Kildare dominate Meath to advance to their first Leinster SFC final since 2009
Kildare 2-16 Meath 0-13
Kildare progressed to their first Leinster SFC final since 2009 after a deserved win over Meath in on a scorching hot evening in Bord Na Mona O’Connor Park in Tullamore.
The Lilies did most of the work in the first half as they controlled the opening 35 minutes to take a nine point lead in at the break against a disappointing Meath side.
The Royals improved after half-time and landed the first four scores of the half, but five points was as close as they would get to their neighbours who looked comfortable for most of the 70 minutes in Tullamore.
Meath started brightly with a point after just 13 seconds through James Toher but that would be the only time they would lead in the game as Kildare’s dominance began to tell.
The open nature of the game (Joe McQuillan didn’t award a free until the 13th minute) seemed to suit Cian O’Neill’s side and Cathal McNally already had two points on the board when he grabbed his goal on 14 minutes. The Johnstownbridge man took full advantage of a Donnacha Tobin slip to do just enough to slip the ball past Paddy O’Rourke.
A excellent Mick O’Grady denied Meath a goal chance, but in general, the Royals were struggling and Meath managed their first score in 13 minutes when Donal Lenihan opened his account.
At the other end, the Kildare full-forward line were doing real damage with McNally, Daniel Flynn and Paddy Brophy wracking up 1-7 between them before the half.
Kildare went in at the break leading 1-10 to 0-4 but they should have been further ahead after kicking nine wides in the opening period.
Andy McEntee’s side then landed the first four points after the break with Donal Lenihan and sub Ruairi O Coileain doing the most to carry the fight for Meath.
However Kevin Feely, who finished the day with five points to his name, kept the scoreboard ticking over before Daniel Flynn flicked home a late goal as the Lilies sealed their place in a Leinster final against either Dublin or Westmeath on July 16.
SCORERS - Kildare: D Flynn 1-4, C McNally 1-3, K Feely 0-5 (4f), P Brophy 0-2, E Callaghan, N Flynn (1f) 0-1 each.
Meath: D Lenihan 0-5 (2f), R O Coileain 0-3, B Menton 0-2, J Toher, S McEntee, M Burke 0-1 each.
Kildare: M Donnellan; O Lyons, M O’Grady, D Hyland; K Cribbin, E Doyle, J Byrne; K Feely, T Moolick; F Conway, N Kelly, D Slattery; C McNally, D Flynn, P Brophy SUBS: E Callaghan for Brophy (49), F Dowling for Moolick (59), C Healy for McNally (61), P Kelly for D Hyland (65), N Flynn for Byrne, E Bolton for Doyle (both 69).
Meath: P O’Rourke; C McGill, D Keogan, D Tobin; P Harnan, M Burke, S McEntee; B Menton, R Jones; J Toher, C O’Sullivan, E Wallace; G Reilly, B McMahon, D Lenihan SUBS: J McEntee for Toher (28), R O Coileain for Wallace (HT), B Conlon for Jones (46), T O’Reilly for McMahon (51), S Tobin for Reilly (56), A Douglas for O’Sullivan (68).
Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan).