Monday 16 December 2019

Sweet revenge for Kilkenny as Murphy has Cats purring

KILKENNY 2-19 DUBLIN 2-10 - Leinster MHC final

Kilkenny players John Walsh (left) and Sean Morrissey celebrate their victory over Dublin in the Leinster MHC final at Croke Park. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Kilkenny players John Walsh (left) and Sean Morrissey celebrate their victory over Dublin in the Leinster MHC final at Croke Park. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Kilkenny's Liam Blanchfield gets away from Dara Butler of Dublin during the Leinster MHC final at Croke Park. Photo: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE
Dublin's Eoghan McHugh strides away from Conor Doheny of Kilkenny during the Leinster MHC final at Croke Park. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Kilkenny produced a wonderful team display when overwhelming Dublin by nine points at Croke Park.

The Dubs defeated Kilkenny comfortably in the earlier stages of the minor provincial campaign, but a repeat of that 2-8 to 0-3 scoreline was never likely given Kilkenny's lack of preparation back in April and their massive improvement

Despite Sean Grey opening the scoring in the sixth minute, Kilkenny held the upper hand and took the lead by the ninth minute following successive scores by Alan Murphy and Ronan Corcoran.

Their momentum was enhanced a minute later as Liam Blanchfield shrugged off the challenges of Shane Barrett and Mark McCallion before rolling a precise finish past Jonathan Treacy from 10 yards.

Points were added through Murphy and Ross Butler before Grey finally ended a barren sequence when slotting over another free in the 21st minute.

Rian McBride added a glorious score for Dublin soon after and they were further buoyed in the 25th minute as Sean Ryan fired to the net following a telling incision through the middle by McBride.

Critically, Kilkenny clicked through the gears despite that setback, with Murphy and Blanchfield landing scores to increase their side's advantage to 1-9 to 1-5 by the interval.

Any hopes of a Dublin comeback were quickly dispelled within the opening 10 minutes of the second half as Kilkenny dominated upon the restart with Murphy landing three points in quick succession.

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The procession continued towards the Dublin goal as Seán Morrissey, Murphy and Blanchfield added points. The contest was effectively settled in the 43rd minute as Blanchfield once again delivered an unerring finish beyond Treacy after he had slipped Daragh Butler.

A missed penalty by Treacy, following a foul on Ryan in the 55th minute, summed up Dublin's fortunes although they managed to add some respectability to the final scoreline as substitute Eoin O Conghaile added a brace of points.

The Lucan Sarsfields player added further consolation in the form of an injury-time goal, but Kilkenny had closed up shop at that juncture.

Scorers: Kilkenny: A Murphy 0-9 (4f, 1 '65'), L Blanchfield 2-3, S Morrissey, R Corcoran 0-2, C Browne, R Butler, J Walsh 0-1 each. Dublin: E Ó Conghaile 1-2, S Ryan 1-0, S Grey 0-3 (3f), C Bennett 0-2 (2f), C O'Callaghan, R McBride, E McHugh 0-1 each

Kilkenny: D Brennan; C McGrath, C Delaney, C Doheny; D Joyce, J Cleere, P Lyng; C Browne, L Scanlon; S Morrissey, R Butler, B Ryan; A Murphy, L Blanchfield, R Corcoran. Subs: E Kenny for Ryan (half-time), J Walsh for Butler (52), L Hennessy for Corcoran (59).

Dublin: J Treacy; M McCallion, S Barrett, D Butler; S Howard, J Malone, P O'Dea; R McBride, D Burke; S Grey, E McHugh, E Conroy; S Ryan, C O'Callaghan, C Bennett. Subs: C O'Sullivan for O'Dea and T Fox for Barrett (27), C Brady for Burke (40), E Ó Conghaile for Grey (43), F Whitely for Butler (55).

Referee: P O'Dwyer (Carlow)

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