HURLING: Dublin still alive with fate in own hands

by Aaron Dunne
0 comment

Dublin                                                  2-23

Kilkenny                                               1-28

Dublin suffered a hugely disappointing two-point defeat at the hands to Kilkenny in their Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Round 4 encounter at Parnell Park on Saturday evening, but their fate is still in their own hands as they face a do-or-die clash with Galway on Sunday.

The Dubs were well worth at least a shared of the spoils as the contest entered added time but they suffered a massive body blow as Eoin Cody rattled home the game-defining score past Seán Brennan.

This defeat will sting given how well Dublin played for the large part, led superbly by the experience of Danny Sutcliffe and Chris Crummey while Donal Burke finished the game with fourteen points to his name.

In what was a thrilling opening-half, Dublin found themselves four points in arrears approaching the break but a sublime team goal from Conor Burke ensured they trailed by the bare minimum by the interval.

The hosts endured a jittery start as Kilkenny started on the front foot with Martin Keoghan opening the scoring with a fine score from under the terrace in the 2nd minute.

While Danny Sutcliffe levelled matters two minutes later, the Dubs were striving for precision in the early stages as they fell behind to TJ Reid’s free in the 5th minute.

Ronan Hayes of Dublin reacts after his shot on goal went wide during the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 4 match between Dublin and Kilkenny at Parnell Park in Dublin. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Further jitters from their restarts saw Kilkenny race through for a goal chance in the 6th minute but Seán Brennan produced a superb low save to his left to deny Keoghan what seemed a certain goal.

A free by Reid and an Eoin Cody point pushed Kilkenny three points clear with Dublin enjoying an isolated moment of positivity through a Chris Crummey score in the 11th minute while Donal Burke found space well to hint at an improved Dublin
showing.

At the opposite end, John Donnelly added two points in quick succession as Eoin Murphy’s puck-outs were finding their range while Sutcliffe confirmed his general wellbeing with his second point of the half,

The Dubs hit a number of dispiriting wides during this period and were punished at the opposite end by Cody but two cracking points on the bounce by Donal Burke added further momentum to the home challenge.

Dublin crafted a goal chance of their own in the 19th minute as Brian Hayes released his brother Ronan Hayes through on goal but Murphy was on hand to divert the low shot to safety for a converted ‘65’.

Some curious decisions from referee Johnny Murphy ensured that Dublin’s first scoreable free arrived as late as the 26th minute with points by Cian O’Sullivan and Crummey keeping the hosts in contention.

In the 33rd minute, Sean Currie was handed a chance to fire home after an error by Tommy Walsh but Walsh recovered well to hook Currie as the Na Fianna clubman set himself to shoot.

However, a Dublin goal duly arrived on the stroke of half-time as a wonderful team move that featured five handpasses was buried to the net from Conor Burke.

Donnelly and Donal Burke exchanged points in the dying embers of the half to leave Kilkenny with a marginal 0-16 to 1-12 interval advantage.

David Blanchfield and Donal Burke were on the mark in the early stages of the second-half and a second Burke free saw the teams deadlocked for the first time since the opening whistle.

The Dubs continued to impress as Sutcliffe and O’Sullivan nullified two frees by Reid and they spurned a glorious chance to put daylight between the teams in the 44th minute as Ronan Hayes raced through but with the goal at his mercy, he dragged wide of Murphy’s left-hand upright.

That miss looked crucial as Cian Kenny and Blanchfield pushed Kilkenny two points clear but Burke’s prowess from placed balls and an outstanding Crummey point saw Dublin back on level terms by the 54th minute.

Hopes of a famous win were raised even further within a minute as Eoghan O’Donnell got his handpass off just in time for Brian Hayes to gallop through and while the shot lacked genuine ferocity, it proved too much for Murphy in the Kilkenny goal.

Back came the Cats to level matters with three points on the bounce from the hugely influential Donnelly (2) and Cody and the ebb and flow continued until the decisive moment arrived in the 70th minute.

Billy Ryan looked to have taken too many steps as he burst through inside the right but there was no arguing with Cody’s finish from an acute angle as he left Brennan helpless from eight yards.

PHOTOS – SPORTSFILE

Related Articles