Robinson stars to set up date with Kingdom for Lilywhites
Jack Robinson was the star of the show in O'Connor Park yesterday as Kildare sealed a 'last-four' date with reigning All-Ireland champions Kerry courtesy of a deserved six-point victory over Mayo.
Kildare 2-14 Mayo 2-8
The westerners led by a point at the break, 2-2 to 1-4, but having played with a strong breeze, the gap should have been greater as they created plenty chances only to hit eight first-half wides.
Mayo managed to move three points in front early in the second half, but then a Kildare tour de force - kick-started by five points on the spin - lifted the Lilywhites to a new level before a 55th minute goal from captain Brian McLoughlin sealed the deal.
The Leinster champions were given a perfect early platform by the ever-energetic Robinson who opened the scoring with a superb individual goal in the fourth minute.
However, Mayo's response was swift as they hit back with a point and then an eighth minute goal coming from Ryan O'Donoghue to take the lead.
Despite having the elements at their back in the opening half , Mayo were guilty of some erratic shooting while Kildare didn't register a single wide during that period.
Thanks to the hard work around the middle from the likes of Aaron Masterson, David Marnell and McLoughlin, the young Lilies regained the initiative midway through the half and were 1-4 to 1-1 in front before they were rocked by a second Mayo goal, this time from Paul Lambert.
Shortly before the break, a melee broke out which lasted nearly three minutes before order was restored. After consulting his linesmen, referee Niall Cullen handed out two black and two yellow cards, the most significant of which was a black to Kildare's forward talisman, Jimmy Hyland.
The beaten Connacht finalists went on to lead by three early in the second half, but Kildare then hit five on the bounce, with Robinson very much to the fore.
Mayo tried to battle back and were still only three points in arrears with five minutes to go when McLoughlin broke through for a superly-taken goal which assured the Leinster champions of their passage to Croke Park.
Scorers - Kildare: J Robinson 1-5 (1f), C Kelly 0-4 (2fs, 1 s-l), B McLoughlin 1-0, J Hyland 0-2fs, A Masterson, T Archbold and K Foley 0-1 each. Mayo: C Moran 0-4 (1f), P Lambert 1-1, R O'Donoghue 1-0, S McGreal, C Diskin ('45') and D Cosgrove 0-1 each.
MAYO - A Byrne; J Maughan, B O'Malley, J Cunnane; D Cosgrove, M Macken, S Kenny; N Moran, C Stenson; C Murphy, O McLaughlin, P Lambert; C Moran, J Healy, R O'Donoghue. Subs: J Mason for Maughan (BC, 10), S McGreal for J Mason (BC, 30+3), L Kelly for Cunnane (BC, 34), C Diskin for Murphy (47), R Egan for McLaughlin (53), N McGee for Healy (58).
KILDARE - L Mullins; J O'Toole, M Dempsey, D Shaw; T Archbold, J Gibbons, S Doran; D Marnell, A Masterson; K Foley, B McLoughlin, C Costigan; J Hyland, C Kelly, J Robinson. Subs: S Kavanagh for Hyland (BC, 30+3), M Barrett for Doran (30+3), D Kelly for Foley (56), J Burke for McLoughlin (60).
Ref - N Cullen (Fermanagh)