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Thursday 15 November 2018

Majestic Dublin edge Cats in a 13-goal thriller

Dublin 6-19 Kilkenny 7-12

CHAMPS: Dublin players celebrate with the cup after the Electric Ireland Leinster GAA Hurling Minor Championship Final match between Dublin and Kilkenny at O’Moore Park. Pic: Sportsfile
CHAMPS: Dublin players celebrate with the cup after the Electric Ireland Leinster GAA Hurling Minor Championship Final match between Dublin and Kilkenny at O’Moore Park. Pic: Sportsfile

As provincial finals go, this was as memorable and entertaining an afternoon as one could wish to experience as Dublin regained their Leinster Minor Hurling Championship title by overcoming Kilkenny by four points at O'Moore Park on Saturday afternoon.

The record books may refer to Dublin winning their 16th provincial crown but the respect that both teams deserve for producing a breathtaking final that was low on spite and high on quality and one that will certainly live long in the memory of anyone fortunate enough to be in attendance.

There was so much to admire from both teams and there were encouraging signs from the outset that a potential epic was on the cards.

There was barely thirty seconds on the clock as Kilkenny opened the scoring through Eoin Guilfoyle but Dublin replied in kind through fine scores from Ciaran Foley and Conor Murray.

Kilkenny looked to have landed successive body blows on an initially struggling Dublin defence in the 6th minute as Killian Hogan followed up a scruffy first goal from full-forward George Murphy.

DELIGHT: Luke Swan celebrates after scoring Dublin’s sixth goal. Pic: Sportsfile
DELIGHT: Luke Swan celebrates after scoring Dublin’s sixth goal. Pic: Sportsfile

What followed was remarkable in many respects as Dublin stalled Kilkenny's momentum with a superb run and finish from corner-forward Liam Dunne in the 8th minute.

Kilkenny looked uncertain at the back and had little answer as Foley gathered possession around sixty yards from goal and his powerful run down the middle helped release Luke Swan for another emphatic finish beyond Jason Brennan.

A third goal duly followed as Murray fed off Swan to perfection and with Brennan offered no protection whatsoever, the dual player crashed home from eight yards.

Donal Leavy, Dunne and Murray added points to edge Dublin three clear as the half progressed but Kilkenny managed to finish the half with their noses in front following a 20th minute goal from Cian Kenny and Cathal O'Leary's kicked effort ten minutes later.

Trailing by 4-8 to 3-10 at the break, the Dubs could not have wished for a more perfect resumption as Swan raced clear for Dublin's fourth goal in the opening minute of the second-half and Dunne added his second goal within sixty seconds, leaving a permanent scar on the Kilkenny challenge.

The holders managed to respond through a cracking goal of their own from Conor Kelly in the 37th minute but any potential momentum that goal could have provided was eradicated as Swan highlighted his aerial ability, strength and poise by turning away from Padraig Dempsey and crack home past Brennan.

From that point, the Dubs completely dominated their flagging opponents, with Darragh Power typifying their energetic performance while Iain Ó hEithir and Finn Murphy coped admirably with sporadic bouts of Kilkenny pressure.

The margin was increased through a trio of Dunne frees and points from Dara Purcell, Swan and Foley with the concession of late goals to Kelly and Jack Buggy of mere nuisance value by the end.

Scorers - Dublin: L Dunne 2-8 (0-6f, 0-1 '65'), L Swan 3-1, C Murray 1-2, D Purcell (1f), C Foley 0-3 each, D Leavy, P Christie 0-1 each. Kilkenny; C Kelly 2-3 (0-3f), C O'Leary 1-2, C Kenny, G Murphy 1-1 each, K Hogan, J Buggy 1-0 each, D Maher, C Brennan 0-2 each, E Guilfoyle 0-1 each.

Dublin: J Lambert; K Byrne, E Carney, F Murphy; C Hogan, I Ó hEithir, A O'Neill; D Leavy, D Power; C Foley, P Christie, C Murray; L Dunne, L Swan, D Purcell. Subs: C Walsh for Hogan (22), S Fenton for Murray (44), A O'Toole for Christie (53).

Kilkenny: J Brennan; J Young, P Dempsey, J Harkin; C Rudkins, S Staunton, H Walsh; D Maher, C Kelly; C O'Leary, C Brennan, C Kenny; E Guilfoyle, G Murphy, K Hogan. Subs: P Moylan for Walsh (half-time), J Buggy for Hogan (42), J Morrissey for Guilfoyle (46), J Doyle for O'Leary (53), D Crehan for Harkin (60).

REF: R Fitzsimons (Offaly)

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