Mullen magic fires Kilkenny minors to victory
Kilkenny 3-15 Dublin 1-17 - Leinster MHC final
The sons of the fathers showed the Kilkenny production line is safe for a few more years with a hard-fought victory over Dublin in the Electric Ireland Leinster minor hurling final.
Kilkenny delivered on their favouritism to capture the title for the 57th time with DJ Carey's son, Michael, at full-back and alongside him in the corner, Tommy Ronan, son of Adrian.
It was at the other end, however, where Kilkenny did the damage as they struck two goals in the opening four minutes through full-forward Adrian Mullen and Sean Ryan to put them firmly in control.
"Conceding those two early goals was huge," reflected Dublin manager Fintan Clandillon.
"We did get back level after that, but we never led at any stage, and that was significant."
Dublin, the holders, did battle back but the application shown by his players was what was most pleasing to Kilkenny manager Pat O'Grady.
"This time last year we weren't Leinster champions, and it has been a long 12 months," he said.
"The talk in Kilkenny was that maybe we hadn't the conveyor belt coming through, but fair play to the lads who dug deep and grounded out the result.
"We were quick to settle. We had talked about it, but sometimes you can talk all you like, and things don't happen. But it did on this occasion.
"We are going home with a bit of silverware, and we are very happy with that. We'll focus on the All-Ireland series now, and we know we have a lot to work on."
Kilkenny led by 2-7 to 0-10 at the interval with the minor boys in blue having recovered from the shock of conceding two early goals; however, lightning struck again seven minutes into the second half.
It was Ryan who netted his second goal as he made room for himself to drive the sliotar into the far right corner and establish a 3-8 to 0-10 lead which proved decisive.
"Their third goal came at a crucial time. And that opened up a big lead," admitted Clandillon.
"Yet we reacted well again, but when you concede three goals in any game, you are always going to struggle."
Four minutes from time, the Dubs were lifted by a goal from the impressive Enda O'Donnell.
Dublin reduced the deficit further with late strikes from Sean Currie and two from captain Keogh but Kilkenny always had enough about them to stay in front.
Scorers - Kilkenny: A Mullen 1-9 (4f, 1 '65), S Ryan 2-2, E O Shea, N Brassil, C Heary, J Ryan 0-1 each. Dublin: S Currie 0-8 (6f, 1 '65), D Keogh 0-4 (1f), E O'Donnell 1-0, L Murphy 0-3, M Murphy, D Ó Floinn 0-1 each.
Kilkenny - D Mason; T Ronan, M Carey, D Walsh; J Brennan, C Flynn, J Molloy; E O'Shea, N Brassil; J Roberts, C Heary, J Ryan; D Barron, A Mullen, S Ryan. Subs: N Brennan for Roberts (22); E Cody for Heary (49); J Dowd for O'Shea (58).
Dublin - C O'Donoghue; A Dunphy, B McHugh, T Kinnane; E O'Neill, L Walsh, L Gannon; D Keogh, M Murphy; M Grogan, B Coffey, D Ó Floinn; L Murphy, K Desmond, S Currie. Subs: L McDwyer for M Murphy (h-t); E O'Donnell for Grogan (40); J Byrne for Desmond (49); K Burke for O'Neill (54); T Aherne for Gannon (59).
Ref - A Devine (Westmeath)