Robinson adds the gloss for rampant Kildare
KIldare 1-18 Laois 0-10
Kildare retained the provincial title for the first time in their history with a comfortable victory at Croke Park.
It is their eighth Leinster minor crown in total, and once they hit the front early on they never really looked in trouble against a Laois side which failed to replicate the form they showed in the semi-final.
Kildare were appearing in their fourth Leinster MFC decider in a row, and they settled much the quicker, with the experience clearly standing to them.
Wing-back Tony Archbold pointed with a little over a minute gone, and Jack Robinson added another moments later.
Laois got themselves up and running after that, as full-forward Diarmuid Whelan attempted to settle their nerves with a good score from the right wing. Unfortunately for them, however, it did little to calm them down, and Kildare were firmly on the front foot.
Kevin Foley hit their third point before the Laois goalmouth started to lead a charmed life, as a last-ditch block and then the crossbar denied Kildare a green flag.
Wing-back James O’Connor provided Laois with some respite thanks to a superb score from the right flank, but Kildare hit back with three points in a row to lead by four after 23 minutes, 0-6 to 0-2.
With half-time fast approaching Laois needed to stem the Kildare momentum, and that’s what they did, as Ciaran Comerford pointed from close range and Diarmuid Whelan nailed a long-range free.
That left just two between the sides with normal time up, but Kildare hit the afterburners in injury-time.
A run of three points in as many minutes, the pick of them a booming long-range effort from Cian Costigan, gave them a healthy 0-9 to 0-4 advantage at the interval.
Laois showed no ill-effects from that Kildare blitz in the early stages of the second half, as they raced out of the traps. Whelan and Alan Kinsella got them within three, but they would advance no further.
Kildare dominated the remainder of the half, lead by corner-forward Jimmy Hyland. He hit three points in as many minutes to see Kildare lead by double scores, 0-12 to 0-6, and they kept pulling away.
Laois needed a miracle at this stage, but their fate was sealed with Jack Robinson’s late goal, as Kildare eased themselves over the line.
Scorers – Kildare: J Hyland 0-7 (4fs), J Robinson 1-1, B McLoughlin 0-3, C Kelly, T Archbold 0-2 each, K Foley, P Woodgate, C Costigan 0-1 each. Laois: D Whelan 0-6 (4fs), J O’Connor, A Deering, C Comerford, A Kinsella 0-1 each.
Kildare – L Mullins; J O’Toole, M Dempsey, D Shaw; T Archbold, J Gibbons, S Doran; D Marnell, A Masterson; K Foley, J Hyland, D Kelly; C Kelly, B McLoughlin, J Robinson. Subs: C Costigan for D Kelly (21), P Woodgate for Foley (45), D O’Sullivan for Archbold (50, inj), J Burke for McLoughlin (59)
Laois – R McGrath; James Kelly, D Bennett, R Hitchcock; S Bolger, S Byrne, J O’Connor; L Delaney, M Connolly; F Crowley, A Deering, C Comerford; A Kinsella, D Whelan, Johnny Kelly. Subs: J Kavanagh for Johnny Kelly (ht), R Tyrell for Delaney (ht), M McDermott for Comerford (35), E Lowry for Kinsella (41), D Feane for Crowley (47), C Brennan for O’Connor (48)
Ref – B Tiernan (Dublin)