Kilkenny captured the first hurling silverware on offer in Leinster in 2014 when they held off Dublin with four points to spare in Saturday’s Bord na Móna Walsh Cup final at Croke Park.
The Cats were full value for the victory but the Dubs were left to rue some poor use of possession and missed scoring chances, particularly in the opening half.
Anthony Daly’s men started well with two fine Mark Schutte points, however Kilkenny immediately came to life and bossed the best part of the opening half as they reeled off seven points without reply.
The Dublin forwards struggled to make inroads against their direct opponents with only Schutte’s aerial prowess causing problems for Kilkeny.
However, Dublin knitted a fine move together in the 27th minute when David O’Callaghan and Schutte combined brilliantly but Paul Ryan’s goal effort from close range was saved by David Herity.
By the break the black and amber led 0-12 to 0-8 and within three minutes of the restart Eoin Larkin (two) and the influential Colin Fennelly had stretched the margin to 0-15 to 0-8.
Paul Ryan threw Dublin a lifeline when he drove a 20-metre free to the net with 25 minutes still to play (0-15 to 1-10) but crucially Kilkenny responded with six points on the spin with Larkin, Fennelly and Joe Brennan on target.
This scoring blitz effectively won the game for the Cats as despite the influence of sub Danny Sutcliffe the Dubs had left themselves with too much to do.
SCORERS – Kilkenny: E Larkin 0-11 (0-9f, 0-1 ’65’), C Fennelly 0-4, J Brennan 0-3, T Breen, A Fogarty 0-2 each, P Walsh, M Kelly 0-1 each. Dublin: P Ryan 1-4 (1-3f), M Schutte 0-5, D O’Callaghan, D Sutcliffe 0-2 each, E Dillon, J Boland (0-1 ’65’), M Quilty, A Nolan (0-1f) 0-1 each.
KILKENNY: D Herity; T Keogh, M Walsh, J Tyrrell; B Kennedy, T Walsh, D Langton; C Fogarty, P Walsh; J Brennan, C Fennelly, E Larkin; JJ Farrell, M Kelly, T Breen. Subs: A Fogarty for P Walsh (47), P Murphy for Langton (56), L Ryan for Breen (66).
DUBLIN: A Nolan; C O’Callaghan, P Kelly, J Dougan; S Hiney, C McCormack, J Boland; S Durkin, J McCaffrey; C Keaney, R O’Dwyer, C Cronin; P Ryan, D O’Callaghan, M Schutte. Subs: D Sutcliffe for McCaffrey (35), S Timlin for Dougan (35), E Dillon for Ryan (50) M Quilty for Durkin (50), P Winters for O’Dwyer (63).
REF: D Hughes (Carlow).