ELECTRIC IRELAND LEINSTER MFC SEMI FINAL
By Richard Commins
A slick Kildare outfit qualified for their seventh Leinster minor final in ten years with a facile victory over Wicklow in Newbridge last night.
With many of their points coming from long range, Kildare were nine points to no score ahead after only eighteen minutes, with all of those points coming from play.
Wicklow, playing into a slight breeze, did get off the mark after 21 minutes through Alex Kavanagh’s free but Ben Loakman’s goal from close range after a move involving Tom Kelly and Eoin Cully four minutes before the break put paid to any comeback.
The home side led by 1-11 to 0-2 at half-time but Wicklow were more competitive after the interval. Kavanagh was their most dangerous forward and finished with six of their ten points while they also had fine scores from James Boland and Paidí Kavanagh late on to take some of the bare look off the scoreboard.
For Kildare, centre-back James Harris and classy midfielder Ryan Sinkey anchored the side but the star turn was Killian Browne. The brother of under-20 captain Aaron, Browne was on hand to finish emphatically from a Cillian Geraghty pass for the second goal six minutes from time. That capped an impressive 1-6 return for the Celbridge man.
Kildare will now meet Dublin in the final, the two counties having already contested the provincial under-20 final with the Lilywhites coming out on top in that one.
SCORERS – Kildare: Killian Browne 1-6 (2f), Ben Loakman 1-1, Eoin Cully 0-4, Ryan Sinkey 0-3, Tom Kelly, Cormac O’Sullivan, James Harris, Niall Cramer (f) 0-1 each. Wicklow: Alex Kavanagh 0-6 (4f), Jack Kenny, Paidi Kavanagh, Eanna Nolan, James Boland 0-1 each.
KILDARE: Fintan Quinn; Jamie McGuirk, Ben Ryan, Eoin Lawlor; Cormac O’Sullivan, James Harris (capt), Tom Kelly; Ryan Sinkey, Conor Kelly; Joey Cunningham, Ryan Rainey, Ben Loakman; Joe Hanamy, Killian Browne, Eoin Cully. Subs: Cian O’Reilly for C Kelly 35, DJ Percival for Hanamy 45, Niall Cramer 0-1 (f) for McGuirk 45, Cillian Geraghty for Loakman 51, Ross Harris for Sinkey 51, Jay O’Brien for Cunningham (b/s 56).
WICKLOW: Mark Shannon, Callum Clarke, Leo Byrne, James Fleming; Adam Kinsella (capt), James Boland, James Healy; Gearoid Murphy, Aaron O’Brien; Joe McGuckian, Jack Kenny, Paidi Kavanagh; Eanna Nolan, Alex Kavanagh, Cian Deering. Subs: Brian Hurley for McGuckian 34, Maurice Hedderman for L Byrne 47, Conall Butler for Healy b/s 55-58, Sean Byrne for Murphy 57, Jack Bookle for Nolan 60.
REFEREE: Alan Coyne (Westmeath).