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Five-star Dublin put Kildare to the sword in one-sided Leinster final

Con O’Callaghan grabbed 1-5 as Dessie Farrell’s team completed the Leinster 12-in-a-row.

Dublin’s Ciaran Kilkenny scores the first goal of the game.
Dublin’s Ciaran Kilkenny scores the first goal of the game.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Dublin 5-17

Kildare 1-15

THOUGH WE’VE WITNESSED PLENTY of ruthless Dublin performances over the years, this was right up there as their most devastating.

The pre-game chatter that Kildare might put it up to Dessie Farrell’s men looked fanciful by half-time. Dublin ran in five goals inside 27 minutes, powering to a 16-point advantage.

Their final tally of 5-17 was the joint highest ever scored in a Leinster final. They shot just six wides over the course of the game as their attack sparkled throughout.

Con O’Callaghan is enjoying some of his best form in the Dublin jersey. The man-of-the-match reeled off 1-5, thriving off the quality of delivery from his team-mates.

O’Callaghan’s directness and willingness to bring team-mates into play had the Kildare defence chasing shadows all evening.  Cormac Costello chipped in with two goals and Dean Rock was accurate on frees as Dublin’s full-forward line contributed 3-10.

That seals Dublin’s 61st Leinster title, their 12th in-a-row and 16th in 17 seasons. 

It confirmed what we already expected. Dublin are very much back in form and will have a major say in the destination of the Sam Maguire later this summer.

james-mccarthy-lifts-the-cup James McCarthy lifts the cup. Source: Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO

Kildare were were chasing their first win over Dublin since 2000, but a repeat was never on the cards. By the time the final whistle sounded, their league win over Dublin in February felt like a lifetime ago.

Dublin were unchanged from the semi-final, although Dessie Farrell made some positional switches. Brian Howard moved to wing-back with John Small at centre. Sean Bugler assumed the centre-forward role, switching with Lorcan O’Dell, who was a late introduction to the team in place of Jonny Cooper. 

There had been concerns over the Kildare defence coming into this game but no-one could have predicted how they were torn apart by Dublin’s attack. 

Dublin’s ploy of keeping their three inside forwards close to goal before breaking into space for the kick-pass caused chaos. Kildare were naive defensively, standing off Dublin and failing to make any contact on the ball carriers. 

They failed to track runners from deep and when Dublin payed the ball inside 

Dublin hit the net twice inside the first seven minutes. It was exactly the start Kildare needed to avoid. They added further goals in the 16th, 19th and 27th minutes in a display of champagne football. 

They led by 5-5 to 0-4 after 27 minutes, with Kildare in utter disarray. 

Sean Bugler was at the heart of three of those goals. He delivered a cross-field pass to O’Callaghan for Ciaran Kilkenny’s opener, and hand passed to Cormac Costello and John Small for their three-pointers. 

Costello’s first goal had a touch of fortune to it. Dean Rock’s point attempt bounced back off the post and the Whitehall Colmcilles man duly stuck it home.   

At the far end, Kildare were forcing things. While Ben McCormack curled over two nice scores, they left seven scoring chances behind them in the first 35 minutes. Many of them were pot-shots from distance that Dublin were happy to allow them take on. 

Paul Cribbin dropped one short and Darragh Kirwan shot a couple of wides. Enigmatic forward Daniel Flynn tried to conjure a goal from nothing, taking on the entire Dublin defence but he blazed his effort wide.

ben-mccormack-and-john-small Kildare's Ben McCormack takes on John Small. Source: Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO

Kildare brought more intent and energy after the restart. Glenn Ryan introduced Paddy Woodgate and David Hyland at the interval. He brought Daniel Flynn out to centre-forward and pushed Ben McCormack inside.

McCormack was one of the few Kildare players who could say he played near his potential on the day. He brought his tally to four with a couple of well-taken scores.

O’Callaghan continued to do damage for Dublin and Fenton stroked over his third. 

Kildare did hit the net through a Jimmy Hyland placed finish after good link-up play between Daniel and Kevin Flynn cut Dublin open. 

Niall Scully arrived off the bench and made a big impact, setting up a score for Aaron Byrne and adding one himself. Fittingly, O’Callaghan had the final say for Dublin with two late scores. Dublin roll on. 

Scorers for Dublin: Con O’Callaghan 1-5 (0-1m), Cormac Costello 2-1, Dean Rock 0-4 (0-4f), Ciaran Kilkenny and John Small 1-0 each, Brian Fenton 0-3, Lee Gannon 0-2, Aaron Byrne and Niall Scully 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kildare: Jimmy Hyland 1-4 (0-3f), Ben McCormack 0-5 (0-1m), Kevin Feely 0-2 (0-1m), Paul Cribbin, Darragh Kirwan, Kevin Flynn and Paddy Woodgate (0-1f) 0-1 each.

Dublin

1. Evan Comerford (Ballymun Kichams)

2. Eoin Murchan (Na Fianna), 3. Michael Fitzsimons (Cuala), 4. Lee Gannon (Whitehall Colmcille)

7. James McCarthy (Ballymun Kichams), 5. John Small (Ballymun Kickhams), 11. Brian Howard (Raheny)

8. Brian Fenton (Raheny), 9. Tom Lahiff (St. Jude’s)

24. Lorcan O’Dell (Templeogue Synge Street), 10. Seán Bugler (St. Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh), 12. Ciarán Kilkenny (Castleknock)

13. Cormac Costello (Whitehall Colmcille), 15. Dean Rock (Ballymun Kickhams), 14. Con O’Callaghan (Cuala)

Subs

26. Niall Scully (Templeogue Synge Street) for O’Dell (45)

22. Cian Murphy (Thomas Davis) for Murchan (51)

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17. Aaron Byrne (Na Fianna) for Rock (59)

6. Jonny Cooper (Na Fianna) for Lahiff (65)

25. Brian O’Leary (Na Fianna) for Costello (70)

Kildare 

1. Mark Donnellan (Maynooth)

3. Shea Ryan (Sarsfields), 2. Mick O’Grady (Celbridge), 4. Ryan Houlihan (Moorefield)

7. Kevin Flynn (Celbridge), 6. James Murray (Moorefield), 5. Tony Archbold (Celbridge)

8. Kevin Feely (Athy), 9. Kevin O’Callaghan (Celbridge)

10. Alex Beirne (Naas), 11. Ben McCormack (Sarsfields), 12. Paul Cribbin (Johnstownbridge)

13. Darragh Kirwan (Naas), 14. Daniel Flynn (Johnstownbridge), 15. Jimmy Hyland (Ballyteague)

Subs

21. Paddy Woodgate (Raheny) for Kirwan (ht)

17. David Hyland (Athy) for Murray (ht)

18. Paddy McDermott (Naas) for Cribbin (49)

26. Darragh Malone (Allenwood) for Archbold (59)

24. Fergal Conway (Celbridge) for Beirne (68)

Referee: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon)

About the author:

Kevin O'Brien  / Reports from Croke Park

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