Inter-Provincial Hurling: Leinster defeat Connacht
Inter-Provincial Hurling Semi-Final
Leinster 1-14 Connacht 1-12
By Jackie Cahill at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh
Lee Chin was brilliant as Leinster edged past Connacht by two points in this afternoon’s GAA Inter-Provincial hurling semi-final at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh.
Kilkenny star Fennelly was dismissed for a straight red card midway through the second half following an off-the-ball incident with Paul Killeen.
But a haul of 1-4 from Chin and some big plays in the second half when the chips were down helped Leinster, managed by Dublin’s Ciarán Hetherton, into a final clash with Munster or Ulster.
There were worrying scenes at the end when Ryan O’Dwyer was helped from the field following a collision with Matthew Keating, but after 10 minutes of stoppage time, Leinster held out.
Chin was on fire, collecting 1-4 from play for Leinster, who impressed early on.
And the fare in the first half rarely rose above the mundane, with Leinster 1-7 to 1-2 ahead at half-time in what was a repeat of the 2014 decider.
Indeed, there were more wides than scores before the break, Leinster registering nine to Connacht’s seven. When the dust settled, the sides had racked up as many wides as scores between them – 28.
There were some decent goal chances at both ends that either flashed wide or ended up in the side-netting, but two green flags were raised in the first half.
The first of them was the opening score of the game – Chin taking a pass from Kilkenny’s Colin Fennelly before crashing a fine shot past James Skehill in the fifth minute.
Leinster were five points clear – 1-2 to 0-0 – before a Connacht team comprised of all Galway players opened its account in the 13th minute, Conor Cooney on target with a free.
Five minutes later, Joseph Cooney poked home a goal for Connacht to keep them in contention, but Leinster hit four of the next five points approaching half-time to open up a significant interval lead.
Connacht battled back to level and looked good for victory when Leinster went down to 14 men.
But with Chin excellent, Leinster pushed on for the win as subs Ryan O’Dwyer, Gerry Keegan and Martin Kavanagh, with the final point of the game at the death, made contributions to the scoreboard.
Scorers for Leinster: L Chin 1-4, S Dooley 0-3 (3fs), C Crummey, S Ryan, W Walsh, C Fennelly, M Kavanagh, G Keegan and R O’Dwyer 0-1 each.
Scorers for Connacht: J Cooney 1-0, C Cooney (3fs) and N Burke (1f) 0-3 each, C Mannion, J Flynn (sl), D Burke, A Harte, J Skehill (f) and P Flaherty 0-1 each.
Connacht (Galway unless stated): J Skehill; M Donohue, P Killeen, J Hanbury; G McInerney, P Mannion, M Conneely; J Coen, D Burke; S Maloney, J Cooney, C Cooney; B Molloy, C Mannion, J Flynn.
Subs: N Burke for Molloy (39), D Glennon for Flynn (39), A Harte for Coen (40), C Freeman (Mayo) for C Cooney (44), P Brehony for Donohue (47), P Flaherty for Killeen (50), M Keating for D Burke (55), J Kilkenny (Roscommon) for McInerney (57), C Dolan (Roscommon) for Maloney (57), S McInerney for Keating (60).
Leinster: J Dempsey (Offaly); M Whelan (Laois), T Doyle (Westmeath), L Ryan (Wexford); P Walsh (Kilkenny), K Joyce (Kilkenny), C Crummey (Dublin); C Fogarty (Kilkenny), S Ryan (Offaly); W Walsh (Kilkenny), L Chin (Wexford), C Dwyer (Laois); S Dooley (Offaly), E Dillon (Dublin), C Fennelly (Kilkenny).
Subs: R O’Dwyer (Dublin) for Dillon (h.t.), G Keegan (Kildare) for Dwyer (38), M Kavanagh (Carlow) for Dooley (38), D Murphy (Carlow) for O’Dwyer (60).
Referee: C Lyons (Cork).