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    Cats expose gulf in class

    by Oli Skehan , 22 April 2012

    After leading by just a point at the interval, Kilkenny pushed on in the second-half to see off the determined challenge of Clare on a 1-20 to 0-14 scoreline and in the process advanced to the Allianz Hurling League final.

    Matthew Ruth ended with a personal tally of 1-4 and his goal five minutes after the inverval proved to be the impetus the Cats needed - the James Stephens clubman first-timed the sliothar to the net after Patrick Kelly had saved Eoin Larkin's shot from a tight angle.

    A low-quality opening 35 minutes was dominated by the free-taking of Richie Power, who ended up with nine points to his name despite having a 17th minute penalty saved by Pat Donnellan in the Banner goal, and Cratloe's Conor McGrath.

    Following Ruth's somewhat controversial goal, Clare needed a big response, and while they did pull back points through Liam Markham and Nicky O'Connell, Brian Cody's frequently irresistable charges were able to pick off points with relative comfort, opening up a six points lead through TJ Reid and they went on to win by nine points without ever coming out of second gear thanks to points from Colin Fennelly, substitute Kieran Joyce and the impressive Ruth.

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