Supersubs strike as clinical Cats finish with flourish to deny Dubs
Kilkenny 1-17 Dublin 1-15 Leinster MHC Final
Kilkenny produced a storming last five minutes to edge past Dublin and retain their title at Croke Park yesterday.
The Dubs looked well primed to dethrone them as they went two points clear through an excellent score by substitute Alex Considine in the 57th minute, but Kilkenny responded admirably, with late scores by substitutes Conor Hennessy and Edmund Delaney sealing the victory.
Despite falling behind to an early free from Matthew Oliver, the holders started in the ascendancy and after Andrew Gaffney has levelled matters, Tadhg O'Dwyer fired home a goal from 12 metres past a helpless Eoin Skelly.
An excellent point by Joe Connolly increased that lead but with Dublin's running game leading to a number of frees, the clinical Oliver trimmed the arrears through placed balls.
With Fergal Whitely increasingly influential, Oliver's prowess from frees left the tie delicately poised - his sixth point in the 22nd minute restored parity.
However, far from building on that platform, the Dubs allowed Kilkenny to regain the initiative approaching the break with a brace of John Donnelly scores helping the holders to a 1-7 to 0-8 interval lead.
Considine struck for a superb individual goal within a minute of the restart to revive Dublin's fortunes and although the Cats replied through two Gaffney frees, the momentum was with Dublin as they levelled matters again through successive scores by Oliver and Eoghan Conroy.
Dublin's rich vein of form manifested itself in three further points by Oliver, Conroy and Donal Burke, but Kilkenny midfielder Richie Leahy began to exert a telling influence on the tie as he popped over two points to add to Delaney's score in the 48th minute.
Dublin looked to have given themselves a sufficient cushion through Oliver and Considine but Kilkenny concluded in fine style as they levelled through Leahy and Daniel O'Connor before their telling late scores.
scorers - Kilkenny: A Gaffney 0-5 (5fs), R Leahy 0-4 (2fs), T O'Dwyer 1-0, J Donnelly, E Delaney 0-2 each, J Connolly, D O'Connor, J Cuddihy, C Hennessy 0-1 each. Dublin: M Oliver 0-10 (9fs, 1 '65'), A Considine 1-1, E Conroy 0-2, F Whitely, D Burke 0-1 each.
Kilkenny - S Murphy; M Cody, T Walsh, C McGrath; D Mullen, D Joyce, C Doheny; R Leahy, J Connolly; D O'Connor, T O'Dwyer, J Donnelly; A Gaffney, J Cuddihy, N Walsh. Subs: E Delaney for N Walsh (42), C Hennessy for Gaffney (47), B Sheehan for Donnelly (53).
Dublin - E Skelly; C Hendricken, C Brady, D Butler; E Foley, P Smyth, D Butler; M Oliver, C Sammon; E Conroy, M Maguire, F Whitely; E Dunne, D Burke, C Burke. Subs: C O'Sullivan for Brady (30), A Considine for C Burke (h-t), A Mellett for Maguire (41), C Dowling for Sammon (49), D Gray for Butler 58).
ref - M Murtagh (Westmeath)