Clifford and Drennan fire Cats past Kildare
Kilkenny 2-20 Kildare 0-15
Kilkenny return to their third consecutive Leinster MHC final after this easy victory over a valiant Kildare in Newbridge.
Not overly impressed with their performance, despite leading by 11 points at half-time, Kilkenny manager Richie Mulrooney said: "We'd have to improve a lot for a Leinster final, but, to be fair to the lads, we won our three group stage matches, we've now beaten Kildare and the Leinster final against Wexford is going to be a really, really good match."
Deadlocked at 0-4 apiece by the 13th minute, David Qualter and Daragh Melville were to the fore as Kildare started with intent. Kilkenny soon hit their stride, Colman O'Sullivan's 14th-minute goal changing the complexion.
Despite Jack Higgins responding, Kilkenny scored 1-6 before the 25th minute. Amongst points from Billy Drennan, Peter McDonald and Jack Doyle, Tommy Clifford scored their second goal in the 21st minute.
Drennan and Clifford then took points from goal chances, giving Kilkenny a 2-11 to 0-6 half-time lead.
In a game decided in the first half, Kildare kept level with Kilkenny second half, both teams scoring 0-9.
Scorers - Kilkenny: B Drennan 0-10 (6f); T Clifford 1-5; C O'Sullivan 1-0; P McDonald, A Hickey, J Doyle, I Byrne, B Wheeler 0-1 each. Kildare: D Qualter 0-6 (5f); C McCabe (3f), D Melville 0-3 each; J Higgins 0-2; F O'Sullivan 0-1.
KILKENNY - A Tallis; B Reid, W Halpin, T Roche; P McDonald, P Moylan, J Alyward; A Hickey, D Walsh; J Doyle, C O'Sullivan, L Moore; B Drennan, T Clifford, I Byrne. Subs: P Blanchfield and S Doyle for Doyle and Moore (42); Z Bay-Hammond for Walsh (48); A Murphy for O'Sullivan (50); B Wheeler for Byrne (55).
KILDARE - A Hackett; P O'Donoghue, S Conway, M Eustace; P Dolan, C Shanahan, E Kelliher; F O'Sullivan, C Boran; C O'Donovan, R Stapleton, J Higgins; D Melville, C McCabe, D Qualter. Subs: D McMahon for Eustace (30); A O'Brien and A Mooney for Stapleton and Dolan (48); E McConnon for Higgins (53); J Owens for Boran (61).
REF - T Gleeson (Dublin)