Kilkenny steal Páirc Ui Chaoimh’s first silverware

All-Ireland IHC final - Kilkenny 2-23 Cork 2-18: Take it as certain that it’ll become a staple table quiz question in the years to come: who was the first team to win an All-Ireland at the redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh?

Your answer is Kilkenny. The Cats, off the back of a strong second-half showing, claiming a merited fifth All-Ireland at this grade.

With their seniors having exited the championship, hurling followers could be forgiven for thinking that the Rose of Mooncoin was one particular song they wouldn’t be hearing for the remainder of the GAA season. But no sooner had Colum Cunning sounded the final whistle than that familiar tune rang out around the redeveloped venue.

Ahead by 0-11 to 0-10 at the break — the teams were level on eight occasions in the opening half — Kilkenny found themselves three behind within eight minutes of the restart. After Tom Phelan had a goal chance saved by Cork keeper Patrick Collins, the Rebels swept down the field where Jerry O’Neill, put through by half-time sub Rob O’Shea, pounced for the opening goal.

Robbie Donnelly responded with a pair of frees for Kilkenny, but three-in-a-row from Séan Hayes (free), Willie Leahy, and O’Shea had the hosts 1-13 to 0-13 in front.

Ronan Dwane’s charges reestablished their three-point cushion when David Drake and Hayes (free) cancelled out white flags from Edmond Delaney and Donnelly (free).

They wouldn’t, however, find the target during the subsequent 12 minutes, during which time Kilkenny hit an unanswered 2-4. Donnelly nabbed their first goal from a penalty on 49 minutes, Patrick Collins fouling Darragh Brennan after initially keeping out a Martin Power shot. Their second goal arrived four minutes later, Collins batting a JP Treacy delivery into the path of sub Tom Phelan and he duly whipped the sliotar to the Cork net.

That score moved the Leinster champions 2-19 to 1-15 in front, and although Rob O’Shea engineered a second Cork goal on 59 minutes, they left themselves with too much to do in the closing stages.

Scorers for Kilkenny:

R Donnelly (1-11, 1-0 pen, 0-9 frees); P Holden, E Delaney (0-4 each); M Keoghan (0-3); T Phelan (1-0); J Cahill (0-1).

Scorers for Cork:

S Hayes (0-6, 0-5 frees, 0-1 sc); R O’Shea (1-2, 0-1 free); W Leahy (0-4); J O’Neill (1-1); M Collins, D Drake (0-2 each); D O’Flynn (0-1).

KILKENNY:

D Aylward (Glenmore); N Doherty (Galmoy), G Teehan (Graigue Ballycallan), D Prendergast (Thomastown); B Whelan (Thomastown), C Fleming (Mooncoin), J Cahill (Carrickshock); JP Treacy (Young Irelands), M Keoghan (Tullaroan); P Holden (Young Irelands), D Brennan (Carrickshock), E Delaney (Conahy Shamrocks); S Carey (Young Irelands), M Power (Piltown), R Donnelly (Thomastown).

Subs:

T Phelan (Conahy Shamrocks) for Fleming (HT); L Hickey (St Lachtains) for Carey (40); J Cooper (Éire Óg) for O’Flynn (45); C Prendiville (Graigue Ballycallan) for Keoghan, J Power (John Lockes) for Delaney (both 60); D Walsh (Carrickshock) for Cahill (63).

CORK:

P Collins (Ballinhassig); B O’Sullivan (Fermoy), S O’Donovan (Mayfield), S Hegarty (Dungourney); K Morrison (Fermoy), D O’Donovan (Ballinhassig), K Kavanagh (Carrigaline); D O’Flynn (Charleville), M Collins (Ballinhassig); D Casey (Charleville), N Kelly (Mayfield), J O’Neill (Courcey Rovers); S Hayes (Mallow), W Leahy (Aghada), D Drake (Carrigaline).

Subs:

T Lawrence (Brian Dillons) for Morrison, R O’Shea (Carrigaline) for Casey (both HT); M Kennefick (Ballygarvan) for Hayes (52); N McNamara (Kilworth) for O’Neill (57).

Referee:

C Cunning (Antrim).


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