DUBLIN 0-17 KILKENNY 1-14
Anthony Daly’s Dublin came within a puck of a ball of defeating Kilkenny for the first time in Championship action since 1942 (Leinster SHC final) in Sunday’s provincial semi-final at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.
This dramatic duel concluded in a swelter of excitement and for those loyal Dublin fans who travelled it was, in a sense, similar to the final minutes of the footballers legendary drawn clash with Kerry in Thurles in 2001 as the Dubs defied all the pre-match predictions to come so, so close to pulling off a seismic shock.
A Joey Boland free into the stiff wind edged Dublin in front in the second minute of injury-time but with almost the lack puck of the game TJ Reid salvaged a draw for the reigning All-Ireland champions.
A draw was the least the Dubs deserved and will look back on several squandered scoring opportunities, especially in the opening half when aided by the wind, with regret as they now turn their attention to next Saturday night’s replay in Portlaoise (7pm).
Dublin put ten balls wide in the opening half as well as drifting a few short while in the second half Conal Keaney, who had an immense second half in terms of work-rate and industry, hit the post with an angled drive late in the second half.
Dublin also missed goal chance in the first half when Paul Ryan was denied from close range by Eoin Murphy.
At half-time the sides were deadlocked 0-8 each but having played with the wind most signals suggested a Kilkenny victory but the Dubs had other ideas as they put in a massive second half to go within seconds of claiming a famous scalp.
A Kilkenny goal from their best forward, Walter Walsh, in the ninth minute of the second half put Kilkenny 1-8 to 0-10 in front but crucially Dublin did not buckle and responded with an important point from John McCaffrey.
To a man Dublin lifted their game for their to the finish.
Peter Kelly was superb at full-back and beside him Paul Schutte tidied up and cleared his lines with intelligence. Liam Rushe, late on, dominated the central channel of their defence fielding lengthy puckouts from Eoin Murphy.
At midfield Joey Boland and McCaffrey were industrious as well as accurate in possession while the forwards fought for every ball – despite being outnumbered at times as Dublin dropped an extra man into the middle third of pitch.
Keaney ‘risked life and limb’ to break up the play and ensure the Cats half-backs were not dictating the game as they so often do while the introduction of David O’Callaghan was central to Dublin’s display as the St Mark’s man made something out of relatively nothing on a succession of occasions.
He was not the only man who contributed off the bench with Mark Schutte providing an outlet from defensive clearances as well as a point as did the hard-working Shane Durkin who settled into the tempo of the game immediately on his introduction.
SCORERS – Dublin: J Boland 0-9 (0-7f), P Schutte, J McCaffrey, C Keaney, D Sutcliffe, P Ryan (0-1f), S Durkin, D O’Callaghan, M Schutte 0-1 each. Kilkenny: W Walsh 1-4, E Larkin 0-7 (0-7f), R Hogan 0-2, TJ Reid 0-1.
KILKENNY: E Murphy; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, C Fogarty; T Walsh, B Hogan, K Joyce; L Ryan, M Rice; C Buckley, R Power, E Larkin; W Walsh, R Hogan, C Fennelly. Subs: P Hogan for P Murphy (inj 34), TJ Reid for Rice (ht), A Fogarty for Fennelly (60), M Ruth for Power (63).
DUBLIN: G Maguire; P Schutte, P Kelly, N Corcoran; S Hiney, L Rushe, M Carton; J McCaffrey, J Boland; C Keaney, R O’Dwyer, D Sutcliffe; P Ryan, C McCormack, D Treacy. Subs: D O’Callaghan for Ryan (19), M Schutte for McCormack (ht), S Durkin for Sutcliffe (46), S Lambert for Treacy (57), E Dillon for Hiney (63).
REF: J Ryan (Tipperary).