Peter McNulty Tournament round one
The Kildare U21 footballers got their season off to a fine start with a hard fought three-point win over Wexford in the opening round of the Peter McNulty Tournament at the Wexford Centre of Excellence in Ferns last night.
Bryan Murphy named a young side for the season's opener, starting with Barry Kelly as the only survivor from the Kildare side that lost out to Dublin in the U21 Leinster final last year, while there were a raft of players from the provincial winning minor side of 2016 that were promoted to the team.
Luke Mullins, Mark Dempsey, Aaron Masterson, Cian Costigan, Sam Doran and Paddy Woodgate were all given their chance in their first year out of minor, and it was Doran who bagged the all important goal as the Lilywhites overturned a three-point deficit early in the second half to down their opponents.
A low-scoring first half left the scores tied at 0-3 apiece, with Paddy Woodgate opening Kildare's account from a free in the ninth minute, before Barry Kelly and Eoghan Boyle added a couple of points in as many minutes with 10 minutes left in the first half.
The game opened up after the interval, and after Eoghan Boyle had cancelled out an early Wexford point, the Slaneysiders took the initiative in the 34th minute to score the game's opening goal. They would go on to score just three more points in the final 25 minutes of action however, with Kildare turning the screw and stamping their authority on proceedings.
Doran's 36th minute goal levelled matters at 1-4 apiece, before Cian Costigan kicked the visitors into the lead for the first time via a free. Points from Ian Meehan and Rúádhan O'Giollan came between a couple of scores from Woodgate, before Moorefield man Meehan finished off the game by clipping over his second of the evening as Kildare finished strongly.
Next up for the U21 footballers is a clash with Clare in the second round in Hawkfield next Saturday at 2pm.
Kildare starting team:
Luke Mullins(Naas); Stephen Comerford(Round Towers), Mark Dempsey(Moorefield), James Healy(Sarsfields); Rúádhan O'Giollan(Maynooth), Jamie Flynn(Round Towers), Shane Maughan(Ellistown); Aaron Masterson(Moorefield), Daniel Courtney (Kilcock), Cian Costigan(Sarsfields), Barry Kelly(Athy), Chris Byrne(Clane); Paddy Woodgate(Raheens), Eoghan Boyle(Rathangan), Sam Doran(JTB/Balyna)
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