Royals overcome Kildare fight back to reach provincial decider
Meath 2-16 Kildare 0-17
Meath overcame a lengthy injury-list and a second-half comeback from Kildare to advance to their third successive Leinster Final at Croke Park today.
It was lively starts to proceedings at a stunning Croke Park with Mark Donnellan making a brilliant goal save after 4 minutes
The goal chances continued with Sean Hurley and Steven Bray coming close. The game was very tight early on as expected with very little between the two teams.
Pádraig Fogarty and in particular Stephen Bray looked like the go to men for both sides with Fogarty kicking 4 points and Bray looking consistently dangerous every time the ball came into his possession and Meath’s two-man full forward line began to build confidence with every point they scored.
The game was level for the fifth time within 23 minutes and there was a feeling that a goal would make a big impact in this very tight game.
And it arrived late in the first half when Kildare started to become exposed by Meath’s pacy full forward line as Fergal Conway gave away a penalty when he fouled the brilliant Stephen Bray and Andrew Tormey converted by striking the ball straight down the middle of the goal. Meath had increased their lead to five points before half time which was s sucker punch for Kildare.
Meath had 21 chances in the first half and they converted 10. Which made you wonder if they had their full team how prolific would they be? Meath started to exploit Kildare’s lack of pace in defence and Kildare had a lot of work to do at half time as they looked all over the place with their defensive problems from the League campaign looking unsolved.
They continued this trend with attacking wing back Damien Carroll scoring a brilliant point inside the first minute of the second half for Meath and things went from bad to worse when two minutes later a predator like forward goal from Dalton Macdonough a free from Tormey free and a magnificent point from Bray quickly afterwards extended Meath’s lead to eleven points after 40 minutes which effectively killed off any hope Kildare had of getting back in the game.
Kildare fought hard and woke up to reduce Meath’s lead to four points at one stage and with the crowd behind them it looked like they could back in it and the tight game we expected prior to the match looked to have been restored .
But despite their best efforts, Meath were victorious as the lead they claimed proved to be too significant for them to get a realistic chance of equalizing or taking the lead and they will progress to the final.
Kildare team: Mark Donnellan, Hugh McGrillen., Michael Foley, Emmet Bolton, Ollie Lyons, Fergal Conway, Keith Cribbin, Tommy Moolick, Pádraig O’Neil, Cathal McNally, Emaonn Callaghan (c), Seán Hurley, Niall Kelly, Pádraig Fogarty, Paddy Brophy.
Meath team: Patrick O Rourke, Caolan Young, Kevin Reilly, Michael Burke, Pádraig Harnan, Donal Keogan, Damien Carroll, Brian Meade, Bryan Menton, Dalton McDonough, Shane O Rourke, Andrew Tormey, Graham Reilly, Stephen Bray, Brian McMahon