Kilkenny picked up their first piece of silverware for 2014 with a 0-24 to 1-17 win over Dublin in the Walsh Cup final at Croke Park yesterday.
The forecasted bad weather never arrived and the game was played out in decent conditions with Henry Shefflin a notable absentee from the starting XV and the bench.
Kilkenny dominated the proceedings but Dublin's late revival brought them close to earning a draw, a result their manager Anthony Daly felt they wouldn't have deserved.
"They were livelier onto the breaking ball," said Daly.
"We wanted it to happen rather than making it happen. The essence of our game is to go and play with that cut and thrust and we didn't play with that tonight."
However, Dublin got off to the better start with Mark Schutte hitting two points within the opening two minutes.
But Kilkenny quickly took control with a flurry of scores from Eoin Larkin, Thomas Breen, Padraig Walsh and Mark Kelly giving them a 0-7 to 0-2 lead.
It took Dublin 15 minutes to get on the scoreboard again when Paul Ryan slotted over a free but some clever play and well worked scores from their full-forward line of Schutte, David O'Callaghan and Ryan brought them into the game again. At half-time Kilkenny were 0-11 to 0-8 ahead.
In the second half Kilkenny pushed on, mostly thanks to the accuracy of Larkin and went eight points up. Dublin responded in remarkable fashion but they couldn't close the gap and Kilkenny ran out four-point winners.
Next up for the two teams is the opening round of the Allianz League on February 16 with Kilkenny facing All-Ireland champions Clare in Ennis and Dublin taking on Galway also away from home.
"Two weeks time is more important. Winning against Kilkenny and losing to Galway? I'd be taking winning down in Galway," said Daly.
Scorers – Kilkenny: E Larkin 0-11 (9f, 1 '65'), C Fennelly 0-4, J Brennan 0-3, T Breen, A Fogarty 0-2 each, P Walsh, M Kelly 0-1 each. Dublin: P Ryan 1-4 (1-3f), M Schutte 0-5, D O'Callaghan, D Sutcliffe 0-2 each, E Dillon, J Boland (1 '65'), M Quilty, A Nolan (1f) 0-1 each.
Kilkenny: D Herity; T Keogh, M Walsh, J Tyrrell; B Kennedy, T Walsh, D Langton; C Fogarty, P Walsh; J Brennan, C Fennelly, E Larkin; JJ Farrell, M Kelly, T Breen. Subs: A Fogarty for P Walsh (47), P Murphy for Langton (56), L Ryan for Breen (66).
Dublin: A Nolan; C O'Callaghan, P Kelly, J Dougan; S Hiney, C McCormack, J Boland; S Durkin, J McCaffrey; C Keaney, R O'Dwyer, C Cronin; P Ryan, D O'Callaghan, M Schutte. Subs: D Sutcliffe for McCaffrey (35), S Timlin for Dougan (35), E Dillon for Ryan (50) M Quilty for Durkin (50), P Winters for O'Dwyer (63).
Referee: D Hughes (Carlow).