Minor hurlers blitz Meath either side of half-time to secure impressive Leinster Championship win

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Minor hurlers blitz Meath either side of half-time to secure impressive Leinster Championship win
By Patrick Ward 21:06 Friday 25th of May 2018

Kildare    1-21

Meath      0-13

Leinster MHC Tier 2 round 3

Kildare blitzed Meath with an unanswered 1-10 either side of half-time to record a comfortable victory in the third of their group stage games in the Leinster Minor Hurling Championship.

The Lilywhites were wasteful for the first 28 minutes of the game before they turned on the style to outclass their near neighbours, displaying a greater level of hunger, skill and accuracy to deliver the win.

It builds upon a promising start that the minors have had in the championship, with a win over Antrim followed by a loss to a very strong Offaly side in the second round. They showed enough here, however, to suggest they could cut it with some of the more traditional counties in this competition.

Kildare got off to a flying start thanks to midfielder Harry Dunne, who pointed within just seven seconds of Barry Redmond throwing the ball in.

Meath responded with the next two scores of the tie, with the lively Jamie Ryan clipping over a score before Ian Bermingham pushed them into the lead for the first time. Muiris Curtin – a player that scored four points for the county minor footballers in their win over Carlow on Wednesday evening – responded with a point for the home side, but scores from Ryan and James Murray at the other finally opened up a slight gap for the Royals.

Curtin and Murray then traded scores from frees, but Meath took control for a 10-minute spell after that as they reeled off four points in a row to put some daylight between the sides. Crucial to that was Darragh O’Sullivan as he managed to exert some dominance around the middle, and he landed two fine points from long range to allay scores from Murray and Cathal Sherlock.

Kildare needed to do something before the break to stop the game getting away from them, and they duly delivered 1-2 as O’Sullivan and Shane Whyte stepped up to the plate. The Lilywhites initially went close to bagging a goal when Liam Dempsey found O’Sullivan with a long ball but he blazed it wide, but the Naas man wasn’t to be denied a minute later when Kevin Kelleher’s long ball drifted over the Meath defence, allowing the corner-forward in on goal, his clinical finish leaving Conor Ryan with no chance.

Whyte followed up with two fine scores in first half injury time to ensure the sides went in level at 1-6 to 0-9.

Cathal Fenton’s charges came out for the second half energised from their purple patch at the end of the first stanza, and they landed four points in the opening five minutes to wrestle control of the tie.

O’Sullivan was sharp to win a ball on front of his man before splitting the posts, and Rossa Stapleton followed that up with an opportunistic score as he kicked the ball over while being fouled 20 metres from goal.

Curtin added his third of the evening from a free, before Jack Higgins lobbed over a point after being picked out by Kelleher from a clearing free.

Riding high on confidence by this stage, Kildare pushed on to really take the game away from Meath. The hosts managed another four points on the spin as Curtin pointed from a free before adding another from play following a neat pass from O’Sullivan. Whyte landed another superb score after controlling a long ball, and Curtin’s next point epitomised the attitude of the Kildare players as he won a ball he had no right to win before leathering over a shot from the left wing, pushing his side into a 1-14 to 0-10 lead with 18 minutes left to play.

Ian Bermingham eventually brought an end to Kildare’s scoring streak and their own 20-minute barren spell when he floated over from distance, and Murray added three frees to keep them in touch going towards the final 10 minutes, though Whyte also clipped over a beauty at the other end to keep Kildare ticking over.

Meath looked like they were in a position to challenge going down the home straight as they trailed by just five points, but Kildare remained impressively composed as Curtin knocked over a free and scores from Michael McGovern and Liam Dempsey pushed them out of sight.

Kildare’s final points of the game came from Whyte, Stapleton and McGovern as they eased towards an 11-point win.

Scorers for Kildare: M Curtin 0-7(4f), S Whyte 0-5, F O’Sullivan 1-2, M McGovern and R Stapleton 0-2 each, H Dunne, L Dempsey and J Higgins 0-1 each.

Scorers for Meath: J Murray 0-6f, D O’Sullivan, I Bermingham and J Ryan 0-2 each, C Sherlock 0-1 each.

Kildare

Alo Hackett; Daniel Murray, Eoghan Dempsey, Cian Shanaghan; Ben Noone, Kevin Kelleher, Drew Costello; Harry Dunne, Conan Boran; Muiris Curtin, Rossa Stapleton, Shane Whyte; Ferran O’Sullivan, Liam Dempsey, Jack Higgins.

Subs used: Matthew Eustace for Costello 42mins, Michael McGovern for Higgins 47mins, Jack Cleary for O’Sullivan 55mins, John McKeown for Murray 60mins, S Conway for Shanaghan 60mins.

Meath

Conor Ryan; Liam Gough, Cian Kelly, Darragh Finlay; Dylan Farrell, James Murray, Donagh O’Laoire; Darragh O’Sullivan, Ian Bermingham; Conor McGovern, Cathal Sherlock, Conor Leavey; Kevin Bawle, Adam Rooney, Jamie Ryan.

Subs used: Darragh Canny for Rooney 40mins, Cian Brennan for Gough 52mins.

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