THE weight of history is against Kildare when they step out onto the sacred sod of Croke Park on Sunday as they look to bring the first All-Ireland title back to the county since the 1965 Under 21 success, and only the second national crown since the last senior All-Ireland won 90 years ago. GER MCNALLY takes a look back at Kildare’s fortunes in previous under 21 All-Ireland finals, starting with that famous win in 1965.
3 OCTOBER 1965 – KILDARE 2-11 CORK 1-7
Described in the Nationalist at the time as a Kildare win in the ‘best Lilywhite’ tradition. Kildare defeated Dublin, Meath, Offaly and Down to reach the final and once there served up a wonderful display in Croke Park.
Led by trainer Jim Clarke, and captained by Pat Dunny, goals in either half by Jack Donnelly led Kildare to victory, even after they had trailed 1-6 to 1-4 at half time. Donnelly was partnered in midfield by Pat Mangan, while Dunny and Tom Carew led the attack. In defence, Pat Nally marshalled things from centre back, while Ollie Crinnigan was the man between the posts.
Cork had a fine goalkeeper themselves in Billy Morgan but Donnelly’s second goal early in the second half swung the momentum in Kildare’s favour and they never looked back from there.
Scorers: J Donnelly 2-3, P Dunny 0-3, T Carew 0-2, K Kelly 0-2, T Keogh 0-1
Kildare: Ollie Crinnigan (Carbury), Denis Wynne (Athy), Shay Cash (Sarsfields), Joe McTeague (Ballteague), Sean Reilly (Raheens), Pat Nally (Carbury), John Miller (Grange), Jack Donnelly (Ellistown), Tom Carew (Clane), Pat Dunny (Raheens), Kevin Kelly (Carbury), Tom Walsh (Straffan), Phil Newins (Ellistown), Nicky Behan (Allenwood). Subs Tom Keogh (Sarsfields) for Keogh, Pat Harmon (Castledermot) for Nally.
2 OCTOBER 1966 – ROSCOMMON 2-10 KILDARE 1-12
With 13 players who were part of the previous years’ team, Kildare were expected to beat Roscommon and claim their second successive title – and they certainly put themselves in a good position to do just that.
With only 11 minutes to go, Kildare led by six points but according to the Nationalist report at the time ‘inexcusable complacency’ cost the Lilywhites dearly in the final stages.
A wonderful Pat Dunny goal helped put Kildare in Kildare in charge but they took their foot off the pedal before the final whistle and paid the price.
A certain Dermot Earley pulled the strings for Roscommon and as well as scoring four points throughout the game, he played in a big part in creating the two goals late in the game that broke Kildare hearts.
Scorers – K Kelly 0-7, P Dunny 1-2, L Casey 0-1, P Mangan 0-1, N Behan 0-1
Kildare: Ollie Crinnigan (Carbury), Denis Wynne (Athy), Shay Cash (Sarsfields), Joe McTeague (Ballteague), Sean Reilly (Raheens), Pat Nally (Carbury), Tom Keogh (Sarsfields), Pat Mangan (Carbury), Liam Casey (Moorefield, Tom Carew (Clane), Pat Dunny (Raheens), Tom Walsh (Straffan), Kevin Kelly (Carbury), Mick Mullins (Raheens), Nicky Behan (Allenwood). Subs: Mick Mannion (Grange) for Casey.
12 SEPTEMBER 1976 – KERRY 0-14 KILDARE 1-3
Kildare were unfortunate to come up against one of the all-time great under 21 teams when they faced Kerry in the 1976 decider.
The Kerry team contained a number of future all-time greats. From Charlie Nelligan in goal, Paudi O’Se, Denis Moran and Mick Spillane in defence, Jack O’Shea and Sean Walsh in midlfield, to Pat Spillane, this was a Kerry team destined for greatness.
Even though Kildare contained a number of future senior stars themselves, most notably John Crofton and Paddy O’Donoghue, they were a distant second best this day in Clonmel and a late goal from substitute Pat Lyons only served to put some semblance of respectability to the scoreline.
Scorers – P Lyons 1-0, P Mulhern 0-1, B Whelan 0-1, J Geoghegan 0-1f
Kildare: Adrian Dunne (Athy), Colm Farrell (Johnstownbridge), Paddy O’Donoghue (Johnstownbridge), Frank Mulligan (Clane), Dermot Reilly (Carbury), John Crofton (Newbridge), Pat Kenny (Carbury), Mick Fennelly (Athy), John Geoghegan (Leixlip), Tom Shaw (Newbridge), Mick Condon (Clane), Phil Mulhern (Maynooth), Noel Fahy (Monasterevin), Mick Gorman (St Laurences), Brendan Whelan (Athy). Subs: Shay Ryan (Athy) for Farrell, Pat Lyons (Clane) for Fahy, Pat Carr (Ballykelly) for Mulhern.
3 MAY 2008 – KERRY 2-12 KILDARE 0-11
A Kerry team containing the likes of Tommy Walsh, Kieran O’Leary, David Moran and Killian Young proved too strong for the Glenn Ryan’s Lilywhite side Thurles.
Kildare started the game well but Mike O’Donoghue scored the first of his two goals in the 14th minute and the Kingdom led 1-5 to 0-6 at half time.
Ryan’s team were right in with a chance at that stage but Kerry pulled clear with three early second half points and then more or less confirmed the result when O’Donoghue netted his second goal in the 41st minute.
Scorers – E O’Flaherty 0-5(1f), A Smith 0-2 (2f), J Fogarty 0-1, M O’Sullivan 0-1, M Waters 0-1, G Smullen 0-1
Kildare: Niall McConnell (Leixlip); Conor Brophy (Celbridge), Declan Brennan (Rathangan), Sean Murphy (St Laurences); John Browne (Suncroft), Gary White (Sarsfields), Tom Byrne (Allenwood); Mark Waters (Round Towers), Neal Higgins (Naas); David Whyte (Moorefield), Eoghan O’Flaherty (Carbury), Kieran Kelly (Moorefield); Shaun Fahy (St Laurences), Alan Smith (Sarsfields), Gavin Smullen (Ballyteague). Subs: Niall Clynch (St Laurences) for Brophy, 24, John Fogarty (St Laurences) for Kelly, 40; Joey Cocoman (Naas) for Whyte, 42; Mark O’Sullivan (Celbridge) for Fahy, 48.