Tuesday 23 January 2018

Dublin prove real deal

Dublin 1-17 Kilkenny 3-11

John Harrington at Croke Park

There's no doubt about it, this Dublin hurling team are the real deal. They made things hard for themselves again yesterday against Kilkenny in the Allianz NHL Division 1 clash with some kamikaze shooting, but in the end got the draw their efforts deserved as Paul Ryan snapped over a crisp point with the last puck of the game.

From the first whistle it was clear that Dublin's new self-confidence hadn't been shaken by last weekend's defeat to Galway. They tore into Kilkenny from the get-go, and, despite some poor shooting, led 0-5 to 0-2 after 10 minutes.

Matthew Ruth levelled with a goal against the run of play, but with Conal Keaney and Ryan O'Dwyer growing increasingly influential, Dublin were still the dominant team.

A cracking goal from corner-forward Ryan, which put them five points up, was their just deserts, but once again Kilkenny proved they're dangerous even when on the back foot as Eddie Brennan struck a goal on the stroke of half-time.

Dublin began the second half with the same good intentions with which they started the first, but once again they were being let down by poor shooting whereas Kilkenny were far more clinical.

Richie Hogan and Michael Fennelly clipped over points and then Brian Cody's team took the lead for the first time -- 2-11 to 1-13 -- when Ruth slotted one from a tight angle.

Dublin drew level through Daire Plunkett, but the match was becoming more and more error-strewn and disjointed as both teams struggled to cope with the driving rain and increasingly slippy sod.

One man who had little trouble maintaining his balance, though, was Colin Fennelly who tore through the Dubs defence to create the defining goal of the match, when his fierce shot was saved by Gary Maguire into the path of Ruth who crashed it home.

There were still 12 minutes to play and a pointed '65 and free from Ryan reduced the deficit to the minimum.

It looked like Dublin were going to come up just short though when they hit three injury-time wides in-a-row, but Ryan held his nerve to snatch a deserved share of the spoils.

Scorers -- Kilkenny: M Ruth 2-1; R Hogan 0-5 (3f); E Brenan 1-2; M Fennelly 0-2; A Fogarty 0-1. Dublin: P Ryan 1-5 (1 '65, 1f); C Keaney 0-5 (2f, 2 '65); L Rushe, R O'Dwyer 0-2 each; D Plunkett, J McCaffrey, S Durkin 0-1 each.

Kilkenny: D Herity; M Kavanagh, N Hickey, J Dalton; P Hogan, B Hogan, C Fogarty; P Murphy, E Larkin; R Hogan, M Fennelly, C Fennelly; M Ruth, E Brennan, A Fogarty. Subs: TJ Reid for P Murphy (42), J Mulhall for A Fogarty (52), PJ Delaney for C Fogarty (55)

Dublin: G Maguire, N Corcoran, P Kelly, O Gough; R Walsh, T Brady, S Durkin; J McCaffrey, S Lambert; C Keaney, R O'Dwyer, L Rushe; D Plunkett, D O'Callaghan, P Ryan. Subs: S Ryan for S Lambert (48), P Schutte for O Gough (58), R Walsh for (64) P Carton for D Plunkett (66).

Referee: B Kelly (Westmeath)

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