Lilywhites hold off Meath to secure promotion
Kildare 0-22 Meath 0-17: Allianz NHL Div 2B final
Mark Delaney fired over eight points from placed balls as Kildare captured the title in Cusack Park, Mullingar.
In a repeat of the 2012 decider Kildare simply had too much for the Royals as four consecutive points early in the second period gave them a crucial cushion which they never relinquished as they returned to Division 2A at the first attempt.
There was very little to separate the sides in the first half as Meath reeled Kildare in after the Christy Ring champions opened with three quick points in a row.
Delaney with a brace and Leo Quinn gave the Lilywhites an early lead but with Jack Regan in good form the Royals had dragged themselves level by the 15th minute.
It was tit-for-tat from there until the interval, with a series points from Regan keeping Meath in contact as Evan Dempsey, Quinn (pictured), Delaney and Bernard Deay all hit the target for Kildare to leave the Lilywhites 0-11 to 0-10 ahead at the break.
Delaney and James Toher swapped scores early in the second half but Kildare then opened up with quickfire points for Paul Divilly, Dempsey, Quinn and Delaney giving them a six-point lead ten minutes into the second half.
Regan hit back with two points from placed balls but the Royals could they could not close the gap at to less than four points over the remaining minutes as Deay, Quinn, Dempsey and a late Ryan Casey point ensured victory, and promotion, for Kildare.
Man of the Match: Leo Quinn (Kildare)
Scorers - Kildare: M Delaney 0-8 (8fs), L Quinn 0-5, E Dempsey 0-3, B Deay 0-2, R Casey, É O'Neill, J Byrne, P Divilly 0-1 each. Meath: J Regan 0-10 (1 '65', 1pen, 5fs), G Kelly 0-2, J Toher, A Douglas, W McGrath, A Gannon, J Fagan 0-1 each.
Kildare - P Dermody 7; N Ó'Muineacháin 7, M Grace 7, J Doran 7; D Stapleton 7, M Fitzgerald 7, É O'Neill 8; M Moloney 7, P Divilly 7; M Delaney 8, L Quinn 8, J Byrne 7; E Dempsey 7, N Kenny 7, B Deay 7. Subs: Casey 7 for Kenny (64).
Meath - C Bird 6; C Reilly 6, S Brennan 6, N McLoughlin 6; K Keoghan 6, D Healy 6, P Keogh 6; S Whitty 6, J Toher 6; S Morris 6, G Kelly 7, A Douglas 6; J Regan 8, M Dunne 6, W McGrath 6. Subs: J Fagan 7 for Dunne (ht), S Heavey 6 for Morris (ht), A Gannon 6 for Kelly (66).
Ref - C Cunning (Antrim)