Leinster win low intensity encounter

The competition that refuses to die awoke from its slumber last Sunday in Nowlan Park when Leinster scored a four-point win over Munster in the inter-provincial hurling semi-final.

The competition that refuses to die awoke from its slumber last Sunday in Nowlan Park when Leinster scored a four-point win over Munster in the inter-provincial hurling semi-final.

This was an enjoyable game, but the honest truth is that it lacked any real intensity. Leinster dominated the first half, but switched off after the interval for twenty minutes only to take control again in the closing stages to secure a merited victory.

A couple of hundred supporters came to Nowlan Park for this encounter. The majority were from Kilkenny and they left feeling very happy that the home-based players looked sharp and eager.

For much of the opening half the play was towards the Munster goal. Michael Fennelly gave a reprise of his All-Ireland goal from last September early on when he ran on to a breaking ball to hit a low shot to the back of Donal Óg Cusack’s goal.

Another goal came courtesy of a Richie Power free and a third from Offaly’s Joe Bergin helped Leinster into a commanding nine-point interval lead.

Bergin’s goal came as a result of a short puck-out blunder by Donal Óg Cusack. Old habits die hard with the Cork custodian and this was yet another costly error by Cusack.

Munster second half revival saved a game that was looking rather one-sided. Brian Hogan failed to appear for the second half and he was sorely missed. Richie Hogan also departed at the interval and the Leinster attack was the poorer for his departure.

With 10 minutes remaining Munster was very much in the ascendancy, but the introduction of Colin Fennelly was instrumental in Leinster getting back into the game in the closing ten minutes.

From a Kilkenny perspective, all the Cats players on show looked extremely sharp and determined. So too, it must be said did Tipperary players Paul Curran and Paraic Maher for Munster.

Finding a permanent slot on the GAA fixtures calendar for the Inter-Provincial competitions has been a real problem for the GAA for many years. That problem remains, but for now Leinster have a final date with Connacht in Hurling and Munster face Ulster in the football decider.

That leaves all four Provinces with something to play for over the next couple of weekends.