Kelly fires Kilkenny minors to victory
A LATE scoring blitz helped defending champions Kilkenny to see off the stubborn challenge of Dublin in the opening round of the Leinster Minor Hurling Championship at Parnell Park (3-23 to 4-12).
After the hosts broke the deadlock with a pointed free by Liam Dunne, the towering Swan fired past Jason Brennan for the opening goal of the action. However, following a clinical three-pointer from Cathal O’Leary, Kilkenny moved ahead for the very first time on 16 minutes.
Swan responded with another major for the hosts, before George Murphy bagged a second goal for the Cats at the end of a subsequent move. Facing into a 2-7 to 2-10 interval deficit, three frees courtesy of Kilkenny skipper Conor Kelly saw Dublin falling further behind on the resumption.
Yet, after the hosts received a lifeline in the form of a Dunne goal, Swan completed his hat-trick to wipe out Kilkenny’s lead in the 55th-minute.
A majestic Ciaran Brennan three-pointer moved the Cats back into the ascendancy, though, and the outstanding Kelly then hit five points without reply to ease them over the line.
Mike Connolly’s Sky Blues will now look to bounce back when they face Laois in O’Moore Park next Saturday afternoon.
SCORERS – Kilkenny: C Kelly 0-14 (12f), C Brennan 1-3 (0-1f), G Murphy 1-2, C O’Leary 1-1, J Morrissey 0-2, C Kenny 0-1. Dublin: L Swan 3-1, L Dunne 1-7 (0-5f, 0-1 ’65’), D Purcell 0-2, A O’Neill, P Christie 0-1 each.
KILKENNY: J Brennan; P Dempsey, J Young, J Harkin; S Staunton, P Moylan, H Walsh; C Kenny, C Kelly; D Maher, C Brennan, J Morrissey; C O’Leary, G Murphy, K Hogan. Sub: E Guilfoyle for Hogan (46).
DUBLIN: J Lambert; K Byrne, C Hogan, T Cullen; E Carney, A O’Neill, I O hEithir; D Leavy, D Power; D McLoughney, P Christie, C Foley; L Dunne, L Swan, D Purcell. Subs: F Murphy for Cullen (h-t), C Murray for McLoughney (36), A O’Toole for Foley (44), S Fenton for Purcell (57).
REF: B Redmond (Wexford).