/ GAA

Leinster 1-23 Connacht 0-16

Updated: Saturday, 01 Mar 2014 19:07 | Comments

Ryan O'Dwyer of Leinster with Shane Kavanagh and David Collins of Connacht
Ryan O'Dwyer of Leinster with Shane Kavanagh and David Collins of Connacht

A storming second-half performance  at Croke Park eased Leinster to a 1-23 to 0-16 M Donnelly Interprovincial final win over Connacht and their 29th title.

Kilkenny players were central to the success with Eoin Larkin nailing 0-12 and the Cats tally contributing 0-20 in total.

Colin Fennelly and Lester Ryan scored three points each while Walter Walsh and Richie Hogan were also on the mark in a game that began in front of around 150.

It was Leinster third title in four seasons and they have beaten Connacht in each of those deciders.

They led from the second score of the game here, Dan Currams' fourth minute point, all the way until full-time.

Dublin's Ryan O'Dwyer scored the only goal in the 53rd minute, putting Leinster 11 clear and Joe Dooley's side cruised to victory from there.

Connacht's starting team was completely comprised of Galway players with subs Keith Raymond (Sligo), Gerry Fallon (Roscommon) and Kenny Feeney (Mayo) the only non-Tribesmen.

With two Allianz League games already played, that should have ensured a slick and assured Connacht performance, but they were surprisingly out of sync for the first 20 minutes as Leinster dominated the game and moved into a 0-7 to 0-2 lead.

Larkin converted four placed balls in that period as Connacht were forced to foul to stop Leinster's surging attack who carved out two good goal chances.

Hogan and Offaly's Currams also made the score sheet for Leinster.

However Connacht were much improved from then until half-time as they gained a strong foothold in the middle third with Iarlaith Tannion continuing his new role at centre-back.

Conor Cooney's runs from centre-forward also proved highly effective and the St Thomas' club man slotted four first-half points, 0-08 in total, as Connacht rallied.

Leinster still led 0-11 to 0-9 at the interval thanks to a four-in-a-row of scores from Walter Walsh, Larkin and Keaney though Connacht held the momentum.

The westerners were clearly keen to capitalise on it and returned out for the second-half several minutes before the Leinster players.

But Leinster once again took a strong hold on the game and this time refused to wilt.

Six unanswered points in a row after the restart pushed them into pole position with a 0-17 to 0-9 lead.

Fennelly, fresh from his 3-5 burst for Kilkenny against Tipperary in the league, came alive with three points from play.

The game was officially up when Larkin picked out O'Dwyer in front of goal after 53 minutes and the Dublin centre-forward blasted to the net, easing Leinster 11 clear.

Leinster: G Maguire (Dublin), P Murphy (Kilkenny), P Kelly (Dublin), A Shore (Wexford), T Walsh (Kilkenny), L Rushe (Dublin), L Chin (Wexford), M Carton (Dublin), R Hogan (Kilkenny)(0-01), W Walsh (Kilkenny)(0-01), R O'Dwyer (Dublin)(1-00), C Keaney (Dublin)(0-02), C Fennelly (Kilkenny)(0-03), E Larkin (Kilkenny)(0-12, 5f, 4 65), D Currams (Offaly)(0-01).

Substitutes: M Hanlon (Wexford) for Shore, TJ Reid for Walsh (blood), L Ryan (Kilkenny)(0-03) for Carton, Reid for Walsh, J Guiney (Wexford) for Currams, J Bergin (Offaly) for Currams, J McCaffrey (Dublin) for O'Dwyer.

Connacht (all Galway): J Skehill, F Moore, S Kavanagh, D Collins, A Harte, I Tannian, D Burke, D Burke, P Brehony (0-01), J Coen, C Cooney (0-08, 4f), J Flynn (0-02), R Cummins (0-02), N Healy (0-02), C Mannion.

Substitutes: K Hynes for Tannian, D Dolan for Cummins, B Flaherty for Harte, P Landers (0-01) for Flynn, G McInerney for Coen.

Referee: E Hassan (Derry).

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