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Kildare retain O'Byrne Cup as Royals fightback ends in damp squib

Midfielder Thomas Moolick’s first-half goal the Jason Ryan’s Lilywhites breathing space to hold off a Meath fightback.

Kildare's Eoghan O'Flaherty lifts the O'Byrne Cup.
Kildare's Eoghan O'Flaherty lifts the O'Byrne Cup.
Image: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Kildare 1-10

Meath 0-9

Kildare retained the O’Byrne Cup with a hard fought but ultimately deserved victory over Meath at St Conleth’s Park.

Jason Ryan’s men got the perfect start via a goal from midfielder Thomas Moolick at the end of a slick move started by half-back, Kevin Murnaghan.

Last week’s four-goal hero, Padraig Fogarty added a point but Meath responded with a point each from their full-forward line of Stephen Bray, Eamonn Wallace and Michael Newman (free) to reduce the margin to the minimum.

Kildare stretched that to a goal once more with a couple of scores, including a fine effort from Cathal McNally after Emmet Bolton had taken the ball out of defence purposefully. Meath were looking dangerous themselves, though, and points from David Larkin, Bray and Wallace brought them level.

Newman almost had a goal in injury time but Mick Foley brilliantly toe-poked his shot off the line. A Darroch Mulhall free sent the hosts into a 1-4 to 0-6 lead at the interval.

The second half was tightly contested but the Kildare defence was dominant, with Mick Foley, Kevin Murnaghan and Gary White prominent, while they managed to pick up a greater share of the midfield breaks too.

Mulhall exerted an increased influence from his deep position and two brilliant points from distance with either foot, allied with a couple of good scores from half-back Paul Cribbin, enabled the Lilywhites push into a four-point lead.

In a game of this nature, on such a heavy pitch, that was always likely to be sufficient, and Kildare held on with a degree of comfort.

Scorers for Kildare: Darroch Mulhall 0-4(2fs); T Moolick 1-0; P Cribbin 0-2; P Fogarty, C McNally, S Hurley, P Brophy 0-1 each

Scorers for Meath: Michael Newman 0-4(3fs, 1 45); E Wallace, S Bray 0-2 each; David Larkin 0-1

Kildare: Mark Donnellan, Mick O’Grady, Mick Foley, Hugh McGrillen, Kevin Murnaghan, Emmet Bolton, Paul Cribbin, Thomas Moolick, Gary White, Cathal McNally, Eoghan O’Flaherty, Seán Hurley, Paddy Brophy, Darroch Mulhall, Pádraig Fogarty. Subs: Ollie Lyons for McGrillen (50); James Gately for McNally (58); Fionn Dowling for Mulhall (68); Fergal Conway for O’Flaherty (70+1).
Meath: Conor McHugh, Donal Keogan, Michael Burke, Caolán Young, David Dalton, Eoghan Harrington, Paddy Gilsenan, Conor Gillespie, Andrew Tormey, Pádraig McKeever, Dalton McDonagh, David Larkin, Eamon Wallace, Stephen Bray, Michael Newman. Subs: K Reilly for Gillespie inj (20); Graham Reilly for McKeever (45), Damien Carroll for McDonagh (45), David Bray for Wallace (45); Shane O’Rourke for Carroll (51-53); O’Rourke for Young (53); Killian O’Sullivan for Tormey BC (60).

Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford)

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About the author:

Daragh Ó'Conchúir

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