A WONDER GOAL from Neil Flynn, seconds after Ruairí Ó Coileáin was denied at the other end by a splendid Colin Heeney save, cemented Kildare’s progression past Meath tonight to the Eirgrid Leinster U21FC final.
Flynn came up with a stunningly-composed finish after beating four defenders with a blistering run and that gave them enough breathing space to see out the game.
After an edgy start, Kildare gradually imposed themselves in the first half. Niall Kelly and Chris Healy had a dangerous look about them with the senior player on the mark twice as Bryan Murphy’s side led by three after 19 minutes.
A pair of frees from Ó Coileáin kept Meath in touch but Kildare scored four of the last five points to put a more accurate reflection on the scoreboard.
Healy, who won a junior club All-Ireland with Two Mile House 12 months ago, started the run with a good finish after twisting and turning to make space well. Flynn slotted a free and after Padraic Harnan notched up Meath’s fifth point, Kelly and Chris Fenner hit the target to give the Lilies a 0-9 to 0-5 interval lead.
Meath’s goal chance arrived after 30 seconds and Flynn rewarded Heeney’s brilliance in fabulous fashion two minutes later.
It was crucial as though Kildare did go seven points ahead with that major, the excellent Ó Coileáin kicked four points to reduce the margin to a goal.
Kildare showed their mettle with a strong finish including an injury-time goal from Cein McMonagle to book their place in the final.
Scorers for Kildare: Neil Flynn 1-6(0-4fs); Niall Kelly 0-4; Cein McMonagle 1-0, Chris Healy, Chris Fenner 0-2 each; David Fitzpatrick 0-1
Scorers for Meath: Ruairí Ó Coileáin 0-8(6fs); Eamon Wallace 0-3; Padraic Harnan, Paddy Kennelly 0-1 each.
1. Colin Heeney (Celbridge)
4. Paul Mescal (Maynooth)
3. Darren Maguire (Maynooth)
2. Brian Byrne (Naas)
5. Ryan Houlihan (Moorefield)
17. David Duke
7. David Hyland (Athy)
8. Ryan Moore (Moorefield)
6. Pascal Connell (Athy)
11. Mark Sherry (Two Mile House)
10. Chris Fenner (St Laurence’s)
9. David Fitzpatrick (Raheens)
13. Neil Flynn (Maynooth)
12. Niall Kelly (Athy)
21. Chris Healy
14. Declan Flaherty (St Kevin’s) for Fenner (54)
15. Cein McMonagle (Clogherinkoe) for Healy (54)
22. Tommy O’Connell for Houlihan (black card) (57)
1. Jack Hannigan (Donaghmore Ashbourne)
2. Michael Flood (St. Brigid’s)
3. Gavin Mc Gowan (Ratoath)
4. Liam Ferguson (Gaeil Colmcille)
5. Shane Dowling (St. Patrick’s)
6. Brian Power (Ratoath)
7. Shane McEntee (C) (St. Peters Dunboyne)
8. Adam Flanagan (Clonard)
9. Harry Rooney (Skryne)
10. Padraic Harnan (Moynalvey)
11. Rúairí Ó Coileain (Navan O Mahony’s)
12. Conor Rooney (Ratoath)
13. Joseph Wallace (Ratoath)
14. Paddy Kennelly (Dunderry)
15. Eamon Wallace (Ratoath)
19. Ben Duggan for Harry Rooney (35)
24. James McEntee for Conor Rooney (46)
21. Michael Reilly for Flood (49)
23. Barry Dardis for Kennelly (54)
17. Fiachra Ward for McEntee (59)