Allianz HL D1: Kilkenny finish strongly against Dublin
Allianz National Hurling League, Division 1, Group B
KILKENNY 1-20 DUBLIN 0-18
By Paul Keane at Parnell Park
A storming final quarter from Kilkenny left Dublin with that sinking feeling all over again as the Leinster champions opened their Allianz League campaign with an impressive win at Parnell Park.
Around six months after pipping Dublin in a thrilling provincial semi-final tie at nearby Croke Park, Kilkenny once again came out the right side of a tight tussle with Martin Keoghan their key figure.
The sides were tied at 0-16 apiece at the second water break with Dublin putting themselves in a strong position following four points in a row.
All of their momentum appeared to be sapped by the stoppage, however, and Kilkenny responded with 1-4 to Dublin's 0-2 in the remaining minutes, the goal coming from Keoghan in the 61st minute.
Keoghan finished with 1-4 in total while there was a 0-7 haul from talisman TJ Reid and a couple of excellent scores from the ever reliable Padraig Walsh.
It was Adrian Mullen's first action for Kilkenny in 15 months following cruciate knee ligament damage against Clare in early 2020.
The new team captain showed plenty of energy, setting up Keoghan for one neat score before being replaced by James Maher at half-time.
Mullen's Shamrocks' clubmate Darragh Corcoran made his debut and needed just 10 minutes to split the posts with a long range score.
In all, Kilkenny went with 10 of the team that lined out against Waterford in last winter's All-Ireland semi-final defeat.
They lost Richie Leahy to what appeared to be an early hamstring injury.
Dublin persisted with ex-captain Chris Crummey, best known as a half-back, at centre-forward and he figured prominently throughout, scoring 0-2.
Liam Rushe manned the number six position and was a steadying influence for Dublin though saw red late on following a second booking.
Cats goalkeeper Eoin Murphy alternated between short and long puck-outs in the first-half though Dublin stopper Sean Brennan went long to a towering half-forward line containing Crummey and a lively Danny Sutcliffe.
Kilkenny were caught out two minutes before half-time when Ciaran Wallace was pulled for over-carrying after another short puck-out, Donal Burke converting the free.
That was Burke's fourth point of an evenly contested half and left Dublin 0-9 to 0-8 ahead having been tied on five occasions.
They were tied again at 0-9 apiece when Cillian Buckley levelled with a long range score for Kilkenny before points from Walsh and James Bergin, his second.
That rapid fire three-in-a-row of scores left Kilkenny 0-11 to 0-9 ahead at half-time in a game buffeted by a stiff crossfield breeze.
In truth, it wasn't a classic encounter with 17 first-half wides between the teams - 27 over the 70 or so minutes - and it remained a tight, tense affair throughout the third quarter.
Kilkenny moved four points clear at one stage but Dublin scores from Burke, Sutcliffe and Cian Boland levelled it up at the second water break.
It looked like an intriguing finale was in store but Kilkenny responded as Kilkenny typically do, upping the intensity to a level that Dublin couldn't live with and Keoghan's goal was decisive.
Scorers for Kilkenny: Martin Keoghan 1-4, TJ Reid 0-7 (0-6f, 0-1 65), James Bergin 0-2, Padraig Walsh 0-2, John Donnelly 0-2, Darragh Corcoran 0-1, Cillian Buckley 0-1, Alan Murphy 0-1.
Scorers for Dublin: Donal Burke 0-7 (0-5f, 0-1 65), Chris Crummey 0-2, David Treacy 0-2 (0-1f), Danny Sutcliffe 0-2, Eamonn Dillon 0-1, Daire Gray 0-1, David Keogh 0-1, Cian Boland 0-1, Andrew Dunphy 0-1.
KILKENNY: Eoin Murphy; Ciaran Wallace, Huw Lawlor, Paddy Deegan; Darragh Corcoran, Padraig Walsh, Conor Browne; Cillian Buckley, Richie Leahy; John Donnelly, Adrian Mullen, Martin Keoghan; James Bergin, TJ Reid, Eoin Cody.
Subs: Richie Reid for Leahy 11, James Maher for Mullen h/t, Michael Carey for Buckley 56, Alan Murphy for Bergin 60.
DUBLIN: Sean Brennan; Andrew Dunphy, Eoghan O'Donnell, Paddy Smyth; Sean Moran, Liam Rushe, Daire Gray; Conor Burke, James Madden; Danny Sutcliffe, Chris Crummey, Ronan Hayes; Donal Burke, Eamonn Dillon, David Keogh.
Subs: Rian McBride for Moran 42, Cian Boland for Keogh 45, Cian O'Sullivan for D Burke 61, Jake Malone for C Burke 64, David Treacy for Hayes 71, Paul O'Dea for Madden 71, Oisin O'Rorke for Dillon 73.
Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow).