Kildare take Leinster MFC for fourth time in seven seasons

Aaron Browne scores 1-7 from play as his side edge an extra-time thriller with Dublin

Kildare celebrate their Leinster MFC win over Dublin in Navan. Photograph: Tom O’Hanlon/Inpho

Kildare celebrate their Leinster MFC win over Dublin in Navan. Photograph: Tom O’Hanlon/Inpho

 

Kildare 2-21 Dublin 1-19 (AET)

It took almost 100 minutes of action to get the job done but Kildare eventually secured the Leinster minor football title, their ninth, on a remarkable afternoon in Navan.

Level seven times in a game that had more angles than the most complex of maths lessons, the young Lilies proved to have too much power and quality for Dublin in extra-time and ran out five-point winners.

Extra-time goals from Aaron Browne and Eoin Bagnall, each of whom scored 1-7 - with all of Browne’s tally coming from open play - ultimately sealed the win and a fourth provincial title at the grade for Kildare in seven seasons.

Aside from the extra-time, the game was stretched out in duration following a worrying injury sustained by Dublin centre-back Senan Forker late in the first-half of normal time.

He suffered what appeared to be a concussion after a heavy collision involving two Kildare players and was removed from the pitch on a stretcher following extensive medical treatment.

Dublin also lost full-back Ben Millist to an injury after 20 minutes which meant they were robbed of the central spine of their defence.

Kildare’s Tommy Gill tackles Dublin’s Alex Rogers during his side’s Leinster MFC final win. Photograph: Tom O’Hanlon/Inpho
Kildare’s Tommy Gill tackles Dublin’s Alex Rogers during his side’s Leinster MFC final win. Photograph: Tom O’Hanlon/Inpho

Despite those losses they led by 0-8 to 0-7 at half-time and increased their lead to five points with 21 minutes remaining following a strong third quarter display.

Talented dual player Luke Swan bundled in a goal for Dublin early in the second-half and Alex Rogers was also on the mark with a point as they led 1-9 to 0-7.

Unfortunately for Dublin, chasing a first title since 2017, it was mostly downhill from there as Kildare regrouped with five points in a row before moving one clear late on.

Browne scored Kildare’s last three points in normal time and it took a 64th minute Murray point for Dublin to force extra-time at 1-11 to 0-14.

Kildare were terrific in the extra 20 minutes or so with 61st and 73rd minute goals from Bagnall and Browne while their goalkeeper Cian Burke tipped over a penalty from Dublin’s Ryan O’Dwyer.

Kildare: C Burke; T Gill, C Boran, M Maguire; PJ Cullen, O O’Rourke, J Quinn; S Flynn (0-3), K Eustace (0-1); A Browne (1-7), C O’Brien, E Bagnall (1-7, six frees); O Milmoe, A Conneely, A Boyle. Subs: D Woulfe for Milmoe (36 min), M Delahunty (0-1) for O’Brien (43), R Comeau for O’Rourke (50), E Meehan (0-2) for Woulfe (57), M Whelan for Boyle (64). M Spillane for Connelly (69), J Kavanagh for Maguire (70, black card), L Gorman for Eustace (74).

Dublin: H O’Sullivan; C Archer, B Millist, C Tyrrell; K Conroy, S Forker, J Lundy; D O’Dowd, L Murphy-Guinane; R O’Dwyer (0-4, two frees, penalty), L Swan (1-1), F Murray (0-10, eighte frees, one 45); S Kinsella, R Keogh (0-1), A Rogers (0-1). Subs: A Watson for Millist (20 min), B Harding for Forker (36), R Bolger for Kinsella (36), D Fagan for O’Dwyer (48), T Brennan for Keogh (48), H Colclough for Lundy (52). M Nealon for Archer (E-T), L Curran (0-2) for Rogers (E-T), O’Dwyer for Brennan (70), Keogh for Murphy-Guinane (E-T).

Referee: D Hickey (Carlow).

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