Power surge ensures Cats are back in winning groove
KILKENNY'S ability to create and take goal chances hurt Dublin once again at Parnell Park.
Anthony Daly's charges played well on a perfect afternoon for hurling, matching the Cats in many departments and racking up an impressive tally. But, as with last July's Leinster final, goals won the game. So, the champions are back to winning ways after their defeats to Tipperary and Cork and Richie Power's brilliant double salvo before the break was the difference.
The consistency with which the visitors were able to get in behind the Dublin defence and the fact that Gary Maguire was by far the busier goalkeeper were key to the result.
Daly lamented the superb reflex save that David Herity made to deny Peter Kelly's goalbound effort with 10 minutes remaining, but that was his side's sole goal chance and they needed to take it.
"Ah, well at least we turned up this week," he said. "It was a terrible effort last week in Tullamore, but at least today, well it was silly mistakes that cost us for the goals after we did most of the hurling in the first half, we ended up going in behind. If Peter Kelly's one had gone in, David Treacy had half a chance -- you never know."
It won't get any easier as Cork are next on the agenda, but at least Liam Rushe is expected to be back after a day when the centre-forward's influence was missed as the ball failed to stick all too often when it went up into the forwards.
The Dubs couldn't make their early dominance count as they sent over six wides in the opening 20 minutes at which point they led 0-6 to 0-5 thanks to good scores from David O'Callaghan, Alan McCrabbe and John McCaffrey.
Kilkenny still managed to keep the scoreboard ticking over with two Power frees and points from Derek Lyng, Aidan Fogarty and the impressive John Mulhall. Their classy forwards clicked into gear for the second quarter and they outscored Dublin by 2-4 to 0-5 for the remainder of the half.
O'Brien had pointed to give Dublin a two-point lead, but Power gave warning that he had the measure of Ronan Fallon with a well-taken point on 24 minutes. And a minute later he jumped highest from within a group of blue jerseys to take Jackie Tyrrell's deep free and his low shot beat Maguire.
Dublin reacted with points from O'Brien and McCaffrey, but Tommy Walsh scored a fine point and Power sent over another on the turn. Shane Durkin pulled one back for the Dubs, but it did little to stem the tide as Maguire was picking the ball out of the net for the second time in six minutes. The redeployment of Tomás Brady onto the rampant Power didn't work as the corner-forward took Eoin Larkin's ball and shot to the net.
Kilkenny led 2-9 to 0-12 at the interval, but Dublin started the second half well and four Alan McCrabbe points to two from Mulhall and Fogarty meant the Donnycarney crowd began to get excited with the gap down to a point. But their roar of encouragement was met with a composed reaction from Brian Cody's charges. Joey Boland's foul on Michael Rice in the area saw Diarmuid Kirwan award a penalty, but Maguire did well to direct Hogan's effort over. Mulhall added another to make the gap four, while Boland and Power exchanged points before Herity denied Kelly's rising drive after he was set up by O'Callaghan with 10 minutes left.
With that chance went Dublin's hopes as the men in black and amber met every Dublin point with one of their own.
Cody welcomes most of his Ballyhale contingent back this week, although Henry Shefflin will be given a rest. But he says the fact that his side were coming off back-to-back defeats meant little on the day.
"The goals were crucial to the outcome, they were good goals," he said. "Losing back to back isn't an issue for us, not a concern. We gave ourselves a chance in both games. I expected at least as tough a challenge today and we got it."
SCORERS -- Kilkenny: R Power 2-7 (5f), J Mulhall 0-5, A Fogarty, P Hogan (2 '65, 1 pen) 0-3 each, J Tennyson, T Walsh, D Lyng 0-1 each. Dublin: A McCrabbe 0-8 (7f), M O'Brien, J McCaffrey (1 '65, 3f) 0-4 each, D O'Callaghan 0-2, D Treacy, S Durkin, J Boland, S Lambert 0-1 each.
KILKENNY -- D Herity; C Hickey, B Hogan, S Cummins; T Walsh, J Tyrrell, J Ryall; J Tennyson, P Hogan; J Mulhall, D Lyng, M Rice; R Power, E Larkin, A Fogarty. Subs: E Guinan for Lyng (47), W O'Dwyer for Power (70).
DUBLIN -- G Maguire; N Corcoran, R Fallon, O Gough; S Hiney, T Brady, J Boland; M O'Brien, J McCaffrey; P Kelly, S Durkin, L Ryan; D O'Callaghan, D Treacy, A McCrabbe. Subs: D Curtin for Fallon (54), S Lambert for Ryan (54), K Flynn for Durkin (64).
REF -- D Kirwan (Cork).