(18 Oct 2020)

Venue: Thomastown GAA Club
Throw in : 12 Noon
Referee: Justin Heffernan

Report: Rachel Rogers

With the new normal being 4 quarters having eaten the first slice it tasted like anyone’s game. 
A very lively Dublin team looked to be on a par with Kilkenny. Dublin’s Timothy, Crowley, Lambe, Power and McIntyre agile and skillful in their play with Daly looking dangerous up in the corner forward position.
The score at the end of the first quarter is Kilkenny 4 points Dublin 2 – Dublin are carrying 2 wides . McIntyre scored a beauty of a point on the run and Daly had competently pucked over a point from a free.  Amy Clifford from Kilkenny was causing the Dublin backs serious strife as she cut through again and again towards the Dublin goal. The water break would give the Dubs managers a chance to address the threat.
Daly  lowered the deficit for Dublin at 22 minutes with a fantastic long and high point from free. A point between them now and both teams going well.
Crowley and Daly both dropped balls into the square from long range frees but the Dublin full forwards could not get the better of Kilkenny stalwart fullback line to capitalise on the chances given a resulting 45 went wide with seemingly no dedicated free taker assigned to the role.
The tally of wides continues to grow for Dublin as it rises to 5.  Crowley wins a free and once again the ball is dropped into the square and once again the Kilkenny full backs defend superbly and nothing comes of the chance.
Kilkenny launch an attack and Dublin defend vigorously but are powerless to stop the point from play.  Approaching half time and Dublin add another wide to the tally.
06-03 for Kilkenny at half time and it looks as if Kilkenny might begin to pull ahead.  Brennan playing at 7 for Kilkenny is clearing up and leaving only scraps for the Dublin forwards.
Dublin backs under huge pressure from Mulhall and Clifford and a free against Dublin results – Kilkenny convert the gap widens to 4 points. Daly immediately reduces the deficit with a tidy point from free.
Dublin are favoring a long grip for strikes and Kilkenny successfully exploiting the style of play with skillful blocks and hooks.
Daly drops a ball into the square and Lambe takes the resultant 45 it drifts out left and Dublin are carrying 9 wides .  Dublin putting Kilkenny under serious pressure now and Lambe wins a free in the 39th Minute, Daly shapes up and makes it look easy only 3 points between the teams.  Kilkenny win their own puck and Byrne takes a point for Kilkenny followed by a peach of a point from Emma Mulhall. Kilkenny widen the gap to 5.  A good passage of play for Dublin that ends disappointingly in a wide.  Lambe and Rafter  go on the attack as a duo and try very hard to break through the Kilkenny back line for a goal chance to no avail but win the free for a point.
We go to the water break and Kilkenny have a 4 point lead.  It’s still on the table for Dublin especially if they can poach a goal.

Dublin starts the quarter with a sideline and a wide from play.  As series of rucks break out in an around the Dublin half back line with Kilkenny winning the free.  Crowley clears it out to the Dublin forwards but they can’t make it stick.  Rohan and Cullen team up to win a point for Kilkenny and a sense of urgency develops as Kilkenny try to close out the game – Clifford takes another point for Kilkenny and Dublin are 6 behind. Dublin defenders give away a free trying to stop the Kilkenny forward coming through and Clifford put over another point for Kilkenny.  Byrne pops over a point from play for Kilkenny and Dublin trail by 8.
Mayhem in and around the Dublin goal and Gunner wins a penalty for Kilkenny Clifford steps up and choses to take the point – Kilkenny 9 points in front.  Kilkenny light the fire and Clifford gets in behind the Dublin backs to bury the sliotar into the back of the Dublin net.  Rafter wins a free for Dublin takes the short option to find Lambe who takes a point, answered in short order by Doheny for Kilkenny.    Rafter goes on solo and kicks a goal for Dublin a second after the referee blew for advantage.  Lambe takes a point from the free. Kilkenny win their own puck out and a free which goes over the bar for Kilkenny.

Dublin battle hard but cannot win possession  the last free won by Kilkenny and pucked long into the forward line by the indomitable Rachel Brennan.  It’s all over.
1-17 Kilkenny – 0-8 for Dublin.  The county arena is a ruthless place and even though Dublin put in a good shift with stellar performances for Crowley and Power the 11 wides accrued from play and frees cost them dearly.  Austin was solid and composed in goal for Dublin throughout.
Rafter, Lambe and Daly in the forwards all looked to be dangerous throughout the game for Dublin and will be hungry now for the next game.

With thanks to Martin Quilty and Aine Fahey for the commentary from Thomastown on the live stream and congratulations to player of the match Amy Clifford of Kilkenny.

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