Conor McDonald and Jack Guiney run riot as DIT slay Kilkenny
DIT 4-14 Kilkenny 0-16
It was supposed to be an historic occasion for Kilkenny but the show was stolen by the Wexford pair of Conor McDonald and Jack Guiney, as well as Westmeath's Derek McNicholas, as DIT came away with the win.
In the first competitive game played at Kilkenny's new MW Hire Training Centre in Dunmore, goals made all the difference for the students with McDonald bagging a brace while Guiney and sub Cian O'Donoghue also hit the net.
With their senior squad just back from their team holiday in Thailand on Monday morning, the only All-Ireland winner was patrolling the sidelines in what was Eddie Brennan's first step into inter-county management.
His U-21 side were in complete control on the half hour mark, leading 0-9 to 0-3 having reeled off six points in succession, but McDonald and Guiney hit crucial goals to leave DIT in an unlikely half-time lead of 2-5 to 0-9.
Kilkenny went 19 minutes without a score from play midway through the game and when McDonald latched onto a rebounded effort from Guiney in the 44th minute, DIT assumed control with McNicholas hitting four second-half points.
With Brian Cody watching from the terraces, the sides traded scores in the opening minutes through Gary Tynan (two) and one each from McDonald and McNicholas. With Guiney being kept under wraps early on, the young Cats began to dig their claws in.
Michael Kenny was accurate from placed balls and Eoin Brennan and Ciarán Ryan split the posts as Kilkenny roared into a six-point lead. McDonald was sharp from play for DIT, however, and despite blazing wide in the 25th minute, he quickly made amends. A probing run from McNicholas drew the Kilkenny defence before offloading to the Wexford star who finished neatly. He followed up with a good score from play before Guiney blasted to the net after a great catch from a Sean McClelland free.
It was tit-for-tat at the start of the second half but when Guiney powered through the spine of Kilkenny backline before unleashing a shot which was well saved by Darren Brennan, McDonald was on the scene to pull to the net to make it 3-7 to 0-11.
The Cats didn't wilt with Ryan, who was sharp in attack, hitting two points with Glen Whelan, much like his soccer namesake, effective in the sweeper role for Eoin Brislane's DIT side.
The closing 15 minutes turned into the McNicholas show with the Lake County forward hitting a trio of points and when O'Donoghue reacted quickest to a breaking ball, it was game over as they prevailed by a flattering 10 points.
After a hammering to Offaly in the opening round, DIT salvaged a lot pride and will have confidence heading into Fitzgibbon Cup action later this month while Cody is likely to be back on the touchline ahead of Sunday's visit to Birr.
The 11-time All-Ireland-winning manager won't have been particularly impressed with what he saw in Kilkenny's future stars but they showed enough fight to convince him that he can shape more senior stars in the near future.
scorers - Kilkenny: M Kenny 0-6f, C Ryan 0-3, B Ryan, G Tynan and E Brennan 0-2 each, S O'Farrell 0-1. DIT: C McDonald 2-4 (2f), J Guiney 1-2 (1f), D McNicholas 0-5, C O'Donoghue 1-0, C Sheehan, J Sweeney and R Greville 0-1 each.
kilkenny - D Brennan; P Kirwan, C Delaney M Carroll; JP Treacy, E Cody, P Cass; L Scanlon, N Mullins; E Brennan, G Tynan, M Kenny; C Ryan, B Ryan, K Farrell. Subs: S O'Farrell for M Kenny and S Dowling for L Scanlon (46), R Bergin for M Carroll (51), N Walsh for E Brennan (54), A Burke for C Ryan (blood 56) and P Lyng for G Tynan (59).
dit - P McKenna; S McClelland, T Doyle, C Robinson; C Byrne, G Whelan, J Henderson; D Byrne, R Greville; J Sweeney, J Guiney, C Sheehan; B Kelly, C McDonald, D McNicholas. Subs: C O'Donoghue for Ryan (40), D Guinan for J Henderson (43), P O'Reilly for S McClelland (51).
ref - P Murphy (Carlow)