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Kelly sparks Lilywhites goal rush to blow Cavan out of water

Kildare's Ciaran Kelly played the captain's role to perfection with two goals as the Lilywhites lifted their first Junior provincial title since 2004 at St Conleth's Park last night.

There were times when the football lacked the quality you might expect from a Leinster final -- Kildare kicked 17 wides and didn't get their first score until the 16th minute.

However, the Lilies scored 4-4 in the second half to secure the trophy.

Kelly's goal saw Kildare go in 1-4 to 0-4 ahead at the break, but the Lilywhites went goal crazy in the second period.

Kelly got his team's second goal when he fisted home Paddy Meagher's pass in the 36th minute.

Two points was as close as Cavan could get thereafter and the game was as good as finished when Mikey Conway shot past Alan O'Mara with 10 minutes to go.

That goal knocked the stuffing out of Cavan and although Ryan McCormack hit back with a point for Val Andrews' side, Kildare signed off in style with two goals in the final three minutes.

Substitute Dan Campbell was only on the pitch a matter of moments when he deftly finished past O'Mara and Eoghan Carew's scrambled finish was the perfect ending for the home team.

Scorers -- Kildare: C Kelly 2-1 (0-1f), M Conway, D Campbell, E Carew 1-0 each, D Mulhall (2f), P Meagher 0-2 each, J Gately, P Dunne, T Archbold 0-1 each. Cavan: K Fannin 1-2, J O'Reilly 0-3 (1f), D Meehan, S Gaffney, T Reilly, R McCormack 0-1 each.

Kildare -- R Eyres; D McEvoy, C Fitzpatrick, R Walsh; M Kelly, J Doyle, J Browne; P Dunne, E Carew; J Lambe, M Conway, C Kelly; D Mulhall, P Meagher, J Gately. Subs: C Murphy for J Lambe (h-t), T Moolick for Kelly (43), T Archbold for Mulhall (45), D Campbell for Gately (58), M Fitzharris for Conway (60).

Cavan -- A O'Mara; T Hyland, S McCormack, K Reilly; T Reilly, R Maloney-Derham, D Graham; S Gaffney, E King; S Jordan, D Meehan, K Fannin; C McClarey, J O'Reilly, J Brady. Subs: R McCormack for Brady (42), P King for Gaffney (42), J Hayes for T Reilly (49), P McCabe for Meehan (53), C Smith for King (55).

Ref -- P Kneel (Louth).

Irish Independent