Kildare produced a dominant second-half display to complete an ultimately comfortable eight point victory over Dublin in their Leinster Minor Football League Group B encounter at the DCU Sportsgrounds last Saturday afternoon.
Despite the hosts leading by five points at the break, the Lilies monopolised possession and territory upon the restart with Dublin guilty of too many unforced errors as the contest evolved although the margin of defeat failed to reflect their competitive efforts over the hour.
It was only in the closing ten minutes that Kildare pulled away from their opponents and given that the mixed nature of the Dublin selection weakened their hand somewhat, there were some positives for the management to derive from the encounter.
Key among those was the influence that Ben Shovlin and Barra McGarry exerted at centrefield in the first-half as Dublin largely controlled matters without ever genuinely appearing like they would take advantage of the monopoly they enjoyed in terms of possession.
As the aforementioned duo's influence waned after the break, Kildare were allowed to eat into their deficit and their ability to garner goals at the most opportune times was ultimately the difference between the teams.
Kildare's trump card was undoubtedly their talented corner-forward Matthew Kelly, who adorned an excellent and vibrant attacking performance by accruing 3-3 from play including a superlative effort ten minutes from time that highlighted his threat throughout.
With the hosts enjoying the benefit of a stiff breeze at their backs in the first-half, Kildare struggled initially to impose themselves on affairs and they trailed by three points inside seven minutes after scores from Donal Timoney, wing-back Conor Lennon and John Kindlon.
However, an excellent solo score from Kelly in the 10th minute preceded his first goal when he was allowed to run impeded into the square to palm home after Cian Costigan's point attempt had dropped short.
Despite the disappointing nature of that concession, Dublin regrouped sufficiently well with Kilmacud Crokes duo Conor Kelly and Tom Fox sharing three points as the hosts restored their two point advantage.
Shane Smyth made light of a tight angle to add a point for Kildare at the end of the first quarter and although scores were coming more freely for their opponents, the strength of the breeze and its influence could not be underestimated.
Kindlon added a point from play in the 16th minute after Callum Pearson was unfortunate to see his fisted attempt clatter off the crossbar while Stephen Smith pointed from close range as he availed from uncertainty in the Kildare defence.
The half ended with the hosts looking to build a solid platform through points by Barra McGarry and Darragh Spillane but a brace from Mark Murray ensured Kildare trailed by just five points at the break (0-12 to 1-4).
Kildare would have required some early momentum after the turnaround and after the impressive Ryan Bannon had pointed, a defensive slip-up in the 32nd minute allowed Kevin O'Callaghan the chance to calmly round Jack Carey and roll the ball into the unguarded net.
Dublin's initial reply to this body blow was encouraging from their perspective with Kindlon and Shovlin tagging on points but the fluency and cohesion in their game was marked absent from that point as Kildare took complete control.
Kelly hit two sublime points from distance before he produced the game's outstanding moment as he arrowed a piercing effort from fourteen yards into the top left hand corner of Carey's net in the 50th minute to inch Kildare in front.
It proved a procession from that point with Kildare keeping the Dubs scoreless for the final twelve minutes while they built on their lead through points by Costigan and Bannon.
Kelly's predatory instincts were highlighted a minute from time as he reacted quickest to clip home from close range after Ethan O'Donoghue's shot had rebounded off the crossbar with Kildare enjoying a deserved win with the caveat that Dublin will undoubtedly field a stronger outfit should the counties meet later in the year.
Scorers - Kildare: M Kelly 3-3, M Murray 0-3 (0-1f), K O'Callaghan 1-0, R Bannon 0-2, D Courtney, S Smyth, C Costigan 0-1 each. Dublin: J Kindlon 0-5 (0-4f), B McGarry (0-1f), C Kelly 0-2 each, C Lennon, D Timoney, T Fox, S Smith, D Spillane, B Shovlin 0-1 each.
Kildare: J Lawler; G Burke, R Slattery, J Earley; C Daffy, K Flynn, R Bannon; C Hartley, D Courtney; S Smyth, E O'Donoghue, C Costigan; M Kelly, K O'Callaghan, M Murray. Subs: E Lawless for Smyth (24), R Fitzsimons for Earley (51).
Dublin: J Carey; D McKenna, R Shaw, C Gerrard; D Spillane, D Byrne, C Lennon; B Shovlin, B McGarry; D Timoney, C Kelly, T Fox; J Kindlon, C Pearson, S Smith. Subs: K Callaghan for Kelly (40).
Mentors - Kildare: Brendan Hackett, Paul Burke, Tony McMullan, Declan Jacob, Tadhg Fennin. Dublin: Paddy Christie, Mickey Whelan, Brian O'Regan, James Clancy.
Referee: Stephen Murray (Louth).
Wides: Kildare: 3 (1+2) Dublin 7 (6+1)
Conditions: A bitterly cold and windy afternoon in Glasnevin.
Player of the Game: Matthew Kelly (Kildare)