Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Football Championship – Semi Final
By Seamus Dillon
KILDARE advanced to the final of the Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Football Championship after a narrow one point victory over Meath in Manguard Plus Hawkfield on Wednesday evening and after Dublin’s defeat of Offaly it sets up a repeat of last year’s Final which will take place ay Laois Hire, O’Moore Park on Wednesday 31 May at 7.30pm.
An opening first half saw both sides been wasteful in front of goals and they went to the dressing rooms level at 0-5 each.
Meath were the better team in the opening exchanges and early points from Cian Commons and a John Harkin free had them two up inside three minutes. They were 0-4 to 0-2 up by the end of the opening quarter as Commons hit two more. Joey Cunningham and Cathal Moore, with frees, keeping Kildare in touch. Moore again and Evan Donnelly ensuring parity at the break.
Kildare started the brightest after the break and Evan Donnelly and Harry Redmond had them in front for the first time. Pat Crawley and Chris Commons again had Meath level on 34 minutes.
Kildare then enjoyed a purple patch and they hit four in a row that proved to be a match winning move. Joey Cunningham with two, Harry Redmond and another free from goal keeper Cathal Moore ensured Kildare entered the closing quarter with that four point buffer.
Ben Corkery and Senan Murphy swapped points to keep the gap at four. Meath were gathering momentum and they responded with two John Halpin points either side of Cian Commons’ fifth of the evening. We were set for a nail biting finish and with four minutes injury to come the outcome was still in the melting pot. Joey Cunningham pointed a free to ease the pressure and despite a late Oliver Maloney point for Meath, Kildare saw it out to earn their place in another Leinster Final.
KILDARE: Cathal Moore 0-3 (2 frees,1 ’45) Liam Kelly, Colm Moran, James Donnelly, Senan Murphy 0-1, Rob Murray, Michael Chambers, Evan Boyle, Joey Cunningham 0-4 (2 frees, 1 Mark), Ruaidhri Lawler, Harry Redmond 0-2, Tadhg Donlan, Darragh Mullahy, Donnchadh Kinch 0-1, Even Donnelly 0-2 SUBS: Jack McCabe for D Mullahy 39, Liam O’Connor for D Kinch 52, Aodan Jordan for J Donnelly 55, Paul O’Dea for S Murphy 58, Adam Fitzpatrick for T Donlan 59.
MEATH: Braden Colfer; Cian Duggan, John Gormley, Oliver Maloney 0-1, Andrew Gormley 0-1 (1 free), Thomas Sheridan, David Donnelly, Cian Commons 0-5 Michael McIvor, Eamon Armstrong, Oisin O’Neill, Pat Crawley 0-1, Cormac Liggan, Tom Lenehan, John Harkin 0-3 (2 free). SUBS: Ben Corkery 0-1 for P Crawley 40, Oisin Yore for C Duggan 46, Rory Cawley for A Gormley 46.
REFEREE: James Foley (Carlow)