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Dubs purr in epic but Cats get the cream

DUBLIN could have left Crumlin with half an Easter egg ... at least. It was one they left behind them on Sunday lunchtime.

They had plenty of chances to take the National League Division 1 points. But it was Kilkenny that prevailed, 2-9 to 2-8.

Dublin will reflect on much honest endeavour, but also 12 wides, six more than the Cats.

Yet following on from their opening day victory over Tipperary, this was another encouraging show from the born-again Dubs. Certainly, a million miles away from the crushing defeat by Kilkenny in last year's Spring Series at Croke Park.

A decent crowd stood on the O'Toole Park terracing. The umpires were dressed for rain. It never came.

The tannoy was put to good use. There was a Féile parade at half-time. Those kids will dream of emulating Louise O'Hara.

Just before the interval, O'Hara, wide on the right at the pitch-and-putt end, and surrounded by security, still managed to dance her way clear and deliver a precise pass to Ciara Burgess, who pointed.

The hosts were behind at the tea, 2-5 to 1-4. They had begun like the Kimmage Express. Amy Murphy sent over a point in the third minute but Dublin could have had three points by then.

They then went into a lull. The black and amber took over, scoring 2-5 without reply by the 24th minute. Dublin had to chase the game after that. But chase it they did. And Catriona Power was inspirational at right corner-back.

Another Power, Katie, was causing problems for the Dubs. Katie is a cousin of the Dublin defender, Fiona Hayes. Katie's arrow to the left corner brought the visitor's first goal in the 13th minute. Siobhan Hyland slipped in the second on 24 minutes.

Dublin finished the half like they had started it. The purposeful spell produced 1-3. Ali Maguire converted a free, Murphy and Burgess added points, and right on the blow of the break, another scented email from O'Hara saw Murphy propel the sliotar to the roof of the net.

In the second period, Kilkenny's accurate Aoife Neary exchanged frees with Maguire and Muireann O'Gorman. Then came a rub of the Blue.

O'Hara gained a couple of yards of space and lofted in a shot that surprised all by dipping under the slates -- 2-7 to 2-6 for Kilkenny. Ten minutes left.

The audience became a choir. They sensed a famous victory. Neary struck another free. O'Hara responded from play.

Still just the point between them. Four minutes from time, Colette Dormer pushed Kilkenny ahead by two. In injury-time, Maguire's free from the right brought it back to a point once more.

Still time maybe for a grandstand finish, but the clock had other ideas. Dublin's Easter Bunny had left the building.

DUBLIN: H Cosgrave (St Jude's); C Power (Naomh Mearnóg), T Corrigan (St Jude's), E O'Meara (Na Fianna); E Whyte (Good Counsel), G Quinn (Naomh Pádraig/Na Cloigthi), F Hayes (Ballinteer St John's); C Burgess (Raheny, 0-1), A Maguire (St Vincent's, 0-3, 3f); M O'Gorman (Na Fianna, 0-1, f), A Murphy (Erin's Isle, 1-2), L O'Hara (Erin's Isle, 1-1); C Berkeley (Na Fianna), S Ryan (Naomh Mearnóg), A Twomey (Lucan Sarsfields). Subs used: E McCarthy (St Vincent's), A Carolan (St Oliver Plunkett's/ER), A Kelly (Raheny), M Twomey (Naomh Mearnóg).