Dublin 1-22 Kilkenny 3-13
Dublin continue to confound and baffle and bewilder. Backed into the latest corner, facing a Kilkenny team eager to make a point after last summer’s reversal, and with the threat of relegation hovering, they produced one of their great performances. They went through a match of wicked intensity and for a vital result that lifts them off the foot of Division 1A and readies them for next weekend’s trip to Tipp in the final
Surely that will not bring another anaemic retreat as has been the pattern this spring and before. There were too many positive aspects to their evening for it to all unravel in a week, but that consideration can wait. Beating Kilkenny is never something to take for granted. They had to handle a strong and at times fierce challenge, though Kilkenny made a raft of changes from the last day and are in full experimental mode.
It was a gripping match, hard and physically unrelenting and there will be tired limbs in both counties today. Some things will stay with you. Danny Sutcliffe’s huge input and tally of 1-5 most of all. He has a habit of doing it at Kilkenny’s cost and more specifically at Tommy Walsh’s cost. The whippet in the red helmet was recalled to the side last night and started off like the Tommy of old. By half-time his mood had altered and he didn’t come out for the second, Sutcliffe having posted 1-5. It was Walsh’s second half-time substitution in four league games and one naturally wonders will he recover, with competition intense for every place.
Dublin led with the breeze to their backs by 10 points at half-time, 1-16 to 1-6, storming clear in the final 10 minutes scoring 1-6 without reply. Sutcliffe’s goal was a fortunate break, David Herity failing to deal with his looping ball that hung in the air and ended up dropping in off the goalkeeper’s stick.
Kilkenny had a goal in the ninth minute when the lively John Power sent a bullet past Gary Maguire, after great work by Wally Walsh and Colin Fennelly. But Dublin gradually took a grip and had fine contributions from Joey Boland, scorer of three points from play, and Alan McCrabbe, an insect in a field of racehorses.
Kilkenny, leading the table on score difference going into the match, made changes for the second half, Cillian Buckley dropping to half-back and Padraig Walsh replacing his brother and playing at midfield from where he chipped over two lovely scores. After eight minutes they had struck 2-1 with goals from Fennelly, a breathtaking plant, and a TJ Reid penalty, the award hotly disputed by Jack Dougan. Ten up, Dublin now led by three, and when Henry Shefflin came on the home followers braced themselves for an onslaught.
But their hurlers were heroic and stood up to the challenge and Peter Kelly and Liam Rushe were exceptional, Shane Durkin too. Ryan O’Dwyer came into the match when needed and they chiselled out scores to keep Kilkenny at arm’s length. By the end Richie Power was on and even a late run of three points still left the visitors needing a goal. Dublin would not give them one. The lady was not for turning.
Scorers – Dublin: D Sutcliffe 1-5, A McCrabbe 0-6 (3f, 1 ’65’, 1lb), C Keaney 0-3 (1f), J Boland 0-3, C Cronin, D O’Callaghan, J McCaffrey, M Schutte, R O’Dwyer 0-1 each. Kilkenny: J Power 1-1; C Fennelly 1-0, TJ Reid 1-0 (pen), E Larkin 0-4 (3f, 1 ’65’), P Walsh 0-2, W Walsh, A Fogarty, JJ Farrell, C Buckley, R Hogan (f), R Power 0-1 each.
Dublin: G Maguire; N Corcoran, P Kelly, C O’Callaghan; S Durkin, L Rushe, M Carton; J Boland, J McCaffrey; R O’Dwyer, A McCrabbe, D Sutcliffe; D O’Callaghan, C Keaney, C Cronin. Subs: J Dougan for Corcoran (40), M Shutte for McCaffrey (55), N McMorrow for Cronin (63), S McGrath for O’Callaghan (68).
Kilkenny: D Herity; P Murphy, B Hogan, T Keogh; T Walsh, L Ryan, J Holden; R Hogan, C Buckley; W Walsh, C Fennelly, E Larkin; JJ Farrell, J Power, A Fogarty. Subs: TJ Reid for Power (34), P Walsh for T Walsh (h-t), H Shefflin for Fogarty (43), B Kennedy for Ryan (60), R Power for W Walsh (63).
Referee: J Sexton (Cork).