Hyland leads Lilies' charge to Leinster minor glory
Kildare 2-15 Longford 1-9
Scoring sensation Jimmy Hyland fired Kildare to their second minor title in three years with a scintillating display at Croke Park.
Hyland scored 0-8 for the Lilies as they easily overpowered Longford by nine points to avenge last year’s Leinster final defeat against Dublin. Although the first half was a tight affair, Kildare took a five-point lead at half-time and blitzed Longford early in the second half to set up a comfortable victory.
Similar to their 2013 Leinster final win against Westmeath, when they won by 2-15 to 2-6, Kildare were cruising by the finish. Conor Hartley’s first-half goal set Kildare on their way although they were only three points clear approaching the end of the first half.
Hartley netted in the 11th minute with a brilliant strike and his goal stood between the sides after 30 minutes. Kildare kicked two more points before the break to open up a 1-6 to 0-4 lead at the interval and they quickly added 1-3 after half-time to end the game as a contest. Longford were blown out of the water at the start of the second half. Hyland pointed within two minutes of the restart and Ciarán Kelly fired home a superb second goal two minutes later after a beautifully weighted pass from midfielder Rory Feely.
Hyland added another fine point as Kildare seized total control. Longford added just two points in a dismal third quarter and they were playing for pride long before the finish. Midfielder Conor Berry did at least net a late consolation goal for the midlanders, although Kildare could have added more goals.
Substitute Kevin O’Callaghan was denied by a brilliant block in the dying seconds but Aaron Murphy coolly converted the resulting ’45 to conclude a fabulous afternoon for the young Lilies.
For Kildare, the focus will quickly turn to the All-Ireland series, where they have failed to make an impression in recent seasons. Roscommon dumped them out at the quarter-final stage in 2013 when they were Leinster champions while All-Ireland champions Kerry knocked them out in last year’s quarter-final. Kildare have been beaten in three All-Ireland quarter-finals since 2010.
Getting beyond the last eight will be the priority for Brendan Hackett and his management team once the dust settles on this year’s provincial success.
SCORERS - Kildare: J Hyland 0-8 (1f); C Kelly 1-2 (1f); C Hartley 1-1; B McLoughlin 0-2; A Murphy ('45), E O'Donoghue 0-1 each. Longford: C Berry 1-2; J Matthews 0-2 (1f); R Hawkins, P Lynn, C Finnan, D Doherty, L Barry 0-1 each.
KILDARE - D Campbell; R Slattery, M Joyce, D Lawlor; S Doran, S Ryan, S Healy; D Courtney, R Feely; C Hartley, E O'Donoghue, B McLoughlin; C Kelly, M Kelly, J Hyland. Subs: S Lawlor for Doran (BC, 24); K O'Callaghan for M Kelly (49); G Burke for Slattery (51); E O'Neill for McLoughlin (53); A Murphy for C Kelly (55).
LONGFORD - M Hughes; M Cahill, R Sheahan, C Lee; C Brady, C Farrell, K Sorohan; C Berry, E Farrell; C McCabe, P Lynn, J Matthews; R Hawkins, P Hanley, D Doherty. Subs: L Barry for Lee (inj, 13); R Harkins for Brady (39); J Heaney for Hawkins (40); R Brady for Doherty (43); C Finnan for McCabe (51); N Devlin for Sorohan (56).
REF - F Smyth (Offaly)