilkenny had made a brilliant start to the opening half, well Dublin fully utilised the wind advantage they held on the restart.

Ciaran Barr's youngsters made an explosive start to the second half, with the gap cut to five points inside 47 seconds of the restart.

The Dubs had scores from Barry O'Rourke and Peter Kelly inside the opening minute, but also chalked up disappointing wides from Peter Kelly and Paul Garbutt.

Kilkenny once again displayed their accuracy and sheer firepower, outscoring Dublin by four points to one to give them a 1-16 to 0-11 advantage.

The Cats were slotting over points from all angles at this stage with Mark Kelly, Farrell, James Nolan and Mulhall hitting the target.

Dublin replied with Kelly slotting the ball to the net after Liam Rushe's initial shot was blocked by Cats full-back Paddy Nolan.

Kelly's one-handed three-pointer closed the gap to 1-16 to 1-11, and subsequent points from Barry O'Rorke and Treacy cut the gap to a goal with 17 minutes remaining.

Nevertheless, Kilkenny were quick to respond with Farrell bagging their second goal after Richie Hogan floated in a well-placed delivery from close to the sideline.

Farrell's 43rd-minute goal put the defending champions in control, although Dublin did battle hard until the finish, claiming late points from substitute Michael May and Rushe.

After the game, Kilkenny's stand-in captain David Langton received the cup from Leinster Council Chairman Seamus Howlin, in the company of GAA President Christy Cooney and former Cork hurler Ger Cunningham.

KILKENNY: C McGrath; P Murphy, P Nolan, C Fogarty; L Ryan, D Langton, M Walsh; M Kelly (0-1), L Ryan (0-2); C Fennelly, M Bergin (0-4), J Mulhall (0-4); R Hogan (0-5, 4f), JJ Farrell (2-2), J Nolan (0-2).

Subs used: K Hogan for Fennelly (56 mins).

DUBLIN: F McGarry; G Kelly, M Quilty, O Gough; P Schutte, Rory O'Carroll, R Walsh; S Lambert (0-4, 2 65', 1f), C Clinton (0-2); P Kelly (1-3), D Treacy (0-3, 2f), P Garbutt (0-1, 1f); D O'Connor, L Rushe (0-3), B O'Rorke (0-2).

Subs used: D Whelan for Garbutt (37 mins), M Maye (0-1) for Schutte (40), J Sheanon for Lambert (47), D Kelly for O'Connor (50), D O Maoileidigh for Gough (58).

Referee: Tony Carroll (Offaly)

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