Good afternoon and welcome to Croke Park where we’re getting set for the Leinster SHC final between Dublin and Kilkenny.
The Dubs are the reigning champions, of course, but such is Kilkenny’s dominance that they are still the 1/2 favourites to win this afternoon.
Throw-in is at 4pm.
Two changes to the Kilkenny team named earlier in the week. Walter Walsh and John Power start in place of Tommy Walsh and Aidan Fogarty — Eoin Larkin shifts across to full-forward.
1. David Herity
2. Paul Murphy
3. JJ Delaney
4. Jackie Tyrell
5. Joey Holden
6. Brian Hogan
7. Cillian Buckley
8. Richie Hogan
9. Conor Fogarty
22. Walter Walsh
11. Padraig Walsh
12. TJ Reid
13. Colin Fennelly
15. Eoin Larkin
25. John Power
The sun has finally broken through at Croke Park and, if it stays like this, it will be a beautiful day for hurling. The grey clouds are still hovering ominously though.
The upper tiers in Croke Park are closed today but there is a great crowd gathering now in the lower stands. The Hill is a sea of blue, save one small pocket of black and amber.
THROW IN: We’re underway. Looks like Colin Fennelly has gone in at centre-forward for Kilkenny.
Kilkenny 0-1 Dublin 0-0 — 1 mins: Dublin can’t clear their lines and TJ Reid plays in Richie Hogan for the opening score of the afternoon.
Bad miss by Ryan O’Dwyer after some great play by Colm Cronin.
It looks like Cillian Buckley is the man tasked with picking up Dubs danger man Danny Sutcliffe.
4 mins — Nice sidestep by Joey Boland in midfield to open some space but poor finishing lets him down; the ball drifts right and wide.
Kilkenny 0-2 Dublin 0-0 — 6 mins: Fine score by John Power from underneath the Cusack Stand. Very open game in these first few minutes.
Kilkenny 0-2 Dublin 0-1 — 8 mins: Dotsy O’Callaghan is fouled under a high ball and Barry Kelly awards the penalty.
Conal Keaney doesn’t even attempt to go for goal though, and taps it over the bar instead.
Colin Fennelly gets his shot away but he’s denied by a fine save by Alan Nolan. It was fairly straight at him but he got his stick behind it.
Kilkenny 0-2 Dublin 0-2 — 10 mins: Alan McCrabbe levels it up with a free.
Kilkenny 0-3 Dublin 0-2 — 11 mins: TJ Reid points his first free of the day.
Kilkenny 0-4 Dublin 0-2 — 12 mins: Superb fielding by Colin Fennelly in midfield and he turns and points. Great score.
Kilkenny 0-5 Dublin 0-2 — 13 mins: TJ Reid gives Michael Carton the slip and sends over a fine point. Brian Cody will be very pleased with how his side have started.
Ryan O’Dwyer is the first man into Barry Kelly’s book for a high tackle on JJ Delaney as he tried to run the ball out from the back.
Kilkenny 0-6 Dublin 0-2 — 18 mins: TJ Reid points a 65 to open up a four-point gap between the sides. This game hasn’t really caught fire yet though.
Dublin’s forwards are looking a bit isolated; it’s first blood to Jackie Tyrrell and JJ Delaney in the full-back line.
Kilkenny 0-6 Dublin 0-3 — 20 mins: McCrabbe points a free. Dublin are yet to score from play.
Kilkenny 0-7 Dublin 0-3 — 21 mins: Liam Rushe comes through the back of Colin Fennelly to give away a pretty needless free. TJ Reid knocks the free over, as you’d expect.
GOAL FOR DUBLIN! Kilkenny 0-7 Dublin 1-3 — 22 mins: Colm Cronin gets out to the ball ahead of Jackie Tyrrell, turns him, and then bats his shot into the ground past David Herity. Dublin really needed that!
Kilkenny 0-9 Dublin 1-3 — 25 mins: TJ Reid points a free from under the Hogan Stand and then Walter Walsh points his first of the afternoon.
Great chance for Kilkenny. Eoin Larkin gets the block in as Dublin try to clear their lines but Alan Nolan is off his line like a shot and forces Fennelly to hurry his pass. If it had been a bit more accurate, Larkin would have had an open goal.
Dublin substitution: Conor McCormack comes on to replace Ryan O’Dwyer. Anthony Daly is clearly not willing to risk a repeat of last year’s red card.
