Late O'Shea goal seals title hat-trick for Dublin
Dublin 2-14 Kildare 0-17
He limped off the field after just five minutes but Cillian O'Shea returned with a bang, scoring the extra-time goal that secured Dublin's third EirGrid Leinster Under-21 title on the trot.
Kilmacud Crokes forward O'Shea was substituted after a heavy knock early on but fired a brilliant goal nine minutes into extra-time to see off the favourites and secure an All-Ireland semi-final clash with the Connacht champions on April 16.
It was the most courageous of wins for Dublin who, despite being back to back champions, were underdogs against a strong Kildare team who beat them at minor level three years ago soared seven clear early on.
Ben McCormack was excellent for Kildare in that early period, kicking five points, while Neil Flynn hit 10 points in the entire game.
But just like last year's final when Flynn also reached a double-digit tally against Dublin, he would finish on the losing side. Kildare will kick themselves for not finishing the job in normal time. They roared into that 0-9 to 0-2 lead, though an O'Callaghan goal after 27 minutes gave Dublin hope.
Dessie Farrell's resurgent Dubs were just 1-5 to 0-10 down at half-time and wiped the deficit out entirely by the 32nd minute.
The sides were level three times in the second half and Flynn's 54th-minute point from a 45 tied it up for the final time, 1-11 to 0-14. The Lilies had a great chance to win it at the death when sub Mark Sherry blazed a goal chance wide.
They would rue that miss because O'Shea blasted the ball right to left across goals for a goal worthy of deciding a terrific duel.
Scorers - Dublin: C O'Callaghan 1-7 (0-5f), C O'Shea 1-0, G O'Reilly 0-2, C Basquel, C Sallier, A Foley, B Howard, M Cahilan 0-1 each. Kildare: N Flynn 0-10 (3f, 3 '45), B McCormack 0-5, P Connell, C Healy 0-1 each.
Dublin: L Molloy; E Smith, S McMahon, D Monaghan; C O'Shea, B Howard, M Cahilan; A Foley, D McIlgorm; K Deeley, C Basquel, G O'Reilly; C Sallier, C O'Callaghan, D Spillane. Subs: S Clayton for O'Shea (5), A Elliot for McIlgorm (15), K Doherty for Foley (29-33, blood), E Murchan for Monaghan (h/t), P Small for Spillane (h/t), M Deegan for Elliot (47). O'Shea for Sallier (e/t), Doherty for O'Reilly (68), Spillane for Murchan (76), T O'Sullivan for Smith (79).
Kildare: D Campbell; P Mescal, D Maguire, E Bateman; R Houlihan, S Ryan, B Byrne; L Flynn, P Connell; C Kavanagh, C McMonagle, C Hartley; B McCormack, C Healy, N Flynn. Subs: M Hyland for Byrne (30), R Feely for Hartly (38), M Sherry for McMonagle (43), C Scanlon for Healy (54). B Kelly for Scanlon (e/t), Scanlon for McCormack (68), D Malone for Maguire (76), Healy for Feely (79).
Referee: J Hickey (Carlow)
Sunday Indo Sport