Reid’s late act of defiance denies Dublin a great chance of a prized Kilkenny scalp
Ballyhale man’s last-gasp point secures All-Ireland champions a replay next Saturday
The final scoreboard at O’Moore Park. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho
The All-Ireland champions could not possibly be this poor again. That’s the killer reality for Anthony Daly’s Dublin this morning, along with the knowledge that in five days time they must face Kilkenny again.
They’ll need to be significantly better to survive next Saturday night’s backlash.
Kilkenny’s hero? Having fully recovered from a shattered kneecap just nine months ago, TJ Reid came in at half-time yesterday, scooted around midfield before drifting inside as matters got desperate to salvage a draw with the game’s last act.
Dublin seemed to have won it with Joey Boland’s free in the 69th minute only for Eoin Larkin to shake off the yips and draw level. But when Lester Ryan fouled the ball, Boland chinned the now perennial Leinster champions with his ninth point as the three minutes of injury time ticked away.
Kilkenny, glassy-eyed, were operating from memory muscle alone, but that was enough for the sliotar to be torpedoed the length of the field.
It broke. Reid gathered.
The Ballyhale Shamrocks man did the most natural thing in his world and, as Brian Cody conceded afterwards, Kilkenny “escaped” this midlands brawl with their reputation intact. Just.
Dublin were ready for anything. When their reliable free taker Paul Ryan was hauled ashore after just 18 minutes, Boland stepped up with an unerring 0-5, including four frees, as Dublin held parity, 0-8 apiece, at the interval.
Tight Kilkenny marking out the field contributed, but Dublin’s shooting also lacked composure in that opening 35 minutes with eight scores from at least 18 attempts.
Kilkenny normally punish that with a double digit difference on the scoreboard.
But they were strangely subdued. Only the massive and clearly conditioned frame of Walter Walsh was making hay. He clocked out with 1-4. Richie Hogan was the only other Kilkenny forward to score from play. But even DJ Carey’s cousin failed to raise a white flag in the second half. Richie Power was pulled off.
The Dublin management will look at the DVD and know this was a glorious chance.
They must figure a way of marking Walsh next Saturday. This powerful 22-year-old, who shone so brightly in last September’s replay against Galway, swatted Niall Corcoran aside, no easy task, like a rag doll for one of three early points.
When his scores were added to by Hogan and Larkin 10 minutes before half-time the expected striding away seemed inevitable. Dublin clung on. David ‘Dotsy’ O’Callaghan arrived off the bench like an annoying wasp to assist Boland’s accuracy from placed balls (all four Daly substitutions paid off).
What looked a bad ankle injury to Kilkenny corner back Paul Murphy took the fizz out of the opening stanza. A makeshift stretcher took the wounded soldier from the battlefield. Four -time All Star Jackie Tyrrell will fill that gap this weekend.
Larkin was oddly off-kilter, miscuing two frees well within his range, to keep it even.
A healthy Dublin following began to dream when Paul Schutte and Boland clipped over points immediately after the break. But cometh the hour – cometh the man for Kilkenny.
Yesterday it was Walter Walsh. His goal in the 43rd minute should have broken Dublin backs. The Codyites who slipped across the border unnoticed let out an almighty roar.
The goal and Reid’s arrival for the subdued Michael Rice looked ominous for Dublin.
But Daly’s charges were determined to deliver 70 minutes of championship intensity.
Their leader, Johnny McCaffrey, landed an important point. Shane Durkin came in and grabbed another.
We entered the final quarter all square, 1-10 to 0-13, when Boland added his second from play in an outstanding showing.
The game hit a lull with seven scoreless minutes after Walsh gave the champions a two-point lead. It felt like everyone’s subconscious was kicking in; Dublin had gained respectability, Kilkenny a hard-fought victory. That’s until Mark Schutte made it a one-point game and as they came around the final bend jostling for position, the mind drifted back to Wexford’s smash and grab at Croke Park in 2004
Then Conal Keaney, anonymous as a scoring forward up to that moment, but bustling about all the same, levelled it all up with six minutes to play.
It was manic now and when Tipperary referee Johnny Ryan deemed Ryan had overcarried it seemed Boland was poised to be the man that ensured Dublin beat Kilkenny for the first time in championship since 1942.
But Reid intervened to deny Dublin a momentous win.
KILKENNY: 1 E Murphy; 2 P Murphy, 3 JJ Delaney, 4 C Fogarty; 5 T Walsh, 6 B Hogan, 7 K Joyce; 8 L Ryan, 9 M Rice; 18 C Buckley, 11 R Power, 12 E Larkin (0-7, all frees); 13 W Walsh (1-4), 14 R Hogan (0-2), 10 C Fennelly (capt). Subs P Hogan for P Murphy (33 mins, inj), TJ Reid (0-1) for M Rice (half-time), M Ruth for R Power (62 mins).
DUBLIN: 1 G Maguire; 4 P Schutte (0-1), 3 P Kelly, 2 N Corcoran; 5 S Hiney, 6 L Rushe, 7 M Carton; 8 J McCaffrey (capt, 0-1), 9 J Boland (0-9, seven frees); 10 C Keaney (0-1), 11 R O’Dwyer, 12 D Sutcliffe (0-1); 15 P Ryan (0-1, free), 13 C McCormack, 14 D Treacy. Subs: 23 D O’Callaghan (0-1) for P Ryan (18 mins), 25 M Schutte (0-1) for C McCormack (half-time), 18 S Durkin (0-1) for D Sutcliffe (45 mins), E Dillon for S Hiney (62 mins).
Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary).