Dublin’s third string team has sensationally knocked Kildare out of the O’Byrne Cup in Newbridge.
late scoring burst led by Conor McHugh and Niall Scully saw the visitors, managed by Paul Clarke, overcome the home side on a scoreline of 0-16 to 2-8.
Kildare were in control in the opening quarter and goals from Johnny Byrne and Daniel Flynn saw they lead 2-4 to 0-4. But the visitors hit four unanswered points coming to half time to leave two points between the sides (2-4; 0-8) at the break.
Cian O’Neill charges could never pull away in the second half as evident by the fact that they only added four points to their tally.
And at the business end of the contest they couldn’t resist Dublin’s late surge.
The Dubs will now meet Louth in the final. The Wee County reached their first O’Byrne Cup final since 2011 when they inflicted a first defeat on Navan since new boss Andy McEntee took charge.
The early exchanges were full blooded with four yellow cards being issued and one red and it was the dismissal of Meath’s Alan Forde which ultimately proved decisive.
Louth took full advantage of their numerical advantage and were two points up (0-6; 0-4) at the break. They extended that lead in the third quarter before Meath staged a mini-revival.
But late on Meath goalkeeper Jack Hannigan was black carded after he conceded a penalty.
The first action of substitute goalkeeper Joe Sheridan – no stranger to Louth fans after his illegal ‘roll over’ goal at the death in the 2010 Leinster final – was to reprieve the ball out of his own net. JimMcEneaney had slotted the penalty to give the visitors a comfortable win.
So Dublin – who last won the trophy in 2015 -and Louth will meet next Sunday in Drogheda (throw-in 2pm) for the first time in an O’Byrne Cup decider since 1999.
It is a magnificent achievement for Dublin’s young side but there is no denying the fact that the result in Newbridge is a disaster, not just for Kildare – who fielded 13 players who featured in the 2016 championship -but for the credibility of the Leinster football championship.
If one of the so-called leading football counties in the province cannot beat a Dublin team that didn’t include one of their All-Ireland winning squad what chances have they or any other of the contenders in the province of beating the real Dublin team this summer?
Meanwhile, Tyrone and Derry will meet for the second successive season in the Dr. McKenna Cup final scheduled for next Saturday night.
A goal at the death from James Kielt gave Derry a narrow win over Monaghan while in the other semi-final Tyrone failed to score a goal but were always ahead of Fermanagh.
Last year’s final was a tempestuous affair which Tyrone eventually won after extra time to take the silverware for the fifth year in a row.
Andy Moran scored two late goals from All-Ireland finalists Mayo which enabled them to squeeze past Roscommon in Kiltoom. Goalkeeper Robbie Hennelly also returned to action but despite the win Mayo exited the competition.
By virtue of their vastly superior scoring difference Roscommon advanced to meet Galway in a repeat of last year’s Connacht final in the FBD League decider.
O'Byrne Cup semi-finals
Dublin 0-16; Kildare 2-8
Louth 1-14; Meath 0-10
McKenna Cup semi-finals
Derry 2-12; Monaghan 1-13,
Tyrone 0-14 Fermanagh 0-11
Connacht SFL round 3
Mayo 4-11; Roscommon 2-16
Sligo 2-13 Leitrim 0-16