Leinster SHC: Cats survive Halloween fright from Dubs
October 31, 2020
Kilkenny held off a remarkable comeback from Dublin at Croke Park this evening to edge into a third consecutive Leinster senior hurling championship final.
TJ Reid led the way for the Cats as they built up a seemingly unassailable 15-point lead by half-time (3-13 to 0-7) before Mattie Kenny’s men mounted a miraculous comeback after the break.
It would see the Dubs draw this provincial semi-final level in the run up to injury-time, giving the Cats an almighty Halloween fright until they landed two scores in the added minutes to break the capital men’s hearts.
Donal Burke and Cian Boland landed early points that saw Dublin lead by 0-3 to 0-2 after seven minutes in this fascinating encounter.
TJ Reid’s frees and points from Walter Walsh and Eoin Cody moved Kilkenny two in front by the 11th minute though and last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists would take off from there.
Billy Ryan’s goal two minutes later was the first hammer blow to the Dubs and TJ Reid would have the sliotar in their net again in the 15th minute as the wheels looked to be coming off for Kenny’s men.
Two more Reid frees made it an eight-point game, as scores from Danny Sutcliffe and Daire Gray at the other end looked to steady the ship for the trailers.
However, Kilkenny struck another six points unanswered and saw their third goal smashed in by Colin Fennelly on the eve of half-time to leave their opponents with a mountain to climb for the second-half.
Eamonn Dillon and Ronan Hayes started the second-half for the Dubs, with the former having an immediate impact off the bench by pointing over their first score of the restart.
Reid responded with a free prior to the Sky Blues getting a run of scores through Burke’s deadly accurate frees and Dillon before Ronan Hayes crashed in their first goal on 58 minutes.
Points from captain Chris Crummey and Burke (free) had the margin down to six points five minutes later and they’d goal again via Crummey in the 66th minute to set-up a nail-biting finish at headquarters.
Burke (free) and a brilliant brace from Dillon poured the heat on the Cats heading into injury-time and the game would be level right on the stroke of 70 minutes when Gray broke through to raise the umpire’s white flag.
Brian Cody’s men found their composure again to nail a settling point via sub Alan Murphy and doubled their lead through Hugh Lawlor in the third minute of added time.
Burke pulled back a pointed free for the Dubs but time ran out on them in the end, as the Cats held on for a Leinster final date with either Galway on November 14th.
Kilkenny – Eoin Murphy; Conor Delaney (0-1), Huw Lawlor (0-1), Ciaran Wallace; Padraig Walsh, Paddy Deegan, Richie Reid; Cillian Buckley, Conor Fogarty; John Donnelly (0-2), TJ Reid (1-9, 5f), Walter Walsh (0-3); Billy Ryan (1-1), Colin Fennelly (1-1), Eoin Cody (0-1). Subs: Richie Hogan for Billy Ryan (51mins), Martin Keoghan for Eoin Cody (60), Alan Murphy (0-01) for John Donnelly (65), Conor Browne for Conor Fogarty (65), Richie Leahy for Richie Reid (69).
Dublin – Alan Nolan; Paddy Smyth, Eoghan O’Donnell, James Madden; Conor Burke, Daire Gray (0-2), Cian O’Callaghan; Sean Moran, Rian McBride; Cian Boland (0-2), Chris Crummey (1-1), Danny Sutcliffe (0-1); Donal Burke (0-12, 6f), David Keogh, Liam Rushe. Subs: Eamonn Dillon (0-4) for David Keogh (36mins), Ronan Hayes (1-0) for Liam Rushe (41), Jake Malone for Sean Moran (49), Mark Schutte for Cian Boland (60), Fergal Whitely for Rian McBride (70+1).
Ref: Johnny Murphy (Limerick)