Slick Cats down dogged Dubs in hurling league opener
It took Kilkenny a while to shake off a determined Dublin challenge at UPMC Nowlan Park this afternoon, but once they did they eased away to a decisive 12-point victory.
All week-long Kilkenny’s management team were talking up this Dubs in a game that had a real feel of a Leinster Championship match about it.
And in this Division 1B National League campaign there will be another couple of days with a sense of summer to come for the Cats.
Dublin didn’t disappoint in the opening stages, thundering into challenges and giving the few fresh faces in the Cats line-up a welcome to inter-county hurling.
Dublin won the first 10 minutes and made the home team very uncomfortable, that was until Liam Aylward rattled the net on 11 minutes which seem to flick a switch in the Kilkenny play.
Kilkenny played with more composure and matched Dublin score for score until Billy Ryan netted for Kilkenny on 25 minutes, the Cats six-points up, 2-6 to 0-6.
This Dublin team have a bit about them and cutting a seven-point lead back to five, before conceding the last score of the half, 2-10 to 10 points to Kilkenny going down the tunnel.
The second half just didn’t seem to start with the same fervor of the first, Dublin did cut down Kilkenny’s space to make scores harder to come by, but they just could not manufacture enough for themselves.
Up until the 50th minute the Dubs never got the difference below five points, the burst they needed never materialised, Kilkenny keeping them at arm’s length without ever managing to find an extra gear themselves, well not until the last ten 15 minutes at least.
Points by Walter Walsh, the impressive Michael Carey and two for Paddy Deegan put the Cats in the driving seat, nine in front with just over ten left on the clock.
Brian Cody then sent on Billy Sheehan for Billy Ryan and it paid immediate dividends, rattling the net as soon as he got near it, to make it 3-19 to 0-17. Done and dusted.
It ended in a nice win for the Cats 3-21 to 0-18.