Sarsfields snatch victory from Athy

Newbridge side make late rally after going three points down and losing Conor Tiernan

Sarsfields 0-17 Athy 1-12

Sarsfields manager John Crofton was relieved but contented after his side scored four late points to win the Kildare senior football title for the first time since 2012.

The former Kildare boss admitted it wasn’t looking good as the Newbridge side trailed by two points approaching the hour, having played with 14 men since the 40th minute.

“I wouldn’t try to kid anybody,” said Crofton. “At three points down and a man down, we would have settled for getting out somehow with a draw. We knew there was a lot of fight in the dog and they showed it there.”

Athy, who were champions four years ago, were in control as they led by three points with 12 minutes remaining, and still had two points in hand approaching the end of normal time. But Brian Cardiff’s men could not withstand the Sarsfields’ onslaught despite their numerical advantage.


Late cameo role

Alan Smith

was restricted to a late cameo role due to injury but the Kildare forward made it count with a big point and a generally effective contribution as Sarsfields fought back.

It was bitterly disappointing for Athy, who established an early advantage thanks to James Eaton’s penalty goal. Niall Kelly was fouled inside the square in the ninth minute and Eaton made no mistake from the spot, sending Andy O’Brien the wrong way.

Points from Eaton and Kelly stretched the margin to five but Athy could not shake Crofton's side. Con Kavanagh started a run of five points in a row for the winners. Hugh Mahon and Tony Gibbons made it 1-6 to 0-7 at half-time in Athy's favour, but when Conor Tiernan received his marching orders in the 40th minute following an off-the-ball incident, Sarsfields remained in touch.

White flags

Smith came on in the 48th minute and Sarsfields drew level. However, when

Darroch Mulhall

and Liam McGovern raised white flags, Athy appeared to have done enough.

Man of the match Ray Cahill kicked two points to restore parity, though, and Smith pushed Sarsfields ahead before Cahill kicked his ninth point with the final kick of a thrilling encounter.