Mansfield late show stuns Dubs as Cats edge thriller
Kilkenny 4-12 Dublin 2-16
Mark Mansfield's freak late goal proved decisive as Kilkenny advanced to the semi-finals of the Bord Gais Energy Leinster U-21 Hurling Championship at Parnell Park last night.
In the 59th minute, Mansfield's lengthy delivery deceived Dublin goalkeeper Sean Brennan - who was blinded by the sun - and dropped into the net, to hand Kilkenny the lead for the first and final time.
Dublin will rue the errant shooting in the first half that led to 12 wides.
However, the visitors deserve huge credit for staying in contention despite a paucity of possession.
After both Conor Martin and Paul Winters had missed early chances from placed balls, the latter opened the scoring for the hosts with an excellent long-distance point in the third minute.
With a strong breeze at their backs, the Dubs extended their lead two minutes later as Sean Treacy found the net from eight yards after clever approach play by Fiontán McGibb.
Treacy and Winters added points but the Dubs' early dominance was undermined in the 11th minute as Chris Bolger made a superb catch before firing an unerring finish.
Treacy added a brace of frees as the hosts impressed through the input of half-backs Cian Mac Gabhann and Shane Barrett.
However, Kilkenny's centre-back Diarmuid Cody was equally influential as the visitors stayed in contention through a Martin free and Liam Blanchfield's fine solo score.
Dublin's shooting became increasingly erratic and with Kilkenny adding points through Mansfield, Martin and Willie Brennan, they reduced the gap to just two points by the break.
However, Dublin regrouped impressively, and when Cian Boland added an excellent second goal in the 42nd minute, it appeared that they had done enough.
However, Kilkenny stayed in touch with goals by James Maher and Ciaran Ryan and although Dublin kept their noses in front for the large part, they were fatally wounded through Mansfield's late intervention.
Scorers - Kilkenny: J Maher, M Mansfield 1-2 each, C Bolger 1-1, C Martin 0-4 (4fs), C Ryan 1-0, L Hickey (f), L Blanchfield, W Brennan 0-1 each. Dublin: S Treacy (0-1f), C Boland 1-3 each, P Winters 0-4 (2fs), F McGibb, O O'Rorke 0-2 each, AJ Murphy (s-l), C Cronin 0-1 apiece.
Kilkenny - D Brennan; C Delaney, C Wallace, E Cody; J Cleere, D Cody, P Deegan; C Ryan, M Mansfield; C Ryan, W Brennan, L Blanchfield; L Hickey, C Martin, C Bolger. Subs: L Scanlon for Martin (44), E Morrissey for D Cody (46), T Phelan for Blanchfield (55),
Dublin - S Brennan; J Madden, C O'Callaghan, S McClelland; E O'Donnell, S Barrett, C Mac Gabhann; J Malone, P Winters; C Cronin, F McGibb, C Boland; O'Rorke, S Treacy, AJ Murphy. Subs: R Murphy for Mac Gabhann (33), E McLaughlin for O'Donnell (36), C O'Neill for AJ Murphy (43), F O Riain Broin for Treacy (51).
Ref - M Murtagh (Westmeath)