Lilywhites seize control with late push
Kildare 2-14 Offaly 1-6
Last year's runners up Kildare scored the last eight points to book their place in the Leinster U-21 semi-final at Hawkfield last night.
Goals in either half by Chris Healy and Cein McMonagle put Kildare in charge before Offaly got back to within three points but Kildare pulled clear in the final quarter.
Despite playing into a strong wind during the first half, Kildare led 1-4 to 0-4 at the half-time following an excellent goal by Healy in the final minute before the break. Neil Flynn delivered an excellent ball into Healy and he turned away from James Lalor before shooting into the Offaly net.
Conor Hartley and Ben McCormack struck points in the second half either side of McMonagle's 39th-minute goal, just 30 seconds after coming on as substitute, to put Kildare eight points clear. Offaly responded well though and points from Ruairi McNamee and Shane Tierney was followed by a 45th-minute Gio Russo goal.
That looked like setting up a grandstand finale but instead, Kildare took complete control. Ryan Houlihan, McCormack, Luke and Neil Flynn and Hartley all scored fine points to round off an impressive win for Bryan Murphy's team.
Scorers - Kildare: N Flynn 0-5 (2f, 1 '45); C Healy 1-2; C McMonagle 1-0; L Flynn, B McCormack, C Hartley 0-2 each; R Houlihan 0-1. Offaly: G Russo 1-0; R McNamee, S Tierney (1f) 0-2 each; J Walsh, A Mahon 0-1 each.
Kildare - D Campbell; E Bateman, D Maguire, P Mescal; R Houlihan, S Ryan, B Byrne; L Flynn, P Connell; C Hartley, B Kelly, M Sherry; B McCormack, C Healy, N Flynn. Subs: C Kavanagh for Sherry (BC, 33); C McMonagle for Kelly (38); R Feely for L Flynn (52); C Scanlon for Healy (57); M Hyland for Ryan (58); J Costello for Houlihan (60).
Offaly - J Colgan; D Dempsey, J Lalor, C Doyle; A Mahon, D Byrne, D O'Toole; O Cusack, R McEvoy; C Farrell, R McNamee, J Evans; J Walsh, A McDonnell, S Tierney. Subs: G Russo for McDonnell (BC, 16); G Hutchison for O'Toole (50); PJ Daly for McEvoy (57); C Horan for Lalor (59); J Lowry for Tierney (59); A Heffernan for Farrell (60).
Ref - S Mulhare (Laois)