Jackie Cahill reports from Croke Park
BRENDAN HACKETT’S KILDARE have retained their Electric Ireland Leinster minor football championship crown.
The Lilywhites ran out comfortable winners by 11 points against Laois at Croke Park this afternoon, despite registering 13 wides.
It was a first provincial final appearance in this grade for Laois since 2007 and while full-forward David Whelan contributed seven points, they were outclassed by a more powerful Kildare outfit.
Kildare, playing in their fourth successive Leinster minor final, led by 0-9 to 0-4 at half-time and on the balance of play, that five-point advantage was justified.
They’d also kicked seven first half wides but three unanswered points in stoppage time at the end of the half provided the young Lilywhites with a real buffer.
A free from leading scorer Jimmy Hyland rewarded Brian McLoughlin’s driving run before impressive captain McLoughlin and sub Cian Costigan added points.
Those scores were killers for Laois, who had worked their way back to within two points after falling 0-2 to 0-6 behind.
But Kildare had the better goal chances too as McLoughlin’s effort was well blocked by Richie Hitchcock in the seventh minute before Jack Robinson, shooting for a point three minutes later, rattled the crossbar.
Laois wing forward Ciaran Comerford had a sighter approaching half-time but blazed over the bar, a score that ended a 12-minute barren spell for the O’Moore boys.
Kildare appeared to have the greater running power and exposed holes in the Laois defence.
Tony Archbold steamed forward from wing-back for two points as Kildare asked the questions and forced Laois on the back foot.
Laois did open the second half with two points from Whelan but Kildare then bagged six without reply to put the game to bed.
And Jack Robinson’s goal five minutes from time added gloss to the scoreboard from a Kildare perspective.
Scorers for Kildare: Jimmy Hyland 0-7 (4f), Jack Robinson 1-1, Brian McLoughlin 0-3, Tony Archbold & Ciaran Kelly 0-2 each, Kevin Foley, Cian Costigan & Paddy Woodgate 0-1 each.
Scorers for Laois: David Whelan 0-7 (4f), James O’Connor, Adam Deering & Ciaran Comerford 0-1 each.
1. Luke Mullins (Naas)
2. John O’Toole (Monasterevin)
3. Mark Dempsey (Moorefield)
4. David Shaw (Naas)
5. Tony Archbold (Celbridge)
6. Jason Gibbons (Kilcock)
7. Sam Doran (Johnstownbridge/Balyna)
8. David Marnell (Sarsfields)
9. Aaron Masterson (Clogherinkoe/Balyna)
12. Kevin Foley (Sallins)
11. David Kelly (Carbury)
10. Jack Robinson (Clogherinkoe/Balyna)
13. Ciaran Kelly (Clane)
14. Brian McLoughlin (Clane – captain)
15. Jimmy Hyland (Ballyteague/Aylmer Gaels)
24. Cian Costigan (Sarsfields) for Kelly (21)
21. Paddy Woodgate (Raheens) for Foley (46)
18. Danny O’Sullivan (Maynooth) for Archbold (50)
22. James Burke (Naas) for McLoughlin (59)
1. Ross McGrath (Portarlington)
2. James Kelly (St Joseph’s)
3. Diarmuid Bennett (Portarlington)
4. Richie Hitchcock (Park Ratheniska)
5. Shane Bolger (Killeshin)
6. Sean Byrne (Portarlington – captain)
7. James O’Connor (Timahoe)
8. Liam Delaney (Ballyroan Abbey)
9. Max Connolly (Ballyfin)
10. Finbarr Crowley (Emo)
11. Adam Deering (Killeshin)
12. Ciaran Comerford (The Harps)
13. Alan Kinsella (Courtwood)
14. Diarmuid Whelan (Ballyroan Abbey)
15. Johnny Kelly (O’Dempsey’s)
24. Robert Tyrell (Camross) for Delaney (h.t.)
22. John Kavanagh (Portlaoise) for Johnny Kelly (h.t.)
23. Mark McDermott (Killeshin) for Comerford (36)
21. Evan Lowry (Killeshin) for Kinsella (42)
20. Dylan Feane (Portlaoise) for Crowley (47)
19. Caomhan Brennan (Arles-Kilcruise) for O’Connor (49)
Referee: Barry Tiernan (Dublin).
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