Kildare 1-15 Dublin 0-10
Kildare produced a dominant performance in comfortably getting the better of Dublin in their Leinster Under-20 Football Championship final at O’Connor Park, Tullamore on Friday evening.
A tight encounter was anticipated between what were considered well-matched sides, but from the closing stages of the first-half, the identity of the winners was rarely in doubt.
Despite a point in the opening minute from Cormac Howley, Dublin laboured somewhat in the early stages and were pegged back thanks to a fine Jimmy Hyland point in the fourth minute.
In a stuttering start from both teams, fluidity was absent in both forward lines as Dublin edged in front a couple of times through Tom Keane and Seán Bugler, before Kildare replied in kind through Paddy Woodgate and Hyland.
Dublin appeared the quicker to settle, however, and successive points from James Doran and the influential Bugler left them two points clear by the 24th minute.
Hyland replied at the opposite end before the half turned massively in Kildare's favour in the 26th minute as Keane was denied a goal by Aaron O'Neill after clever approach play from Doran and James Madden.
Suitably galvanised by that let-off, Kildare drew level through Tony Archbold from the resultant counter-attack and dominated the remaining seven minutes to open up a healthy advantage by the interval.
Hyland kicked them in front for the first time in the 28th minute and a procession towards the Dublin goal ensued as Padraig Nash landed two excellent scores to augment points from Brian McLoughlin and Hyland to help open up a 0-10 to 0-5 interval lead.
The Lilies spurned two presentable chances to extend their lead in the early stages of the second-half as Dublin gained a small degree of momentum through points by Keane and Ross McGarry.
However, as they chased the game, they left themselves exposed defensively with cracking points by Nash and Hyland restoring their five-point advantage.
A lack of energy permeated Dublin’s laboured play while in contrast, their opponents were playing with the belief and confidence of a team that were fully in tune with their task.
Substitute Shane O’Sullivan made a hugely positive impression upon his introduction and kicked an excellent point in the 41st minute to reaffirm Kildare’s position of strength.
Dublin’s fate was sealed in injury time as the hugely influential Hyland was impeded inside the square, and Tony Archbold despatched a suitably confident penalty past David O’Hanlon to complete a superb display.
Kildare: A O'Neill; M Dempsey, M Barrett, DJ Earley; T Archbold (1-1, 1-0 penalty) J Bambrick, J Gibbons; A Masterson, D Marnell; D Ryan, P Nash (0-3), R Ó Giolláin; P Woodgate (0-1), B McLoughlin (0-1), J Hyland (0-8, two frees). Subs: M Betts Symonds for Bambrick (14-17, Blood Sub), S O'Sullivan (0-1) for Nash (38), C Costigan for Marnell (49), S Doran for Woodgate (53), N Murphy for McLoughlin (60), J Barrett for Earley (64), Betts Symonds for Murphy (64, Black Card).
Dublin: D O'Hanlon; N Nolan, N Doran, C Smith; K Kennedy, N Matthews, E O'Dea; D Ryan, S Bugler (0-3); T Keane (0-4, one free), J Madden, R McGarry (0-1); D O'Brien, J Doran (0-1), C Howley (0-1). Subs: K Lynch Bissett for Howley (33), J Holland for O'Brien (43), S King for McGarry (52), E Fitzpatrick for Ryan (56), D Brennan for Doran (58).
Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow)