Larkin leads Kilkenny to Walsh Cup title

Kilkenny 0-24 Dublin 1-17
Eoin Larkin fired 11 points for Kilkenny, as the Cats captured their 19th Bord na Móna Walsh Cup title at Croke Park tonight.

The Cats fell two points in arrears early on thanks to the efforts of Mark Schutte for Dublin, but once Kilkenny took the lead in the eighth minute following a Joe Brennan score they never relinquished their lead.

Schutte laid a strong start for Dublin, but they came unstuck, as a combination of missed chances, and Kilkenny's dominance at midfield saw the Cats race 0-7 to 0-2 clear at the end of the first quarter.

Scores from Larkin and Brennan handed Kilkenny 0-3 to 0-2 lead after eight minutes, with Dublin lucky not to be further in arrears at this stage.

The first goal chance of this game came in the sixth minute, when John Jo Farrell cut through, but the Thomastown clubman's powerful strike, was denied by an Alan Nolan block.

The Cats also misfired during this spell, with Mark Kelly and Joe Brennan shooting quick wides, but these misses were quickly wiped out.

Kilkenny fired four points in-a-row with Larkin, Brennan, Padraig Walsh and Kelly all on target to ensure a five-point lead.

Paul Ryan and Schutte traded scores, but Dublin outscored Kilkenny by five points to four before the break, with a fifth Larkin point ending the opening half scoring, and ensuring a 0-12 to 0-8 interval lead.

Kilkenny began the second half as they meant to continue racing into a 0-15 to 0-8 lead inside four minutes of the restart, with Larkin (2) and Fennelly on target.

Dublin worked hard, and with the introduction of Danny Sutcliffe and Simon Timlin they firmly upped their game.

Sutcliffe and Ryan fired points before the latter delivered his third goal from a placed ball in as many games to cut the gap to two points in the 44th minute.

However, this was as good as it got for Dublin, as the Cats restored their seven-point cushion, with Larkin firing three of their next four points.

Once again Dublin cut the gap to two, thanks to an unbroken spell with five unanswered points between the 57th and 66th minutes.

Dillon, Joey Boland, Schutte, Martin Quilty and Alan Nolan were on target during this spell, but the latter's effort could have been even more as his 21 metre free was sent blazing over the cross-bar.

Kilkenny finished this game strongly with Larkin and substitute Aidan Fogarty registering the final two scores.

After the game David Langton accepted the Bord na Móna Walsh Cup from Leinster GAA Chairman John Horan, while Eoin Larkin received the Man of the Match award from Bord na Móna's Gerry O'Hagan.

KILKENNY: D Herity; T Keogh, M Walsh, J Tyrrell; B Kennedy, T Walsh, D Langton; C Fogarty, P Walsh (0-1); J Brennan (0-3), C Fennelly (0-4), E Larkin (0-11, 8f, 1 65); JJ Farrell, M Kelly (0-1), T Breen (0-2). Subs: A Fogarty (0-2) for P Walsh (48); P Murphy for Langton (56); L Ryan for Breen (66).

DUBLIN: A Nolan (0-1, 1f); C O'Callaghan, P Kelly, J Dougan; S Hiney, C McCormack, J Boland (0-1, 1 65); S Durkin, J McCaffrey; C Keaney, R O'Dwyer, C Cronin; P Ryan (1-4, 1-3f), D O'Callaghan (0-2), M Schutte (0-5). Subs: S Timlin for Kelly Blood (9-13); D Sutcliffe (0-2) for McCaffrey (HT); S Timlin for Dougan (HT); M Quilty (0-1) for Durkin (51); E Dillon (0-1) for Ryan (51); P Winters for O'Dwyer (64).

REFEREE: David Hughes (Carlow)

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