Tuesday 23 January 2018

Mahon wraps up Lilies' ruthless march to final

Kildare 3-22 Laois 0-7 Leinster U-21 FC semi-final

An utterly dominant Kildare booked their place in the decider with a 24-point win at Parnell Park.

Laois took an early lead with a point from captain Evan Costello, but it was a false dawn for the O'Moore men. Kildare had restored parity within a minute thanks to a Liam McGovern free, before taking control of the game.

As a much more physical side, Kildare got a stranglehold in midfield, where Tommy Moolick and Sean Hurley took control.

Three points for Kieran McGeeney's men helped them into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead, as Padraig Fogarty, Hurley and wing-back Paul Cribbin all found plenty of space to slot over the bar.

Laois briefly stemmed the growing tide of Kildare pressure with another Costello point, but that was quickly wiped out by Paddy Brophy.


Having had nearly all the play, Kildare were ahead by only three points, 0-6 to 0-3, but their good work eventually started to bear fruit on the scoreboard.

A run of four unanswered points started and ended with Fionn Dowling, as his efforts sandwiched a wonderful solo effort from Brophy and a great left-footed point from the right wing by Cribbin.

Costello (free) and Laois' only senior player, Damien O'Connor, brought the gap back to five, but Kildare finished the half strongly.

A high ball into Fogarty was misjudged by Graham Brody, who allowed the ball over his head and into the grateful arms of the Kildare man. A goal seemed inevitable, but from a tight angle Fogarty's shot hit the post and deflected to safety.

Fogarty did add another point before half-time, while Kildare's Fionn Dowling was forced off through injury after colliding with Mark O'Halloran.

If Laois were to have any hope of getting a result, they needed to make a strong start to the second half, but Kildare blitzed them early on to kill the game off.

It started with two points in as many minutes from Cribbin and Brophy, and with confidence coursing through Kildare, they cut through Laois with ease.

Hurley, Niall Kelly and Cribbin once again pushed them 11 points clear, and with Laois on the ropes, Fergal Conway's goal was the blow that put them on the canvas.

A minute later, Daniel Flynn advanced in from the right side and, meeting little resistance, he thumped a shot to the roof of the net from 14 yards out.

The game fizzled out after that, as both sides knew the outcome was beyond doubt. Kildare managed one more goal, through Hugh Mahon, as they cruised into the final.

SCORERS – Kildare: P Cribbin 0-4, H Mahon 1-1, D Flynn, F Conway 1-0 each, P Brophy, F Dowling (1f), S Hurley (1f) 0-3 each, P Fogarty, T Moolick, L McGovern (2fs) 0-2 each, D Grehan, N Kelly 0-1 each Laois: E Costello 0-5 (5fs), A Ryan, D O'Connor 0-1 each.

KILDARE – M Donnellan; M Konstantin, D Hyland, S Higgins; P Cribbin, F Conway, J Byrne; T Moolick (capt), S Hurley; L McGovern, N Kelly, D Flynn; P Brophy, F Dowling, P Fogarty. Subs: H Mahon for Dowling (30), B Egan for Hyland (43), T Gibbons for Flynn (43), C Murphy for Kelly (47), D Grehan for Brophy (55).

LAOIS – G Brody; M Campion, M O'Halloran, S Attride; W Young, P McEvoy, D Dunne; A Ryan, M Campion; K McGrath, E Costello, D O'Connor; E O'Carroll, L McGovern, P Kingston. Subs: J Farrell for McGrath (13), S Murphy for Young (h-t), K Lennon for McGovern (36), A Farrell for Kingston (43), J Campion for M Campion (48).

Ref – N Ward (Westmeath)

Irish Independent

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