Dublin overcome Kildare to progress to O’Byrne Cup final
Paul Keane reports from Newbridge.
BACK-TO-BACK All-Ireland football champions Dublin flexed their muscle in novel fashion by overcoming a strong Kildare team in Newbridge to qualify for the Bord na Mona O’Byrne Cup final with their development panel.
Paul Clarke continued in charge of a rookie Dublin panel, having been handed the reins by Jim Gavin who was away with his panel for the group stage, and saw them pull off a courageous win.
The Lilies were hot favourites and led by four early in the second-half, and by three with 15 minutes to go, but were suckered by five late Dublin points in a row.
It was a serious show of character from Dublin’s fringe players with Niall Scully outstanding and kicking three points including the 71st minute score that put Dublin ahead. Conor McHugh, their 2014 U-21 star, then booted an insurance score to tie up an unexpected two-point win.
Kildare boss Cian O’Neill will start many of the same players when the Allianz league begins in a fortnight against Meath and admitted he was ‘disgusted’ with the defeat.
But Dublin will be delighted to have uncovered so many options ahead of their drive for five Division 1 league titles on the trot and Gavin will watch next Sunday’s final against Louth with particular interest.
Still, it was all Kildare early on and they deserved their 2-4 to 0-4 lead after 21 minutes thanks to goals from Johnny Byrne and Daniel Flynn.
The hosts, playing in front of a large crowd, also racked up the wides, indicating their dominance of possession, though leaked four points approaching half-time as Dublin trailed by just 2-4 to 0-8 at the break.
Dublin got the margin down to just one point in the third quarter though back to back Neil Flynn points appeared to steady Kildare.
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They didn’t score again though as Ross Hazley, Shane Cunningham and McHugh hit the Dublin points that tied it up at 0-14 to 2-8 before Scully and McHugh nudged the Sky Blues clear with injury-time scores.
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The quality of Dublin's jerseys, as well as their football, was tested today but they advanced to the O'Byrne Cup final at the expense of Kildare in Newbridge (Pic: @inphosports) #GAA
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Dublin scorers: Paul Hudson 0-4 (0-2f), Niall Scully, Conor McHugh (0-1f) 0-3 each, Shane Boland, Ciaran Reddin, Jason Whelan, Colm Basquel, Ross Hazley, Shane Cunningham 0-1 each.
Kildare scorers: Daniel Flynn, Johnny Byrne 1-0 each, Niall Kelly, Paul Cribbin, Neil Flynn (0-1f) 0-2 each, Kevin Feely, Ben McCormack 0-1 each.
1. Evan Comerford
2. Jack Smith
3. Eoin O’Brien
4. Ross McGowan
7. Robbie Gaughan
6. Ciaran Reddin
18. Conor Mullally
8. Jason Whelan
10. Ross Hazley
of the team
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5. Niall Scully
11. Shane Boland
12. Niall Walsh
13. Paul Hudson
25. Michael Deegan
15. Conor McHugh
20. Colm Basquel for Walsh (31)
28. Killian O’Gara for M Deegan (h/t)
17. Robbie McDaid for Boland (h/t)
27. Shane Cunningham for Hudson (42)
14. Gavin Ivory for Reddin (59)
1. Mark Donnellan
2. Mick O’Grady
3. David Hyland
4. Mark Hyland
5. Johnny Byrne
6. Eoin Doyle
7. Keith Cribbin
8. Kevin Feely
9. Fionn Dowling
10. Fergal Conway
11. Niall Kelly
12. Paul Cribbin
13. Neil Flynn
14. Daniel Flynn
15. Ben McCormack
18. Tommy Moolick for Feely (h/t)
20. Ollie Lyons for M Hyland (h/t)
24. Eamonn Callaghan for McCormack (47)
17. Cathal McNally for P Cribbin (49)
19. Shea Ryan for K Cribbin (57)
21. Conor Hartley for Conway (63)
22. David Slattery for N Flynn (64)
23. Cian O’Donoghue for Doyle (68, black card)
Referee: David Hickey (Carlow).
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