Delaney on fire as Lilywhites cruise to victory over Wicklow
Kildare 1-20 Wicklow 1-11 Leinster U21 HC 'A' Final
A dream start gave Kildare the platform for a nine-point victory over Wicklow in a balmy Aughrim.
The visitors were first out of the blocks and streaked ahead by 1-4 in the first five minutes, with the goal finished to the net by corner-forward Evan Dempsey.
However, Wicklow were back in the contest five minutes later after Mikey Lee blasted a 30-metre free to to the back of the net.
Lee's accuracy kept the home side in the hunt throughout this opening half as he lobbed over a further four points, three from frees.
Still, Kildare's Mark Delaney was on fire and his seven points from frees eased the Lilywhites into a 1-10 to 1-6 lead at the break.
Delaney and Dempsey stretched the Lilywhites' lead even further to 1-15 to 1-8 after the restart.
Wicklow's Lee looked to repeat the dose as he tried for a second goal from a free, but this time his shot was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Paddy McKenna.
Delaney kept punishing Wicklow as Kildare ran out convincing winners in a fierce, but fairly contested final.
Scorers – Kildare: M Delaney 0-13, (0-11fs), E Dempsey 1-2, G Keegan 0-3, E Doody, D Flaherty 0-1 each, Wicklow: M Lee 1-8, (1-3 fs), J Manley, J Doyle, G Weir 0-1 each.
Kildare – P McKenna; S O'Flynn, C Farrell, C Gordan; K Murphy, D Flaherty, K O'Connor; P Kennedy, J Byrne; E Doody, F Conway, N Kenny; M Delaney, G Keegan, E Dempsey. Subs: P Clifford for E Doody, D Keane for D Flaherty.
Wicklow – D O'Neill; A Myers, D Nolan, W Kavanagh; L Moloney, M O'Brien, A Conway; A Nugent, W Kinsella; J Manley, J Doyle, G Weir; M Lee, A Conyard, D Staunton. Subs: Subs f or Wicklow: J Byrne for D Staunton, E Keddy for G Weir, J Doyle for M O'Brien.
Ref – J Heffernan (Wexford).