Leinster U20 Football Championship final
Jimmy Hyland put on a masterful display of shooting as Kildare easily captured the inaugural Leinster U20 Football Championship by beating Dublin by nine points.
The Ballyteague sharpshooter bagged eight points for himself – six from play – and never kicked a wide throughout the game as he ripped the Dublin defence to shreds. Equally impressive for the Lilywhites was their defence as they kept a usually vibrant Dublin attack at bay superbly, with Jack Bambrick in particular putting in a fine showing by nullifying the threat of Dublin dangerman James Madden who finished scoreless.
The opening quarter was quite low-scoring, but there was plenty to be entertained by as both teams went at it hammer and thongs in the Tullamore sunshine.
It looked like it could be a very lively affair when Dublin midfielder Cormac Howley found space before curling over a fine opening score on 18 seconds, while Jimmy Hyland answered back with a superb point at the other end to open his own account for the day.
From that point on there was a mixture of poor attacking play combined with some very wholehearted defending, with the likes of Mark Barrett and Mark Dempsey winning balls out on front of their men with real vigour.
Both teams traded points in a really closely fought game, with a Tom Keane free for Dublin being cancelled out by a fine point by Paddy Woodgate almost immediately. Sean Bugler put the Metropolitans back into the lead, but a long range free from Hyland levelled matters after 19 minutes.
Dublin’s best spell of the half arrived when they managed to pull two clear for the first time in the game as James Doran raised a white flag before Bugler added another superb score.
The turning point arrived in the 26th minute as a four-point swing went in favour of the Lilywhites. A sweeping Dublin counter saw Howley offload the ball to Keane close to goal, but Kildare stopper Aaron O’Neill got down to his right brilliant to parry the shot. The ball broke out to David Marnell who worked it up the left wing and the move was finished off by a Tony Archbold score to level the game.
Another fine score from the irrepressible Hyland sent Kildare into the lead for the first time, before Padraig Nash, who had been frustrated in the early stages, burst into life by kicking a fine score. The Monasterevin man set up Brian McLoughlin to boom over a raking point from the right wing as Kildare really began to turn the screw, and Nash then added another score with a super effort from out on the ’45 to put the Lilywhites firmly in control. Deep into first half added time, Hyland launched over another fabulous effort from a 50-metre free to send Kildare into a commanding 0-10 to 0-5 advantage.
Kildare’s uninterrupted scoring spree ground to a halt within three minutes of the restart when the lively Keane floated over a point from the left wing. Nash then brought the crowd to their feet when he scored a point that was the epitome of guile and endeavour. Taking the ball on the left wing, Nash pirouetted around an incoming challenge from Ciaran Smith that left the Lucan man dumfounded, and the Monasterevin flier took the ball 50 metres towards goal before clipping over a fine score.
Despite Ross McGarry responded at the other end with a point for the Sky Blues, it was all Kildare by this stage as they exuded confidence in every kick pass and hand pass they gave. To much surprise, Nash was called ashore in the 37th minute and replaced by Shane O’Sullivan, but it proved an inspired substitution as the Clane youngster set up Jimmy Hyland to kick Kildare into a five-point lead before landing an impressive score himself soon after.
Hyland continued to show his class, adding another fine score, and though Keane hit back with a point with 10 minutes left, it was clear that this was going to be Kildare’s day.
Kildare out the gloss on the victory late on when Hyland was fouled in the area and Archbold stepped up to slam home the only goal of the game from the penalty spot.
Scorers for Kildare: J Hyland 0-8(2f), T Archbold 1-1(1-0pen), P Nash 0-3, S O’Sullivan, P Woodgate and B McLoughlin 0-1 each.
Scorers for Dublin: T Keane 0-4(1f), S Bugler 0-3, J Doran, R McGarry and C Howley 0-1 each.
Aaaron O’Neill; Mark Dempsey, Mark Barrett, DJ Earley; Jack Bambrick, Jason Gibbons, Tony Archbold; Aaron Masterson, David Marnell; Darragh Ryan, Padraig Nash, Ruadhan O’Giollain; Jimmy Hyland, Brian McLoughlin, Paddy Woodgate.
Subs used: Matthew Betts Symonds for Bambrick Blood sub 14-18mins, Shane O’Sullivan for Nash 37mins, Cian Costigan for Marnell 48mins, Sam Doran for Woodgate 53mins, Niall Murphy for McLoughlin 60mins, Jack Barrett for Earley 64mins.
David O’Hanlon; Nathan Nolan, Nathan Doran, Ciaran Smith; Kieran Kennedy, Neil Matthews, Eoin O’Dea; Donal Ryan, Cormac Howley; Tom Keane, James Madden, Ross McGarry; Dan O’Brien, James Doran, Sean Bugler.
Subs used: Cormac Lynch Bissett for Howley 33mins, James Holland for O’Brien 42mins, Simon King for McGarry 52mins, Ronan Fitzpatrick for Ryan 56mins, Daniel Brennan for J Doran 58mins.
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