Saturday 16 December 2017

Dubs stretch the Cats in fine show

THE Dubs set off from the Red Cow. No eclipse of the moon on Noreside.

Destination Danesfort, the home club of Richie Hogan.

The Kilkenny goalkeeper, Emma Kavanagh, hails from Rower Inistioge.

That's the Kingdom of Eddie Keher.

Dublin's fourth game in Division 1 of the National League. Kilkenny won it, 1-12 to 1-5.

A decent crowd saw a worthy spectacle. And on the sliotar's favourite sod.

There was a bounce in the turf. And the two counties were bouncing from the off.

The pace came direct from Electric Ireland. And a early bonus for the Dubs - a goal after three minutes.

It sparked the early debate. Who got it?

The scramble for possession in front of the home porch resembled a scrum at Murrayfield.

Dublin's Administration officer, Sandra Tarr, solved the riddle. Emma Flanagan got the last, decisive touch.

The black and amber gradually came more and more into the game.

They began to compile a neat harvest. Points pay the rent.

The Cats led by 1-5 to 1-1 at the break. Elaine O'Meara got Dublin's point.

The Kilkenny full-forward, Denise Gaule, was impressing the audience. A class act.

A target-woman of high renown. And when the ball was in her purse, she didn't have to consult any self-help manual. Ann Dalton was in charge at midfield. She was pressing all the right buttons.

Her free-taking was a delight. If Pádraig can strike the ball as sweetly at Augusta, the birds will be singing at Stackstown.

It was Michelle Quilty who got the Kilkenny goal. But the Blues kept bubbling.

They again showed their fitness after the tea. They chased every crumb.

Second half points came from Flanagan and two Ali Maguire frees. There was four points between them coming down the back stretch. Dublin were awarded a penalty for a foul on Aisling Maher. Louise O'Hara's sizzler reduced the deficit to three points, 1-8 to 1-5.

But in the last chapter, the hosts had that extra dash of guile. That was only to be expected.

They were in the All-Ireland final last September. Cork won it, and the Dubs gave them quite a run for it last week in Parnell Park.

So it was a tall order for two successive Sundays for Dublin. They didn't gain any points, but they handsomely topped up their credit.

Days don't get any harder than facing Cork and the Cats.

Nobody was jumping over the moon on the way home.

But there was contentment nonetheless.

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