After the deflation, the elation! Dublin hurlers were on the receiving end of a 19-point rout last Sunday at the hands of Kilkenny but the under-21s turned the tables on the aristo-cats in this Bord Gáis Energy Leinster U21HC semi-final at Nowlan Park on Wednesday night.
Dublin progress to meet Wexford in the provincial decider on Wednesday, July 14 (after the Slaneysiders overcame Carlow in the other semi-final) after an excellent team performance, and were full value for their five-point winning margin.
The Dubs never trailed in this clash and with the half-back line outstanding througout led by 0-10 to 0-6 at the interval. However, it was the opening ten minutes of the second half during which Dublin really played with authority to stretch their lead to nine points, 0-15 to 0-6, by the 40th minute.
Richie Stakelum’s men also had to cope with the loss of senior hurler, David Treacy, with the recurrence of his hamstring injury in the 21st minute but it did not diminish their commanding display in any fashion.
The free-taking of Shane Stapleton was unerring in the opening half while the pace of wing-foward Daire Plunkett outflanked the Kilkenny defence on a couple of occasions. On the inside line Niall McMorrow was clinical with two first half shots on goal while David Quinn grew in influence as the half progressed.
In defence the Dubs had the measure of their direct opponents with the half back line of Rory O’Carroll, Martin Quilty, and especially Peter Kelly were immense. Kelly gave a virtuoso display and when the Cats came at Dublin in the second half he put in two immaculate interceptions to keep the Kilkenny fightback at bay.
After leading by four at the interval points from Stapleton (two frees), Quinn, Quilty, and Plunkett gave the Dubs a nine-point advantage and they were not in the humour to give it up.
Kilkenny did rally inside the last ten minutes – shooting four points without reply but a superb save from Finn McGarry to deny Walter Walsh late on, and some stout-hearted defence insured Dublin booked their provincial final berth.
SCORERS – Dublin: S Stapleton 0-6 (0-5f, 0-1 ‘65’), D Quinn, N McMorrow 0-2 each, M Quilty, C Clinton, P Buckeridge, L Rushe, D Plunkett, D Treacy, B O’Rorke 0-1 each. Kilkenny: M Bergin 0-7 (0-6f), P Murphy, E Murphy (0-1f) 0-2 each, A Stapleton 0-1