LEINSTER MHC FINAL: DUBLIN v KILKENNY(Croke Park, Tomorrow, 2.0)
DUBLIN will hope to claim their first minor provincial title since 2007 when they face current All-Ireland champions, Kilkenny, in their Leinster MHC final at Croke Park tomorrow (2.0).
The Dubs enter the game in fine fettle, as witnessed by their 1-16 to 2-7 victory over Westmeath in last Saturday’s semi-final, when nine separate players scored from play over the hour, highlighting the attacking options available to team manager Shay Boland.
The movement and interplay of the forwards was encouraging, with Cormac Costello, Emmett Ó Conghaile and Ciarán Kilkenny finding time and space to fire over crucial scores.
Another positive was how well Dublin regained their composure after conceding a goal inside the opening minute and there was a calmed assurance in how they reeled in their opponents to eventually prevail by six points.
Central to the victory was the performance of the full-back line of Eric Lowndes, Cian O’Callaghan and Seán McClelland, who after a shaky opening five minutes dominated affairs, providing a springboard for attack with their lengthy and precise clearances.
However, that Dublin have only scored two goals in their matches to date, with last week’s arriving in the final minute, is of concern given they have conceded five and that ratio will need improving if they are to win.
Kilkenny have found goals slightly easier to come by, hitting four in two games, although they have relied heavily on the scoring prowess of Kevin Kelly to help them overcome both Westmeath and Wexford.
The man-of-the-match in last year’s Leinster final, in which Kilkenny comfortably beat Dublin, has replicated his form this campaign with 1-6 and 1-10 respectively amassed en route to the provincial final.
Naturally, Kilkenny are far from entirely dependent on Kelly with Thomas O’Hanrahan and Richie Reid likely to chip in with scores while midfielder Chris Bolger struck two crucial points in Wexford Park last Saturday.
Given Kelly’s dead-ball prowess, Dublin’s discipline, particularly in the tackle, will be especially important and they’ll hope to repeat last weekend’s controlled display, where only three points were conceded through frees.
It is unlikely that last year’s facile win for Kilkenny will have any bearing on tomorrow’s encounter and the more relevant form-line could be Dublin’s slightly more impressive route to the final and they are expected to continue that progression by claiming their first provincial title since 2007 tomorrow.
p Dublin’s panel and management will be wearing wristbands tomorrow to show their support for the Marc Owens Medical Fund.
Marc, 18, is a member of Na Fianna and was recently diagnosed with cancer and to help with his treatment costs, blue wristbands will be on sale outside Croke Park tomorrow for €3 with Dublin minor boss, Shay Boland, encouraging Dublin’s Blue Army to offer their support on Sunday.
DUBLIN (MHC v Kilkenny): C Ryan; E Lowndes, C O’Callaghan, S McClelland; C Crummey, J Desmond, M McCaffrey; G Whelan, C Cronin; E Ó Conghaile, C McHugh, C Kilkenny; P Winters, A Clabby, C Costello.
Kilkenny: A Duggan; J McDowell, C Doyle, E Morrissey; K Walsh, D Cody, O McGrath; C O ‘Shea, C Bolger; P Vickery, P Kenneally, K Kelly; T O’Hanrahan, C Martin, R Reid.
– Rnn Mac Lochlainn
Article Source: Herald.ie