Kilkenny reach quarter-finals after seeing off brave 14-man Dublin
Brian Cody’s side continue recovery after league campaign began with two defeats
Dublin’s Chris Crummy is surrounded by Kilkenny’s TJ Reid, Richie Hogan and Conor Martin. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Kilkenny 2-20 Dublin 1-16
Kilkenny, who opened the campaign with two defeats, slipped through to the National Hurling League quarter-finals after a real battle against Dublin in Parnell Park.
Defeat has left Dublin facing a do-or-die clash against Clare and relegation from Division IA following a heroic 14-man effort against the Cats.
Kilkenny had an extra man for over 40 minutes after Dublin goalie Gary Maguire was dismissed in the 30th minute, but down a man or not, the Dubs refused to give in until tiredness took the fight from their legs in the dying stages.
“The players gave it everything, and I am very proud of them,” said Dublin manager, Ger Cunningham. “We will have the Cuala players back this week and we will take on the Clare challenge with reasonable confidence.
“That was a real battle, but the players took on the challenge superbly,” he added, while also saying he felt Maguire was in trouble the moment he put in the tackle that had him sent off.
“We have come along way since we went down badly against Clare in our second game,” insisted Kilkenny manager, Brian Cody. “I said after that bad defeat we wanted to make the quarter-finals, so it is job done, although we were made fight all the way for this win.”
Kilkenny wore down tiring opponents during the closing 17 minutes when they won the scoring exchanges 0-7 to 0-2. Their top scorer T.J. Reid - who registered 10 points - did a lot of the late damage, as did lively newcomer Conor Martin, who finished with 1-5 from play, and Walter Walsh.
Dublin looked in a bit of bother at half-time when 2-5 to 0-10 behind after playing with the wind and having goalie, Gary Maguire, sent off. The ‘keeper saw red following a wild pull across Liam Blanchfield as the latter scored the second Kilkenny goal.
That goal brought Kilkenny level at 2-3 to 0-9. An exchange of points between T.J. Reid and Donal Burke (65) followed before Reid pointed from a free in the 35th minute which separated the teams at the rest.
Earlier the scores had been level twice, at 1-2 to 0-5 and then 1-3 to 0-6, before the Dubs gained the upper-hand. They hit three points without reply by Burke (two) and Chris Crummey, his second of the half, to charge 0-9 to 1-3 clear.
Kilkenny worked a lovely move with three players exchanging hand-passes before Blanchfield goaled and Maguire was red carded in the same incident.
The Cats burst into life in the second half with early points from Liam Blanchfield and Colin Fennelly (2-7 to 0-10), but when Dublin bounced back for a goal from Donal Burke after a vicious drive from Ryan O’Dwyer was first blocked out, it set up a rousing battle.
By the end of the third quarter Kilkenny looked to be getting on top when Reid, Martin and Liam Blanchfield put a trio of points together to edge them 2-12 to 1-12 clear.
Dublin hit back for a pair of neat points from star man Chris Crummey and Ben Quinn to keep their hopes very much alive (2-12 to 1-14), but from there to the finish the Cats had much the better of the scoring exchanges.
Kilkenny: E. Murphy; P. Murphy, P. Walsh, C. O’Shea; C. Fogarty, J. Cleere, S. Prendergast; P. Deegan, C. Buckley; C. Fennelly, W. Walsh, T.J. Reid; L. Blanchfield, R. Hogan, C. Martin. Subs: J. Holden for P. Walsh ht; P. Lyng for R. Hogan 51st min; K. Joyce for C. O’Shea (inj) 61st min. Scorers: T.J. Reid (0-10, five frees, one 65); C. Martin (1-5); L. Blanchfield (1-2); C. Fennelly, W. Walsh, R. Hogan (0-1 each).
Dublin: G. Maguire; F. O Riain Broin, E. O’Donnell, S. Barrett; C. Crummey, L. Rushe, C. MacGabhann; D. Fox, B. Quinn; E. Conroy, N. McMorrow, R. O’Dwyer; E. Dillon, D. Burke, C. Boland. Subs: C. Dooley for Conroy 30th min; F. Mac Gibb for Fox ht; R. McBride for Mac Gabhann 51st min; C. O’Sullivan for C. Boland 57th min; F. Whitely for B. Quinn 61st min. Dublin: D. Burke (1-9, five frees, two 65s); C. Crummey (0-3); B. Quinn, R. O’Dwyer, C. Boland, N. McMorrow (0-1 each).
Referee: P. O’Dwyer (Carlow).