By Robert Cribbin
The Kildare under 21 Hurlers bowed out of the All Ireland Championship after a strong Kerry team got the better of them by twelve points in the Quarter-Final at the Gaelic Grounds.
Kerry were always in a great degree of control with Fionan Mackessy and Michael Leane getting first half goals and with Shane Conway also scoring nine points, they always had enough.
On paper Kildare had a decent forward line with half of it part of the Christy Ring Cup winning team with Shane Ryan, Jack Sheridan and James Burke all involved.
Kerry were able to get a stranglehold on Kildare from midfield up and even though Kildare tried to stir a comeback in the second half it fell way short.
Sheridan and Burke were the best of the Kildare brigade as they scored 2-6 between them but it wasn’t their day as a fancied Kerry team move on.
It took only two minutes for the Kingdom to get on the board with late change Jack O’Sullivan knocking over after being found by Shane Conway.
Kildare replied in great style though as James Burke won the ball in the square from a long delivery and despite being surrounded by a number of Kerry players, the Naas man was still able to square the ball across goal and Jack Sheridan was there to force the ball to the net.
That Kildare goal was more an arbitration rather than the rule though as points from Jordan Conway and Maurice O’Connor brought the teams level.
O’Sullivan gave Kerry the lead with a well taken effort from distance after which Niall O’Mahony and Shane Conway got in on the act as they went into a 0-6 to 1-0 lead.
Kerry then found the net in the 11th minute when a brilliant crossfield ball from Tomas O’Connor went into the grasp of Fionan Mackessy and the midfielder took his goal well on the run.
James Burke got Kildare’s first point in the 14th minute in response to scores from Conway and Brandon Barrett as Kerry powered clear as they led by eight points halfway through the half.
Kildare were under so much pressure that they introduced three subs in that opening half as Caolan Smith, Rian Boran and Kevin Aherne all appeared to try and stem the flow of the game.
Kerry got their second goal in the 17th minute as centre forward Michael Leane scored a brilliant individual goal as he flicked the ball over the head of Aran Kelly and then cooly slotted the ball past Mark Doyle in the Kildare goal.
Burke and Shane Ryan hit back with points for Jim Sheridan’s side but it was Kerry who finished the half the stronger as points from O’Sullivan, Conway, Eoin Ross and Niall O’Mahony gave Kerry a 2-13 to 1-3 lead at the break.
Kildare emerged from the dressing rooms a different team for the second half and they hit 1-3 without reply in the opening five minutes.
Sean Lawlor scored a nice point from play which was added to by a brace of scores from James Burke.
Burke then found space in the Kerry defence from a precise pass by Cathal Melville and even though Burke’s shot was well saved by David Silles, Sheridan was there to net his second goal.
Sheridan’s goal gave Kildare real hope as they reduced Kerry’s lead to seven points but it would be as close as they would get as Kerry quickly pulled clear again.
A trio of scores from Shane Conway including two frees were enhanced by shots from distance by Brandon Barrett and Michael Leane as the team in Green and Gold went 2-18 to 2-6 ahead.
The teams then shared scores for the rest of the half as things petered out with the result academic with Conway knocking over three more points as well as Brandon Barrett for Kerry.
Burke added a brace of scores for Kildare while Shane Ryan and Simon Leacy both went for goal but their shots went too high as Kerry finished in cruise control and ran out fully deserved winners on a 2-22 to 2-10 scoreline.
Kerry; David Silles; Eric Leen, Evan Murphy, Billy Lyons, Eoin Ross 0-1, Jason Diggins, Niall O’Mahony 0-2, Fionan Mackessy 1-0, Tomas O’Connor, Jack O’Sullivan 0-3, Michael Leane 1-1, Jordan Conway 0-2, Maurice O’Connor 0-1, Brandon Barrett 0-3, Shane Conway 0-9 (0-5fs). Subs: Ronan Donovan for Leen h-t, Shane McElligott for T.O’Connor 38 mins, Gearoid Fennessy for O’Sullivan 48 mins, Jeremy McKenna for Leane 53 mins, Tom Foley for Ross 56 mins.
Kildare: Mark Doyle; Simon Leacy 0-1, Richard Hogan, Cathal Melville, Diarmuid Greene, Aran Kelly, Sean Mac Donnacha, Sean Lawlor 0-1, Jack Travers, Jeff Keane, James Burke 0-6 (0-4fs), Reece Gavin, Barry Cormack, Shane Ryan 0-2, Jack Sheridan 2-0. Subs: Caolan Smith for Keane 18 mins, Rian Boran for Kelly 22 mins, Kevin Aherne for Cormack 24 mins, Matthew Moran for Gavin 52 mins, Conor Kielty for Lawlor 57 mins.
Ref: Chris Mooney (Dublin)
If you have a story or want to send photos or videos to us please contact the KildareNow editorial team. via our Facebook, via our email at [email protected] or on 045 409350 during office hours.