Kildare 2-11 Offaly 0-15
Aaron Browne came off the bench to end Offaly's reign as Leinster and All-Ireland U-20 football champions in Tullamore on Thursday evening.
Browne, coming back from injury, scored 1-2 as Kildare pulled the game out of the fire in the closing ten minutes. Offaly were ahead by 0-12 to 1-7 when Browne’s clinically taken goal in the 50th minute changed the game.
Kildare scored four of the last seven points to edge out a titanic struggle and Offaly had no complaints.
There was very little between the sides in an evenly contested first half and it was no surprise that they should go in on level terms at the break: Kildare 1-5, Offaly 0-8.
Kildare had first use of a stiff wind in the first half but didn't really make it count. The sides were level on three occasions in the first eight minutes before a goal and a point put Kildare 1-4 to 0-3 ahead by the 13th minute. The goal was punched home by Daniel Lynam in the 13th minute from Dean O'Donoghue's delivery.
Offaly responded very well to that setback. They upped their intensity and got five points without reply to lead by 0-8 to 1-4 coming up to the break. They could have been another point or two to the good and an Eoin Bagnall point sent them in on level terms.
Offaly got three points clear early in the second half but became too defensive too early and paid a dear price.
KILDARE: C Barker (0-1, f); H O'Neill, D O'Donoghue, M Maguire; A Boyle, J McGrath, T Gill; B Gibbons, L Killian; N O'Regan, D Lynam (1-0), A Fanning (0-2); D Swords (0-1), S Farrell (0-1), E Bagnall (0-3, 1m and 1f). Subs: A Browne (1-2) for Swords (38 mins), Ryan Burke for Gibbons (46), J McKevitt for O'Regan (49), J Dalton (0-1) for Bagnall (57), A Conneely for Lynam (61).
OFFALY: S O'Toole; L Pearson, D Finneran, T Hyland; C Ryan, J Furlong, J Sheerin; M Tynan (0-2), A Strong; F Dempsey, H Plunkett (0-3, 3f), M Dalton (0-1); C Delaney (0-5, 4f an 1 '45'), K O'Neill (0-3), D Flynn (0-1). Subs: J Guing for Plunkett (47 mins), E Murphy for Dalton (60). Referee: Patrick Maguire (Longford).