– Niall Kelly reports from Croke Park
A SCORING MASTERCLASS from Jimmy Hyland helped Kildare to their second Leinster minor football title in three seasons.
Hyland posted a brilliant eight points, seven from play, as the Lilywhites completed a double over Longford following Saturday night’s senior qualifier win.
Conor Hartley’s early goal helped Kildare into a five-point lead at the break and they dominated the second half before eventually winning by
There was a small lunchtime crowd for the Croke Park curtain-raiser but it made no odds to Brendan Hackett’s side who held Longford scoreless until the 19th minute.
They hit the front decisively in the 11th minute when Sarsfields youngster Conor Hartley fired to the roof of the net following a powerful run by Matthew Kelly.
The eagle-eyed Hyland followed up with a point to leave the score at 1-4 to 0-0 after 13 minutes.
But Tony Devlin’s side responded with four unanswered points to keep alive their hopes of a first minor crown since 2010.
Darragh Doherty sparked Longford’s revival in the 19th minute before points from Rory Hawkins and a double from captain Conor Berry, one of their more impressive performers, brought them back to within a goal.
But Hyland reeled off two more points in additional time to give Kildare a five-point cushion at the break.
Kildare burst from the traps after the restart and killed the game inside 10 minutes, outscoring Longford by 1-5 to a single point.
Clane’s Ciaran Kelly bagged their second goal with an emphatic finish following a fine kick pass from Matthew Kelly.
Even with victory effectively secure, Kildare kept their focus at the back and goalkeeper Declan Campbell made a fine double save to deny Joe Heaney and then Cathal McCabe.
Their consolation did arrive at the death when Berry scored to cut the final margin.
But this was Kildare’s day.
Scorers for Kildare: Jimmy Hyland 0-8 (1f), Conor Hartley, Ciaran Kelly (1f) 1-1 each, Brian McLoughlin 0-2, Ethan O’Donohue, Matthew Kelly (1f), Aaron Murphy (1 45) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Longford: Conor Berry 1-2, Jayson Matthews 0-2 (1f), Darragh Doherty, Rory Hawkins, Neil Devlin, Cian Finnan, Peter Lynn 0-1 each.
1. Declan Campbell (Raheens)
2. Ronan Slattery (Eadestown)
3. Mike Joyce (Round Towers)
4. Darren Lawlor (Rheban)
5. Sam Doran (Ballyna)
6. Shea Ryan (Sarsfields)
7. Sean Healy (Moorefield)
8. Daniel Courtney (Kilcock)
9. Rory Feely (Athy)
10. Conor Hartley (Sarsfields)
11. Ethan O’Donohue (Clane)
12. Brian McLoughlin (Clane)
13. Ciaran Kelly (Clane)
14. Matthew Kelly (Round Towers)
15. Jimmy Hyland (Aylmer Gaels)
23. Stefan Lawler for Doran (black card, 25)
20. Kevin O’Callaghan for M Kelly (49)
21. Gavin Burke for Slattery (51)
24. Eoin O’Neill for McLoughlin (53)
22. Aaron Murphy for C Kelly (55)
1. Michael Hughes (Emmet Óg Killoe)
20. Ryan Moffat (Emmet Óg Killoe)
3. Ronan Sheahan (Longford Slashers)
4. Cillian Lee (St Brigid’s)
5. Cian Brady (Abbeylara)
2. Michael Cahill (Carrickredmond)
7. Kevin Sorohan (Rathcline)
8. Conor Berry (capt, Abbeylara)
9. Enda Farrell (Carrickredmond)
10. Cathal McCabe (Colmcille)
11. Peter Lynn (Grattan Óg)
12. Jayson Matthews (St Columba’s)
13. Rory Hawkins (Colmcille)
14. Peter Hanley (Clonguish)
15. Darragh Doherty (Mostrim)
23. Liam Barry for Lee (17)
19. Ruairi Harkins for Brady (34)
17. Joe Heaney for Hawkins (40)
21. Russel Brady for Doherty (43)
18. Cian Finnan for McCabe (51)
22. Neil Devlin for Sorohan (56)
Referee: Fergal Smyth (Offaly)