Kildare show up well in Leinster final but Dublin make it 11 titles in-a-row

Daniel Flynn slammed in a 62nd minute goal for Kildare.

Dublin 0-20

Kildare 1-9

DUBLIN SET-UP an All-Ireland semi-final showdown with Mayo after picking up their 11th Leinster crown in-a-row. 

jonny-cooper-lifts-the-delaney-cup-for-dublin-as-leinster-champions Dublin's Jonny Cooper lifts the Delaney Cup for Dublin as Leinster champions. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The eight point winning margin was Dublin’s lowest in a provincial decider since 2013, so credit must go to Kildare for a spirited display. However, a tally of 1-9 was never going to beat Dublin and realistically they needed another two goals to stand a chance of causing a major upset. 

After missing nine of 18 shots in the opening period, Dublin scored 11 out of their 12 shots at the posts after half-time. It wasn’t a vintage display but they showed good composure to manage the game in the second-half. Colm Basquel had a late goal ruled out for over carrying when a green flag would have put a gloss on this win. 

Dublin aren’t blowing teams away but they’re still alive and kicking. Dessie Farrell’s side find themselves in the last four of the All-Ireland series and are 70 minutes away from their seventh final in succession.

It was Dublin’s most consistent performance of the championship, although they’re still playing a level or two below their brilliant best of recent years. Farrell lacks the sort of punch off his bench they had during the Jim Gavin era. They’ve scored just a point off the bench in their wins over Meath and Kildare, with Ryan Basquel contributing the sole score by a substitute today.

Captain Jonny Cooper lifted the trophy in what was the first time Dublin have prevailed in Leinster without former skipper Stephen Cluxton since 1995, barring the 2018 decider which he missed through injury.

Kildare put up a decent fight for the opening 40 minutes or so, when Dublin took over. And they appeared to be coasting towards a double-digit victory when a moment of magic from Daniel Flynn gave the Lilywhites a lifeline in the 62nd minute.

The former AFL man stripped James McCarthy of all people from a short kick-out, skipped past Jonny Cooper and stuck it into the top corner. That brought Kildare back to within five but, as they did against Meath in the semi-final, Dublin methodically worked scoring opportunities to give them the win. 

Kildare didn’t have the fitness levels to last the full 75 minutes here but Jack O’Connor has got a tune from this young group and they’re on the right path. Ultimately they paid the price for shooting seven wides and dropped seven into Evan Comerford’s hands. 

paddy-small-and-ryan-houlihan Dublin’s Paddy Small and Ryan Houlihan of Kildare. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Brian Fenton and Con O’Callaghan were subdued and well-marshalled by Mark Dempsey and Luke Flynn respectively. When Dublin needed it in the second period, Ciaran Kilkenny stood up and finished with four points, as did Cormac Costello who performed well in fits and starts.

John Small returned from a hamstring injury he suffered in the league draw against Kerry to start in place of Peadar Ó Cofaigh Byrne. He was withdrawn after 41 minutes after sustaining a cut above his eye, allowing Farrell get valuable game-time into Murchan on his first outing of the summer.

Injured 2020 All-Star nominee Robbie McDaid and Kevin McManamon, who is in Tokyo as performance coach with the Irish boxers, the most notable absentees. 

O’Connor was adamant that Kildare arrived into the game having already reached their goals. They sealed promotion to Division 1 and reached the provincial decider, yet he clearly wasn’t content to just show up today and take their beating, despite the significant losses of Kevin Feely, Eoin Doyle and Paul Cribbin. 

Kildare were well set-up in the opening period. David Hyland dropped back as seventh defender, with Fergal Conway sitting back onto the half-back line as they looked to deal with Dublin’s runners from deep

Dublin posted Davy Byrne on danger man Daniel Flynn, and Mick Fitzsimons on Jimmy Hyland in a two-man Kildare full-forward line. Jonny Cooper dropped off as free man, though he was more concerned with Flynn, and Hyland had some joy early on.

The diminutive forward clipped two points as the sides were level at 0-3 apiece after 11 minutes. His performance level dipped as the game went on and Fitzsimons tightened up, before the U20 All-Ireland winner was withdrawn on 58 minutes.

A slick move saw Cormac Costello curl over and McCarthy burst through for a point after a neat move involving Costello and Niall Scully. Dublin’s attacking play was a bit individual and they missed nine shots in the opening 35 minutes. 

Ciaran Kilkenny sent two wide and Paddy Small hit the post and dropped another short. Scully and Small were guilty of kicking passes away, while Kilkenny was twice called for over carrying. 

