Adrian Mullen leads Kilkenny to minor title at Croke Park
Ballyhale Shamrocks full forward notched up 1-9 in their impressive win over Dublin
Kilkenny celebrate after beating Dublin to win the Leinster GAA Hurling Minor Championship. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Kilkenny 3-15 Dublin 1-17
A 1-9 haul from Adrian Mullen – bringing the captain’s provincial takings to a remarkable 3-38 – helped return Kilkenny to the summit of the Leinster minor hurling championship.
The full-forward from Ballyhale Shamrocks came into the game with 2-29 from Kilkenny’s big wins over Westmeath, Wexford and Laois and netted just seconds into this contest.
That was the worst possible start for holders Dublin who fought back to level terms twice in the opening half but never led.
And six second half points from Mullen eased Pat O’Grady’s side through to the All-Ireland semi-finals.
Forward colleague Sean Ryan was excellent for Kilkenny too and netted twice to propel them to a 57th title and a first since 2015.
Dublin have a second chance in the All-Ireland quarter-finals and will take heart from their late 1-3 blast which trimmed the margin to just four points.
Kilkenny couldn’t have made a better start with a remarkable two goals in the game’s first two plays.
Mullen slammed in the first after just 23 seconds when he followed up on on his own blocked shot after a run down the right.
Dublin goalkeeper Conor O’Donoghue was injured trying to save it and required three minutes of treatment.
The action had only restarted a matter of seconds when Sean Ryan got free along the left endline and fired in a high shot to the roof of Dublin’s net.
Fintan Clandillon’s Dubs showed character to fight back to level terms by the 18th minute but Mullen increased his takings to 1-3 for the half as Kilkenny opened up a 2-7 to 0-10 half-time lead.
Kilkenny, with the sons of county legends DJ Carey and Adrian Ronan in their full-back line, opened up with some classy hurling in the third quarter.
Ryan grabbed their third goal when he he spun away from Tommy Kinnane and fired to the net while Mullane continued to drill frees over.
KILKENNY: D Mason; T Ronan, M Carey, D Walsh; J Brennan, C Flynn, J Molloy; E O’Shea (0-1), N Brassil (0-1); J Roberts, C Heary (0-1), J Ryan (0-1); D Barron, A Mullen (1-9, 0-4f, 1 65), S Ryan (2-2).
Subs: N Brennan for Roberts (23), E Cody for Heary (50), J Dowd for O’Shea (59).
DUBLIN: C O’Donoghue; T Kinnane, B McHugh, A Dunphy; E O’Neill, L Walsh, L Gannon; D Keogh (0-5. 2f), M Murphy; M Grogan, B Coffey, D O Floinn (0-1); L Murphy (0-3), K Desmond, S Currie (0-8, 6f, 1 65).
Subs: L McDwyer for M Murphy (h/t), E O’Donnell (1-0) for Grogan (40), J Byrne for Desmond (50), K Burke for O’Neill (54), Tom Aherne for Gannon (60).
Referee: A Devine (Westmeath).