Strong finish from Kilkenny helps dispatch Dubs

Kilkenny 0-24 Dublin 1-9

Strong finish from Kilkenny helps dispatch Dubs

[comment]Dublin's Stephen Hiney and Colin Fennelly of Kilkenny. Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne[/comment]

Kilkenny 0-24 Dublin 1-9

Kilkenny captured their 69th Leinster SHC title before 32,567 spectators at Croke Park this afternoon.

The Cats held 2013 champions Dublin scoreless over the closing 22 minutes as they powered to victory to claim their third title this decade.

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody opted to make two changes before throw-in, with John Power and Walter Walsh replacing Tommy Walsh and Aidan Fogarty in the Cats attack.

Dublin boss Anthony Daly stuck with the same line-up announced midweek.

Although the sides were level at 0-2 apiece after nine and a half minutes, following an Alan McCrabbe score, signs of Dublin’s naivety were to be seen in the opening stages.

The reigning champions were loose early on with the likes of Richie Hogan and Power proving dangerous.

Kilkenny cleaned up as they made most of their chances, and moved 0-7 to 0-3 ahead after 21 minutes, with TJ Reid firing four of their early scores.

Dublin relied solely on scores from placed balls during this spell, with Conal Keaney firing an eighth minute penalty effort over the crossbar, and Alan McCrabbe adding two points from frees.

The Metropolitans eventually broke their scoring deadlock from play in impressive fashion, when Cuala clubman Colm Cronin broke through for the only goal of the opening half.

Cronin’s 22nd minute major cut the gap to a point, but this was as close as it got for the remainder of the half.

Reid, Walter Walsh and Richie Hogan all claimed points to ensure an 0-11 to 1-3 lead with six minutes to go before half-time.

Dublin responded with impressive points from play from David O’Callaghan and Cronin, but Kilkenny fired two of the closing three points of the half, including scores from Brian Hogan and Fennelly to take a 0-13 to 1-6 half-time lead.

Kilkenny were clinical during the opening half, and dominated the midfield sector winning eight of their 10 puck outs while winning seven of Dublin’s.

While the Cats were on top on the scoreboard, the stats showed that they just marginally shaded possession in the first half, and would have a battle on their hands on the restart.

Dublin looked eager after the throw-in, but an early Michael Carton effort blazed wide of the target.

It wasn’t until the seventh minute of the half before they would open their second half account, after Fennelly and Padraig Walsh (2) were on target for the Cats to ensure a 0-16 to 1-6 lead.

A third pointed free from McCrabbe got Dublin off the mark, before substitute Conor McCormack was on target to ensure a five-point gap in the 43rd minute.

Kilkenny were eager to cancel out these scores, but Fennelly and John Power both fired wide, before Reid converted a 65 metre free to land his seventh point, and push Kilkenny 0-17 to 1-8 ahead 10 minutes into the half.

Dublin kept battling, and although Paul Ryan broke through for a point, the Kilkenny defence was fairly resolute.

A minute later O’Callaghan and Johnny McCaffrey combined to create an excellent goal chance, but the Cats kept them at bay with the latter trying to burst through, only for the Kilkenny rearguard to batten down the hatches.

At the opposite end Kilkenny were eager for a goal of their own, but Paul Schutte got in for a well timed block.

Dublin continued to press hard, but to no avail, with a combination of factors against them.

In a 100-second spell, three scoring chances went amiss. Firstly Niall McMorrow fired Dublin’s fifth wide, and then a McCrabbe effort dropped into the hands of David Herity.

Then the latter was on hand for an inspired block on a Colm Cronin shot, after the Dublin forward cut in to try and engineer a second goal.

0-17 to 1-9 ahead with 15 minutes left on the clock, Brian Cody sprung Henry Shefflin from the bench

Dublin keeper Alan Nolan made an excellent block in the 57th minute after Fennelly set up Power, but the Carrickshock clubman was denied, after the ball was deflected out.

Reid broke a 10-minute scoring deadlock from either side, as he slotted over his second 65-metre free to ensure an 0-18 to 1-9 advantage.

Both sides were guilty of missed chances over the next three minutes, including Niall McMorrow who had his 59th minute effort adjudged by Hawkeye.

Reid continued to impress from placed balls to bring his tally to 10 points by the 64th minute, amassing exactly half of his scores at this stage.

Kilkenny closed out the game in perfect fashion, with substitute Shefflin among their scorers late on, contributing three points in the closing stages.

After the game Kilkenny captain Lester Ryan received the Bob O’Keeffe Cup from Leinster GAA Chairman John Horan.

KILKENNY: D Herity; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, J Tyrrell; J Holden, B Hogan (0-1), C Buckley; R Hogan (0-2, 1f), C Fogarty; W Walsh (0-1), P Walsh (0-2), TJ Reid (0-10, 4f, 3 65); C Fennelly (0-3), E Larkin, J Power (0-1). Subs: H Shefflin (0-3) for W Walsh (55); A Fogarty (0-1) for Power (59); L Ryan for C Fogarty (68).

DUBLIN: A Nolan; S Durkin, P Kelly, P Schutte; S Hiney, L Rushe, M Carton; J Boland, J McCaffrey; R O’Dwyer, A McCrabbe (0-3, 3f), D Sutcliffe (0-1); D O’Callaghan (0-1), C Keaney (0-1, 0-1pen), C Cronin (1-1). Subs; C McCormack (0-1) for O’Dwyer (28); P Ryan (0-1) for Sutcliffe (41); N McMorrow for Boland (41); D Treacy for Keaney (49); N Corcoran for Schutte (60).

REFEREE: Barry Kelly (Westmeath)

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