The Sky Blues improved in the second quarter, outscoring Kildare by 0-4 to 0-1. O’Connor urged the Lilywhites to retain the ball and they largely did so, although they shot from too far out. They dropped five shots short and sent another three wide, with Ben McCormack responsible for four misses.

con-ocallaghan-with-jimmy-hyland-and-shea-ryan Dublin's Con O’Callaghan with Jimmy Hyland and Shea Ryan of Kildare. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Those missed chances sucked the life out of Kildare’s challenge and they needed the half-time whistle to arrive when it did. Dublin had started to swarm forward in waves and continued in that fashion after the break

A stunning score from Flynn gave O’Connor’s side a bright start to the second period.

Kildare looked a little leggy going it at the interval and they ran out of steam in the third quarter. They dropped 14 bodies behind the ball and Dublin controlled the proceedings, picking off the scores from outside the arch. 

Scully started to find himself in scoring possession and raised the white flag once off either foot, the second one arriving from a mark after Flynn was turned over. Kilkenny was moving into pockets of space and he curled over two in the space of a minute. 

Neil Flynn and Alex Beirne arrowed over scores, but it was all Kildare could muster in the third quarter. They went into the second water break seven behind before Flynn’s goal gave them life. 

Dublin responded with a flurry of scores. Kilkenny did extremely well to claim a mark and fire it over. Costello added a quick fire brace and Ryan Basquel added another before the end. 

And so we move on to another Dublin-Mayo encounter at the latter stages of the All-Ireland series. 

Scorers for Dublin: Dean Rock 0-5 (0-3f), Ciaran Kilkenny 0-4 (0-1m), Cormac Costello 0-4, Niall Scully (0-1m) 0-2, James McCarthy, Brian Howard, Paddy Small, Con O’Callaghan and Ryan Basquel 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kildare: Daniel Flynn 1-2 (0-1m), Jimmy Hyland 0-4 (0-2f), Alex Beirne, Neil Flynn, Brian McLoughlin 0-1 each. 


1. Evan Comerford (Ballymun Kickhams)

2. Michael Fitzsimons (Cuala), 3. David Byrne (Naomh Olaf)

4. Jonny Cooper (Na Fianna)

6. Brian Howard (Raheny), 26. John Small (Ballymun Kickhams), 7. Seán McMahon (Raheny).

8. Brian Fenton (Raheny),  5. James McCarthy (Ballymun Kickhams)

10. Paddy Small (Ballymun Kickhams), 14. Con O’Callaghan (Cuala) , 12. Niall Scully (Templeogue Synge Street)

13. Cormac Costello (Whitehall Colmcille), 11. Ciarán Kilkenny (Castleknock) 15. Dean Rock (Ballymun Kickhams) 


22. Eoin Murchan (Na Fianna) for John Small (41)

What are they
really like?

Rare insights on sport's biggest names from the writers who know them best. Listen to Behind the Lines podcast.

Become a Member

17. Colm Basquel (Ballyboden St Enda’s) for Rock (53)

19. Sean Bugler (Oliver Plunketts ER) for Paddy Small (61)

20. Tom Lahiff (St Jude’s) for Cooper (68)

18. Ryan Basquel (Ballyboden St Enda’s) for Scully (70)

24. Emmet O Coghaile (Lucan Sarsfields) for Kilkenny (73)


1. Mark Donnellan (Maynooth) 

3. Mick O’Grady (Celbridge), 17. Shea Ryan (Sarsfields) 18. Darragh Malone (Allenwood)

6. David Hyland (Athy)

5. Ryan Houlihan (Moorefield), 2. Mark Dempsey (Moorefield),  7. Kevin Flynn (Celbridge).

8. Luke Flynn (Johnstownbridge),  9. Aaron Masterson (Moorefield)

13. Ben McCormack (Sarsfields), 11. Fergal Conway (Celbridge), 12. Neil Flynn (Maynooth)

14. Daniel Flynn (Johnstownbridge), 15. Jimmy Hyland (Ballyteague) 


10. Alex Beirne (Naas) for Conway (45)

20. Niall Kelly (Athy) for Houlihan (45)

22. Darragh Kirwan (Naas) for Jimmy Hyland (58)

19. Brian McLoughlin (Claonadh) for Neil Flynn (61)

21. Shane O’Sullivan (Claonadh) for McCormack (64)

Referee: Martin McNally (Monaghan) 

About the author:

Kevin O'Brien  / Reports from Croke Park

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel