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Kildare gain U21 revenge over Offaly as senior star shines

Niall Kelly was excellent for the Lillywhites in Portlaoise.

Kelly kicked four points as Kildare eased to victory.
Kelly kicked four points as Kildare eased to victory.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Updated at 7.00am

Kildare 3-12

Offaly 0-9

SENIOR STAR NIALL Kelly offered the inspiration as Kildare earned some Eirgrid Leinster U-21 football championship revenge on neighbours Offaly.

Kelly booted four classy points while Mark Sherry, Declan Flaherty and Neil Flynn grabbed the goals to secure a March 18 return to Portlaoise to face Meath in the semi-finals.

Offaly knocked Kildare out in two of the last three seasons and were four-point victors last year. And Pat Flanagan’s side were buoyed by Peter Cunningham’s inclusion after shoulder trouble.

But when Kelly kicked his first point after 12 minutes he moved Kildare into a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Ryan Moore moved Kildare 0-4 to 0-2 up before their 19th minute opening goal. Sherry seized on a breaking ball and bundled it over the goal line.

Kildare kicked on strongly from there and deserved their 1-8 to 0-4 half-time lead.

Offaly rallied in the third quarter with four unanswered points. Declan Byrne had a goal attempt saved when the margin was down to just three.

It was the game’s turning point as Flaherty hit Kildare’s second goal soon after, a tap in from close range after Sherry’s centre.

Offaly lost Conor McNamee to a 28th minute black card and Sean Moriarty received a straight red with 19 minutes to go.

Kildare outscored Offaly 2-4 to 0-1 in the closing period with Flynn netting after a solo run in the 63rd minute.

—–

Scorers for Kildare: Declan Flaherty and Neil Flynn (0-1f) 1-1 each, Niall Kelly 0-4 (0-1f), Mark Sherry 1-0, Ryan Moore and Chris Fenner 0-2 each, Wayne Fitzpatrick and Cein McMonagle 0-1 each.

Scorers for Offaly: Joseph Maher 0-4 (0-2f), Luke Kelly 0-2 (0-2f), Eoin Carroll, Peter Cunningham and Jamie Evans 0-1 each.

KILDARE

1. Colin Heeney (Celbridge)

4. Paul Mescaul (Maynooth)
3. Darren Maguire (Maynooth)
2. Brian Byrne (Naas)

5. Ryan Houlihan (Moorefield)
6. Pascal Connell (Athy)
7. David Hyland (Athy)

8. Ryan Moore (Moorefield)
9. David Fitzpatrick (Raheens)

10. Chris Fenner (St Laurences)
11. Mark Sherry (Two Mile House)
12. Niall Kelly (Athy)

15. Cein McMonagle (Clogherinkoe)
14. Declan Flaherty (St Kevins)
13. Neil Flynn (Maynooth)

Subs
21. Chris Healy (Two Mile House) for Flaherty (46 mins)
20. Tom Gibbons (Leixlip) for McMonagle (50 mins)
18. Shane O’Hagan (Kill) for Maguire (52 mins)
17. David Duke (Kilcock) for Connell (56 mins)
23. Wayne Fitzpatrick (Monasterevin) for Fenner (61 mins)

OFFALY

1. Jamie Colgan (Tubber)

2. Jim Hendy (Bracknagh)
3. James Lalor (Raheen)
4. Aaron Whelan (Gracefield)

7. Conor McNamee (Rhode)
18. Oisin Cusack (Durrow)
5. Darragh Corbett (Shannonbridge)

8. Eoin Carroll (Cappincur)
9. Declan Byrne (Raheen)

12. Jamie Evans (Gracefield)
22. Peter Cunningham (Bracknagh)
10. Sean Moriarty (Edenderry)

13. Ruairi McNamee (Rhode)
11. Joseph Maher (Ferbane)
15. Luke Kelly (Clara)

Subs
6. Joseph Kinahan (Tubber) for C McNamee (28 mins, black card)
14. Johnny Kavanagh for (Tullamore) for Byrne (48 mins)
23. Shane Tierney (Daingean) for R McNamee (48 mins)
20. Adam Shelly (Tullamore) for Kelly (50 mins)

Referee: Patrick Maguire (Longford).

Originally published at 9.30pm on 5 March.

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