Kilkenny 0-11 Dublin 1-4 — 31 mins: Richie Hogan booms over a big free and then TJ Reid stretches the lead to five.
But Dublin respond immediately and get their first two points from play through Dotsy O’Callaghan and Colm Cronin.
Kilkenny 0-12 Dublin 1-5 — 32 mins: A massive cheer goes up around Croke Park as Eoin Larkin does all the work and Brian Hogan hits a big, big point.
Kilkenny 0-13 Dublin 1-5 — 33 mins: Stephen Hiney can’t get close enough to Colin Fennelly and he points for the second time.
Kilkenny 0-13 Dublin 1-6 — 35+1 mins: Conor McCormack works the ball to Danny Sutcliffe and he points. Kilkenny might feel they should have had a free there but Dublin won’t complain.
HALF TIME: Kilkenny 0-13 Dublin 1-6
Back in five.
Kilkenny 0-14 Dublin 1-6 — 36 mins: Colin Fennelly gets the opening score of the second half.
Kilkenny 0-16 Dublin 1-6 — 39 mins: Padraig Walsh stretches the lead to six and then to seven with two quick points. Dublin aren’t looking themselves today and this is getting away from them.
Dublin substitutions: McMorrow and Ryan on for Boland and Sutcliffe.
Kilkenny 0-16 Dublin 1-8 — 43 mins: Dublin keep in touch through a McCrabbe free and a point from play by Conor McCormack.
Kilkenny 0-17 Dublin 1-8 — 46 mins: Peter Kelly does really well to hook John Power’s shot, but TJ Reid points the 65 anyway.
Niall McMorrow plays the ball into space behind the Kilkenny defence but David Herity flies off his line and nicks it away from Alan McCrabbe. Great goalkeeping.
Kilkenny 0-17 Dublin 1-9 — 48 mins: Paul Ryan gets his first since coming on. This game is simmering away without being a classic yet but a goal would fire it to life.
Superb defending by Joey Holden who gets a last-gasp block in to deny what looks like a certain Dublin goal.
Dublin substitution: David Treacy on for Conal Keaney.
Fierce battling by both sides as they get stuck into each other in a battle for possession. We could be in for a big 20 minutes.
53 mins — Fine, fine save by David Herity to deny Colm Cronin. Beautiful piece of skill by Paul Ryan to keep it in play and create the opportunity. Dublin are hammering on the door.
It looks like King Henry is getting ready on the sideline…
Kilkenny substitution: Here’s Henry; he’s on to replace Walter Walsh for the final 15 minutes.
Mad scramble in the Dublin goalmouth as Colin Fennelly flicks the ball to John Power but Alan Nolan somehow gets his hurl on it to bat it away. Dublin living dangerously.
Kilkenny 0-18 Dublin 1-9 — 58 mins: First score in a long time as TJ Reid points a 65.
Ten minutes to play. Kilkenny lead by six. Dublin haven’t scored in over 12 minutes.
Dublin substitution: Niall Corcoran on for Paul Schutte.
Kilkenny 0-19 Dublin 1-9 — 62 mins: TJ Reid points a free and you get the feeling that Kilkenny are nearing the finish line here.
63 mins – Padraig Walsh gets in around the back of the Dublin defence and goes low to test Alan Nolan. It’ll be a Kilkenny 65…
Kilkenny 0-20 Dublin 1-9 — 64 mins: TJ Reid points the 65. Again.
Kilkenny 0-21 Dublin 1-9 — 65 mins: Stick a fork in this one. Cillian Buckley sets up Taggy Fogarty and he points from the right.
Dublin haven’t scored in 18 minutes now. Dotsy O’Callaghan shortens the grip to try to play in Paul Ryan but it’s way off the mark.
Kilkenny 0-23 Dublin 1-9 — 68 mins: Enter the King. Two quick points for Shefflin has the Kilkenny fans on their feet.
Kilkenny substitution: Lester Ryan on to replace Conor Fogarty.
Kilkenny 0-24 Dublin 1-9 — 70+1 mins: King Henry points his third in additional time.
FULL TIME: Kilkenny 0-24 Dublin 1-9
So that’s it. As Leinster finals go, it was far from vintage but that won’t bother Kilkenny. They’re 12-point winners and provincial kingpins again for the first time since 2011.
We’ll have more reaction and analysis later this evening. Thanks for reading and for commenting.