Leinster clinch inter-pro title

Leinster 1-23 Connacht 0-16

Leinster clinch inter-pro title

Leinster 1-23 Connacht 0-16

Ryan O'Dwyer's second-half goal and 0-11 from Eoin Larkin ensured Leinster had little trouble clinching a 29th M Donnelly hurling inter-provincial title at Croke Park tonight.

Headquarters was sparsely populated for the opening act to the Dublin-Cork NFL clash, but those in attendance didn't miss too much in this drab affair.

Just two points separated the sides at the interval, but six points on the bounce after the restart for Leinster, with Colin Fennelly central, ensured Leinster's first title since 2012.

In the first-half Anthony Cunningham's all Galway Connacht side looked yards off the pace at times, but they still only trailed by two points at the break after they charged into the interval with four terrific points from play.

Kilkenny sharp-shooter Eoin Larkin was the scorer in chief for Leinster before the break – he landed three 65s and three frees – but skipper Conal Keaney also weighed in with two fine points from play by the turnaround as Leinster held a 0-11 to 0-9 advantage.

On the Connacht side, Jason Flynn caught the eye with an impressive outing at wing-forward – he landed the opening point in the second minute and hit another in the 24th – while Padraig Brehony also impressed alongside David Burke at midfield.

In a change to the norm Johnny Coen lined out at wing-forward rather than his usual corner-back role for Connacht and was dangerous at times.

Both goalkeepers played a crucial role in the first-half producing excellent saves to deny Conor Cooney and Walter Walsh at each end in the 15th minute.

After the restart Leinster looked the sharpest though and a fourth 65 from Larkin was added to by his county teammate Colin Fennelly who hit two points in as many minutes to open out a five

-point lead.

And from that point on Leinster took control and when O'Dwyer rattled the net midway through the half the result was guaranteed.

Scores – Leinster: E Larkin 0-11 (5'65, 4f), L Ryan & C Fennelly 0-3 each, R O'Dwyer 1-0, C Keaney & R Hogan 0-2 each, W Walsh & D Currams 0-1 each.

Connacht: C Cooney 0-8 (3f), R Commins, N Healy & J Flynn 0-2 each, P Brehony & P Landers 0-1 each.

Leinster: Gary Maguire (Dublin); P Murphy (Kilkenny), P Kelly (Dublin), A Shore (Wexford); T Walsh (Kilkenny), L Chin (Wexford), L Rushe (Dublin); M Carton (Dublin), R Hogan (Kilkenny); C Keaney (Dublin), R O'Dwyer (Dublin), E Larkin (Kilkenny); W Walsh (Kilkenny), D Currams (Offaly), C Fennelly (Kilkenny).

Subs: M Hanlon (Wexford) for Shore (18), TJ Reid (Kilkenny) for Walsh (18-22 blood), TJ Reid for Walsh (h-t), L Ryan (Kilkenny) for Carton (h-t), J Guiney (Wexford) for Currams (41-50 blood), J Bergin (Offaly) for Currams (50), J McCaffrey (Dublin) for O'Dwyer (68).

Connacht (all Galway): J Skehill; D Collins, S Kavanagh, F Moore; A Harte, I Tannian, Daithi Burke; David Burke, P Brehony; J Coen, C Cooney, J Flynn; R Commins, N Healy, C Mannion.

Subs: K Hynes for Tannian (44), D Dolan for Commins (45), B Flaherty for Harte (56), P Landers for Flynn (62), G McInerney for Coen (69).

Referee: Eamon Hassan (Derry).

- By Declan Rooney

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