Brian Cody’s Kilkenny made the perfect start to the league after a convincing 3-21 to 0-18 win over Dublin at Nowlan Park. The 12 point was even made the more better as Kilkenny finished the game with just 14 players after Richie Leahy was sent off on 26 minutes.

Both sides tried to lay down a marker early on with the tackles going in hard but fair. Oisin O’Rorke opened Dublin’s account from a free after Danny Sutcliffe was fouled. Dublin would not lead the game anymore however. Kilkenny minus the Ballyhale contingent got a super goal on 11 minutes when Ger Aylward finished to the net after some good play from Paddy Deegan, Billy Ryan and Walter Walsh.

The Cats got their second major on 24 minutes. This time Billy Ryan was the scorer as he intercepted a handpass before running and firing to the net. It was 2-06 to 0-06 now, but Richie Leahy then dismissed by Paud O’Dwyer for a frontal challenge. Ronan Hayes pointed the free. Niall Brassil almost instantly went down the field and raised a white flag for Kilkenny, as did Alan Murphy (free), to make it 2-08 to 0-07. Murphy continued his accuracy from frees taking Kilkenny in 2-10 to 0-10 at the break.

Sean Moran registered Dublin’s opening score of the half, Eamonn Dillion then followed that up. Murphy and Brassil though extended the Kilkenny lead back out to 6 points by the 44th minute. Then game the game clincher on 54 minutes. Billy Ryan grabbing his second goal of the game Dublin keeper Alan Nolan unable to keep it out. Brian Cody was delighted with the win speaking to RTE Sport he said, “Before the game we would have been looking at it as a huge, huge battle to try to win it. I suppose we got into the game early and we kept it going well, and we’re happy today”. He also said Richie Hogan is going well in training and is likely to return next weekend for the Carlow game, he said, “Richie (Hogan) is going well in training, and he might be available for next week’s game (against Carlow).”

Kilkenny: E Murphy; C Wallace, H Lawlor, C Delaney; M Cody, P Deegan (0-2), M Carey (0-1); C Fogarty (0-2), A. Murphy (0-8, 7f, ‘65); J Donnelly (0-1), W Walsh (0-2), R Leahy; B Ryan (2-0), G Aylward (1-0), N Brassil (0-2). Subs: M Keoghan (0-1) for G Aylward (46mins), J Maher for A Murphy (52), T Walsh for Cody (57), B Sheehan (0-1) for B Ryan (60), L Scanlon (0-1) for Brassil (65).
Dublin: A Nolan; P Smyth, E O’Donnell, J Madden; C Crummey (0-1), D Gray, C O’Callaghan; F Whitely, R McBride (0-1); T Connolly (0-1), D Sutcliffe (0-1), R Hayes (0-2, 1f); C Boland, O O’Rorke (0-6, 4f), E Dillon (0-2). Subs: S Moran (0-4, 3f) for F Whitely (30mins), Jake Malone for J Madden (HT), Mark Schutte for C Bolang (40), L McMullen for T Connolly (57), J Hetherton for McBride (65).

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