TJ Reid scored a second half brace of goals as Kilkenny came from behind to beat Dublin in a cracking Leinster SHC opener at a sun-splashed Nowlan Park this evening.
Many had expected Dublin to take advantage of the home side's injury crisis and they were in the driving seat at half-time when leading by 1-13 to 0-12. Sean Moran netted a 10th minute penalty, but blasted over a second just before the interval.
But roared on by a passionate crowd, Kilkenny regained parity 10 minutes after the restart when the outstanding Reid took a return pass from Colin Fennelly before giving Alan Nolan no chance with a rasping finish. It remained level pegging until Reid blasted home a 57th minute penalty after Fennelly was fouled in the process of scoring a goal which wasn't given.
That made it 2-17 to 1-17 and the outcome was never in doubt after that as Richie Leahy, corner back Tommy Walsh, Reid and Ger Aylward tagged on points to secure the win for Brian Cody's men.
Reid scored 2-12 (1-11 from placed balls) in a game which will be remembered for a bizarre incident late in the first half that saw Dublin selector and former Galway defender Greg Kennedy intercept a short free from the Ballyhale Shamrocks sharpshooter while on the field giving instructions, thus denying Kilkenny a goal-scoring opportunity. Cork referee Cathal McAllister ordered that the free be retaken, but Kennedy - much to Kilkenny's ire - escaped sanction.
A full-blooded contest produced three penalties, the first of which Moran dispatched to the net to give the visitors an early 1-3 to 0-3 lead. Kilkenny closed the gap, but points from David Treacy (free), Danny Sutcliffe, Moran, Tomas Connolly, Liam Rushe, Sean Treacy and Fergal Whitely had Mattie Kenny's charges six up, 1-10 to 0-8, after 27 minutes.
The hosts, who were without Cillian Buckley, James Maher, Conor Delaney and Rob Lennon, looked out of sorts and things could have got a lot worse for them in the 33rd minute when Dublin were awarded a second penalty after Rushe was fouled for a second time. However, they were let off the hook when Moran skied his effort. Alan Murphy shot three points from midfield for the Cats, but they still trailed by four at the break.
Having been well marshalled by Shane Barrett in the first half, Reid became the dominant figure after the restart as Kilkenny staged one of their trademark comebacks. The wing forward slotted over three frees to bring the sides level before combining with club-mate Colin Fennelly for a brilliant goal.
David Treacy restored Dublin's lead from a free, but also missed an easy one as Kilkenny's momentum continued to grow. Fennelly then won a penalty after powering past Sean Moran and Alan Nolan, only to be left frustrated after no advantage was given after he finished the rebound to the net.
However, justice was done when Reid converted the penalty and Kilkenny kicked on from there.
Kilkenny - D Brennan; P Murphy, P Deegan, T Walsh (0-1); E Morrissey, H Lawlor, C Fogarty; P Walsh (0-1), A Murphy (0-3); A Mullen (0-1), W Walsh (0-1), TJ Reid (2-12, 1-0pen, 0-11f, 0-1'65); B Ryan, C Fennelly, G Aylward (0-2). Subs: R Leahy (0-2) for E Morrissey, R Hogan for B Ryan.
Dublin - A Nolan; D O’Connell (0-1), E O’Donnell, P Smyth; S Barrett, C Crummey (0-2), S Moran (1-2, 1-0pen, 0-1f); S Treacy (0-1), T Connolly (0-1); F Whitely (0-2), D Sutcliffe (0-4), D Treacy (0-6f); P Ryan (0-1), L Rushe (0-1), E Dillon. Subs: R McBride for T Connolly, C Keaney for P Ryan, C Boland for S Treacy, J Malone for D Treacy, R Hayes for L Rushe.
Referee - C McAllister.Tweet