Walter Walsh, Kilkenny, and James Madden, Dublin, in Leinster SHC action.
Walter Walsh, Kilkenny, and James Madden, Dublin, in Leinster SHC action.

Leinster SHC: Kilkenny cruise to victory

Leinster Senior Hurling Championship

Kilkenny 3-25 Dublin 0-17

By Paul Keane at Parnell Park

Martin Keoghan's two goals broke the back of Dublin's challenge at Parnell Park and allowed Kilkenny to canter to a big Leinster SHC win, placing them on the brink of a return to the final.

Keoghan was on the mark with 28th and 47th minute goals, the second of which appeared to shatter Dublin's confidence, and the excellent TJ Reid added a third goal in the 55th minute.

Reid went on to top score with 1-7 for a Kilkenny side that completely took over late on and reeled off the last nine points of the game.

Keoghan struck 2-1 in total while Adrian Mullen was terrific at midfield, picking off five points, and there was a strong performance too in attack from Cian Kenny who hit 0-4.

The result leaves Kilkenny knowing that a win over Wexford at Nowlan Park next Saturday will guarantee them a place in the Leinster final.

All is not lost for Dublin as they can still reach the final too but must beat Galway at Pearse Stadium next weekend.

Mullen pointed for Kilkenny in the opening seconds of the game and with four scores registered - two points for each team - in the first two minutes alone, it looked like a thriller could be on the cards in front of 8,750.

Brian Cody shifted around his Kilkenny personnel before throw-in with four late changes to the published team; Richie Reid replacing Conor Browne in defence, Alan Murphy coming in for Cillian Buckley in midfield, where he partnered Mullen, along with starts in attack for Kenny and Keoghan in place of James Maher and Billy Ryan.

Keoghan and Kenny joined Eoin Cody in a new look Kilkenny full-forward line that caused James Madden, Eoghan O'Donnell and Cian O'Callaghan plenty of bother in the Dublin full-back line.

Kenny sniped three of Kilkenny's first four points and with the Cats reeling off four scores in a row between the 13th and 20th minutes, they put daylight between the teams for the first time with a 0-7 to 0-5 advantage.

After wins over Laois, Wexford and Westmeath, it was Dublin's biggest challenge of the campaign so far and they rose to it initially, fighting back and drawing level at 0-7 apiece thanks to scores from Chris Crummey and Donal Burke.

The sides were level six times in total in a frantic first-half before Keoghan struck his 28th minute goal, a strike that separated the sides at the break when visiting Kilkenny led 1-11 to 0-11.

It was a quality three-pointer from Keoghan who showed his class with a neat chop-flick up to gain possession on the right of goals before releasing a low shot that beat Dublin goalkeeper Sean Brennan.

Rian McBride and Donal Burke responded with Dublin scores but Kilkenny carried most momentum into the interval as they closed out the half with points from Alan Murphy and Keoghan.

Kilkenny were good value for the three-point lead as Walter Walsh had a decent goal chance too that struck the side-netting in the 16th minute.

Mark Schutte came on for Dublin, just his third appearance of the year following injury, and pulled back a point after the restart.

But Keoghan's second goal was crucial and opened up a six-point lead, shattering Dublin's confidence.

From there on, it was all Kilkenny and they finished with nine different scorers as Reid - who struck an excellent 55th minute goal after shaking off the attentions of Donnacha Ryan - came thundering into the game with late scores too from Cody, Mullen, John Donnelly and sub Buckley.

Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 1-7 (0-5f), Martin Keoghan 2-1, Adrian Mullen 0-5, Cian Kenny 0-4, Alan Murphy 0-3, Eoin Cody 0-2, Billy Ryan 0-1, John Donnelly 0-1, Cillian Buckley 0-1.

Scorers for Dublin: Donal Burke 0-9 (0-7f), Conor Burke 0-2, Eamonn Dillon 0-1, Fergal Whitely 0-1, Chris Crummey 0-1, Daire Gray 0-1, Rian McBride 0-1, Mark Schutte 0-1.

Kilkenny: Eoin Murphy; Mikey Butler, Conor Delaney, Tommy Walsh; Mikey Carey, Richie Reid, Paddy Deegan; Adrian Mullen, Alan Murphy; Walter Walsh, TJ Reid, Padraig Walsh; Cian Kenny, Martin Keoghan, Eoin Cody.

Subs: John Donnelly for Walter Walsh h/t, Billy Ryan for P Walsh 48, Conor Fogarty for Murphy 59, Cillian Buckley for Mullen 65, David Blanchfield for Butler 68.

Dublin: Sean Brennan; James Madden, Eoghan O'Donnell, Cian O'Callaghan; Donnacha Ryan, Paddy Smyth, Daire Gray; Conor Burke, Chris Crummey; Donal Burke, Rian McBride, Danny Sutcliffe; Fergal Whitely, Ronan Hayes, Aidan Mellett.

Subs: Mark Schutte for Mellett 33, Eamonn Dillon for Hayes 55, Andrew Dunphy for Gray 59, John Bellew for O'Donnell 63, Davy Keogh for McBride 65.

Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford).