Kilkenny over Leinster

by Stephen Findlater
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FOR a second game running, Castleknock man Ciaran Kilkenny produced a man of the match performance as the Dublin senior footballers overcame Meath 2-15 to 0-14 last Sunday in Croke Park in the Leinster decider.

Kilkenny landed a series of points in the second period while inspiring a more cohesive performance after Meath had led by two points at the half-time break.

Those improvements ultimately saw Paul Mannion sweep home a 60th minute goal that finally shook off the attentions of the Royal County but it was Kilkenny who earned another award for his individual role in the win.

Speaking afterwards, he said that when you get to perform on such a stage, why would you want to be anywhere else, a reference to his brief sojourn to the AFL which he cut short due to a desire to line out for the Dubs.

“Sure, when you have this kind of weather, who would want to go to Australia? Playing in front of 60,000; Dublin-Meath; what’s better than that?

“I’m just privileged to line out for my county with talented lads and hopefully we can push on [in the All-Ireland championship].

“It was a typical Dublin-Meath battle out there, hard-fought to the very end. They put it up to us but we just pulled away toward the end and we’re delighted with the win.

“We just stuck to our system and our game plan and were patient and took our scores.”

Manager Jim Gavin, meanwhile, added that it was an important test, one which he says will serve as a warning to his players to keep their standards high.

It was Dublin’s eighth Leinster win in nine years and was Gavin’s second title since taking over from Pat Gilroy, adding to the National League win in the spring.

Speaking afterwards, though, Gavin said there is still plenty of work to do if an All-Ireland title is in the pipeline.

“We keep winning, that’s what it’s about. Once we keep winning and try and link in a consistency of performance that we have been searching for, and we haven’t got it yet. So the players themselves know there are lots of areas for them to improve on on the training field over the next couple of weeks.”

“I was satisfied with the result. We always knew it was going to be very difficult. I think both halves showed that. In the last quarter we pulled away, but right up until the end it was in the mix.”

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