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Blues will regroup

DUBLIN'S dreams of a third successive provincial title were dashed as Kilkenny outplayed them when recording a 0-17 to 2-7 win in their Electric Ireland Leinster MHC semi-final at Parnell Park last Saturday afternoon.

Although only scoring three points in the second half, Dublin's difficulties were largely attributable to a sloppy first-half display in which they failed to take advantage of the stiff breeze blowing towards the scoreboard end.

The Dubs only managed 1-1 from play in that first half and despite late goals in the half from both Jonathan Treacy and Chris Bennett, their three-point interval lead never looked sufficient to withstand Kilkenny's wind-assisted second-half onslaught, a fact acknowledged by Dublin manager Pat Fanning.

"I think that breeze was probably worth six or seven points and we just didn't threaten enough in the first half to take advantage of it.

"I was concerned when we only led by 2-4 to 0-7 at the interval and unfortunately my fears were realised after the break where Kilkenny used the wind to their benefit much better than we did.

"We didn't utilise our full-forward line enough and despite Con O'Callaghan causing Kilkenny lots of problems when he got the ball, we just weren't consistent enough in our play," said Fanning.

O'Callaghan's menace helped Dublin to claw their way back into contention with the dual player winning one penalty that goalkeeper Treacy converted and a more obvious decision should have been awarded soon after but referee Paud O'Dwyer proved negligent when opting to play on.



That Dublin were left in arrears at this stage was down to a disappointing opening with a far more economical Kilkenny side taking almost all of the chances that came their way with their first wide arriving as late as the 29th minute.

Despite losing to Wexford in the earlier stages, the Cats have regrouped admirably and their performance on the day came as no shock to Fanning, who is an advocate of their qualities.

"I think people were very quick to write them off when they lost to Wexford but I thought they were unlucky that day and played most of the better hurling.

"They proved that they are a decent team against us unfortunately and they were clinical in taking their chances and not allowing us back into the game in the second-half," said the Na Fianna clubman.

Despite the natural despondency that greeted Saturday's result, the Dubs can take some comfort from a gutsy display which, perhaps, lacked the experience required against a more seasoned Kilkenny team.

The relative youth of the panel offers some encouragement to Fanning, who is due to resume control of the minor panel for 2014 with genuine grounds for optimism in the near future.

"We are very disappointed. We gave it a good lash and gave Kilkenny a good rattle but it just wasn't enough on the day. Today was our 71st time together as a panel since we started on January 12 and the lads put in a huge amount of effort, so I'm very disappointed for them. However, we are quite a young side and a lot of them will be available next year.

"They will definitely benefit from their experiences this year and should come back stronger as a result," he concluded.