By Brendan O’Brien, Nowlan Park
Kilkenny 3-11 Dublin 0-25
Dublin, who saw off Tipperary at home last week, served further notice of their intentions this year with a six-point defeat of All-Ireland champions Kilkenny at Nowlan Park this afternoon.
The home side, severely understrength due to injuries and the absence of their Ballyhale Shamrocks contingent, finished with 13 men after losing Jonjo Farrell and Joe Lyng to straight red cards, after 24 and 56 minutes.
Dublin had Danny Sutcliffe dismissed for a second yellow at the death.
The visitors had dominated the first quarter, racking up a seven points to one lead inside the first dozen minutes, but Kilkenny began to inch their way back into the game at that point with loose defending offering three goal chances for the hosts.
They took one, through Matthew Ruth who blocked a Paul Schutte clearance before rounding the goalkeeper and tapping in after 17 minutes, but the half’s most noteworthy action came when the referee sent Kilkenny full-forward Jonjo Farrell to the line.
A straight red seemed like a harsh call on first viewing but Colm Lyons was quick to flash the card and its brandishing ushered in an eleven-minute spell in which Dublin out scored Kilkenny by seven points to one.
The difference at the break was seven points and that had stretched to 12 by the time Lyng joined Farrell in the bad books. The game was over at that point, even with 17 minutes still to play, but Kilkenny refused to accept any terms of surrender.
The hosts outscored Dublin by 2-4 to a point thereafter, the goals coming courtesy of Richie Hogan and a second from Ruth, with Danny Sutcliffe’s sending off for a second yellow card the last action of any significance.
Scorers for Kilkenny: R Hogan (1-7, 1-5 frees); M Ruth (2-0); P Walsh, W Walsh, M Kelly and J Farrell (all 0-1).
Scorers for Dublin: D Treacy (0-11, 4 free and 3 ‘65s’); D Sutcliffe (0-4); E Dillon and M Schutte (0-3); P Kelly (0-2); S Durkin, S Lambert (both 0-2).
Kilkenny: E Murphy; T Keogh, P Murphy, J Tyrrell; B Kennedy, K Joyce, C Buckley; G Brennan, L Ryan; P Walsh, W Walsh, M Ruth; M Kelly, J Farrell, R Hogan. Subs: J Power for Brennan and J Lyng for Kennedy (both 43); C Boland for Sutcliffe (53).
Dublin: A Nolan; C O’Callaghan, M Carton, P Schutte; C Crummey, P Kelly, C Keaney; S Durkin, S Lambert; C Cronin, E Dillon, D Sutcliffe; D Treacy, L Rushe, M Schutte. Subs: C Boland for Cronin (53); P Ryan for Treacy (66).
Referee: C Lyons (Cork).