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Jonjo Farrell

Jonjo Farrell

Leinster SHC: Kilkenny too good for Dublin

Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Final

Kilkenny 1-25 Dublin 0-16

Kilkenny’s bid for three Leinster championship crowns in a row remains on track, after a debut to remember for Jonjo Farrell at O’Moore Park eased Brian Cody’s side past Dublin and into the provincial final.

Farrell marked his championship bow with a haul of 1-5 as a devastating 14-minute spell after half-time saw a ruthless Kilkenny power to victory over Ger Cunningham’s side. Dublin’s inability to secure possession from their own puck-outs meant Kilkenny hit an unanswered 1-8 at the start of the second-half and they’ll now face either Galway or Offaly in the final on July 3 in Croke Park.

Playing with the aid of the stiff breeze in the opening half Dublin would have hoped to go in at half-time with a significant cushion against the reigning All-Ireland and Leinster champions, but instead they had to be satisfied to trail Cody’s troops by 0-12 to 0-11.

Before the throw in both sides suffered injury setbacks, with failed fitness tests for Kilkenny corner-back Jackie Tyrrell and Dublin corner-forward Mark Schutte. And for the opening 12 minutes it proved to be the battle of the free-takers as three points from David Treacy just kept Dublin in touch with with five TJ Reid efforts.

Reid started in the full-forward line for Kilkenny and was picked up by youngster Eoghan O’Donnell initially, and to the credit of the Dublin backs, it wasn’t until Farrell’s 13th minute point that a Kilkenny forward scored from play. Michael Fennelly, wearing number 11, had scored three minutes earlier for the Cats, but he was employed at midfield, where he had an influential evening.

Dublin would have been dismayed with the return they got from their forwards throughout the 70 minutes. The Kilkenny half-back line was the dominant trio on the pitch, while debutant Rob Lennon, who came in for Tyrrell, grew into the game after a tricky start, and they held Dublin to six points from play.

After that opening salvo Kilkenny held a 0-7 to 0-3 lead, but at that point it was noticeable that Dublin ramped up their intensity, with Chris Crummey and Liam Rushe particularly influential. And that extra physical edge led to three scores in a row from Dublin, as David O’Callaghan and Treacy saw them close to within a point of the champions after 16 minutes.

But in the face of a challenge Kilkenny lifted their efforts too, and in a spell of real dominance they hit three of the next four points, although they also needed a fine save from Eoin Murphy at the other end to deny David O’Callaghan after 22 minutes.

A 65 from Reid and a great score from Padraig Walsh saw Kilkenny into a four-point lead with half-time approaching, but there was a big retort from Dublin as Daire Plunkett and Eamonn Dillon pointed from play, before Treacy hit their third score in added-time to cut the lead to a point at the break.

But after such a positive opening half, Dublin’s challenge fell to pieces after the break. Between the 37th and 45th minutes Kilkenny hit seven points to take a commanding lead. And when Paul Murphy picked off another Dublin restart and sent a long ball into Farrell, the first-timer powered past Oisin Gough and found the bottom corner with a blistering shot.

With the win wrapped up Cody handed debuts to Liam Blanchfield, Kevin Kelly and his son Diarmuid Cody, and to their credit Dublin continued to rack up the scores with Treacy immaculate from placed balls. But they were too far in arrears and Kilkenny eased to an impressive victory in their first outing of the summer.

Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 0-10 (7f, 1’65), J Farrell 1-5, C Buckley, W Walsh, M Fennelly 0-2, P Walsh, C Fogarty, L Ryan, C Fennelly 0-1.

Scorers for Dublin: D Treacy 0-11 (10f), D O’Callaghan 0-2, E Dillon, D Plunkett, P Ryan 0-1.

Kilkenny: E Murphy; P Murphy, J Holden, R Lennon; P Walsh, K Joyce, C Buckley; C Fogarty, M Fennelly; W Walsh, C Fennelly, L Ryan; J Farrell, E Larkin, TJ Reid.

Subs: L Blanchfield for Larkin (51), K Kelly for Ryan (61), D Cody for M Fennelly (65).

Dublin: C Dooley; E O’Donnell, C O’Callaghan, O Gough; S Barrett, L Rushe, C Crummey; D O’Connell, J McCaffrey; D Plunkett, N McMorrow, R O’Dwyer; D Treacy, D O’Callaghan, E Dillon.

Subs: P Ryan for O’Dwyer (h-t), O O’Rourke for McMorrow (47), N Corcoran for Gough (49), S Treacy for Barrett (58), C Bennett for D O’Callaghan (70).

Referee: Brian Gavin (Offaly).


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