Murphy and Blanchfield inspire Kilkenny minors past Dublin
An impressive second-half display ensured Kilkenny comfortably overcame a lethargic Dublin by 2-19 to 2-10 in their Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Hurling Championship final at a showery Croke Park yesterday afternoon.
The Dubs may have enjoyed an emphatic win over Kilkenny earlier in the provincial campaign but a repeat never looked likely as Kilkenny dominated affairs for the bulk of the one-sided encounter.
Dublin enjoyed the upper hand in the initial stages but they struggled in front of goal, with their only reward for some early pressure being a sixth-minute free converted by Seán Grey.
It proved Dublin's solitary score in the opening 20 minutes as Kilkenny assumed complete control of affairs after taking the lead through successive points from the impressive Alan Murphy and Ronan Corcoran.
Dublin experienced a body blow in the 10th minute as Liam Blanchfield raced clear from Shane Barrett before rolling a precise finish below the out-rushing Jonathan Treacy.
Points were added through Murphy and Ross Butler, before Grey finally ended a barren sequence of 15 minutes when slotting over another free in the 21st minute.
A goal from Seán Ryan offered Dublin some brief hope in the 25th minute but Kilkenny regained their authority.
They replied immediately through points by Murphy and Blanchfield to help ensure a deserved 1-9 to 1-5 interval lead for the holders.
Matters deteriorated for Dublin in the second-half having had both captain Shane Barrett and Paul O'Dea replaced through injury.
Sizeable gaps appeared in their defence and Kilkenny took full advantage with Murphy capitalising on increasing ill-discipline within the Dubs' defence.
Any hopes of a comeback were extinguished in the 43rd minute when Blanchfield once again escaped the attentions of the Dublin rearguard to hammer an unerring finish beyond Treacy.
Dublin boss Pat Fanning introduced a number of substitutes at this stage, and Emmet Ó Conghaile tagged on a brace of points before firing home a consolation goal in injury time.
The Dubs will now look to regroup ahead of an All-Ireland quarter-final in three weeks time.
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).
REF: Paud O'Dwyer (Carlow).