Kilkenny powered to victory in the Leinster SHC final at Croke Park, handing out a hurling lesson to a Dublin team which learned harsh lessons about the demands of championship hurling at Croke Park.
The Dubs were brought crashing back down to earth as the Cats bared their claws and gained revenge for defeat in the league final.
Once again, Henry Shefflin turned in an imperious display, hitting 1-9 as Dublin were sent back to the drawing board.
There was never any doubt that Brian Cody’s side would capture a seventh successive title and a 68th in all such was their dominance.
Kilkenny had eased into a three-point lead through Shefflin and Michael Rice by the time Paul Ryan opened Dublin’s account in the tenth minute.
But almost immediately, Dublin were reeling as Eoin Larkin took Colin Fennelly’s pass to smash home a goal.
With Michael Fennelly and Tommy Walsh winning every ball that came their way, Brian Cody’s men kept the pressure on and a delightful move gave Richie Power the opportunity to make it 1-4 to 0-2.
It was Power who provided the assist for Kilkenny’s second goal on 20 minutes, Colin Fennelly darting past Oisin Gough to fire past Gary Maguire from a tight angle.
Dublin struggled to match the speed and intensity of their opponents, but tagged on points through Alan McCrabbe and Ryan, who converted a huge free to lift the home supporters.
Larkin, a constant threat at full forward, swung over a point to reassert the Cats’ supremacy.
But they lived dangerously at times, and goalkeeper David Herity had to stretch to clear off the line.
Kilkenny led by 2-10 to 0-7 at half-time, and tightened their grip with a third goal seven minutes into the second half.
Paul Murphy broke up a Dublin attack, and it was TJ Reid who sent Shefflin in to give Maguire no chance with a clinical finish.
Dublin substitutes Maurice O’Brien and Daire Plunkett responded with points, and as Kilkenny rallied again, goalkeeper Maguire pulled off a superb save to deny Larkin.
Paul Ryan brought his tally to eight converted frees, and in the 57th minute opted to smash one and hit the net from 20 metres to narrow the gap to six points.
Less than a minute later, however, Kilkenny grabbed their fourth, another screamer, this time from midfielder Michael Rice.
Shefflin brought his tally to 1-8 as the Cats purred at the capture of the county’s 68th Leinster title.
Kilkenny: D Herrity, N Hickey, JJ Delaney, J Tyrrell, T Walsh, B Hogan (0-1), P Murphy, M Fennelly, M Rice (1-2), TJ Reid, R Power (0-1), E Larkin (1-2), C Fennelly (1-0), H Shefflin (1-9, 0-7f), R Hogan (0-2).
Subs: P Hogan for Delaney, J Fitzpatrick for Reid, J Mulhall for larkin, M Ruth for Power
Dublin: G Maguire, N Corcoran, P Kelly, O Gough; J McCaffrey, J Boland, S Durkin, L Rushe, A McCrabbe (0-2), C McCormack (0-1), C Keaney (0-1), S Lambert, D O’Callaghan, P Ryan (1-9, 1-9f), P Carton.
Subs: M O’Brien (0-1) for McCormack, D Plunkett (0-1) for Lambert, P Schuttte for Gough, D O’Dwyer for Carton, S Ryan for O’Callaghan
Referee: B Kelly (Westmeath).
Article Source: Rte.ie