Leinster MFC semi-final: Lilywhites squeeze past Garden at second attempt

July 13, 2018

Wicklow supporters at Joule Park, Aughrim.
©INPHO/Bryan Keane.

Kildare are through to the inaugural Leinster U17 FC final after defeating Wicklow by 2-12 to 1-13 in a brilliant replayed semi-final at Aughrim.

Even extra time failed to separate these two superb sides at Newbridge five days ago and tonight's game was another thriller, which neither side deserved to lose. Kildare edged it; Wicklow did themselves proud in front of a large and appreciate home support.

The winners will face Meath in the provincial final on Saturday week and are also assured of a place in the All-Ireland quarter-finals on Sunday fortnight.

Kildare had trailed by 1-3 to 0-2 early on, with Eoin Darcy and Mathew Ging (who scored five times in the first half) impressing for the Garden boys, but points from Sam Morrissey and Nick Jackman followed by a fisted Sam Morrissey goal brought them right back into contention.

It was 1-7 to 1-6 in favour of the hosts at the break, with Darcy - who netted twice in the drawn encounter - delivering the Garden County goal in the fourth minute. However, an excellent 1-2 salvo from half-time substitute Muiris Curtin had the Lilywhites four points to the good within eight minutes of the restart.

Following an exchange of points, the visitors led by 2-9 to 1-8 at the three-quarters stage. Cillian McDonald had Wicklow back within a goal with ten minutes remaining. Lilywhites goalkeeper John Ball pulled off a magnificent save to deny Wicklow substitute Shaun Cranley an equalising goal and points were traded again before Alex Berine slotted the insurance point with four minutes left.

Eoghan O'Haire's second left five between the sides and the Garden County kept fighting until the end, lofting over three injury-time points to set up a dramatic finale but Padraig Carbery's lads held on for victory at the end of an epic two-game contest.

Kildare - J Ball; J Lynch, S Hill, J Hamill; N Jackman (0-1), K Kelleher, P McDermott; L Broderick (0-1), M Kiely; S Morrissey (1-1), A Beirne (0-1), M McGovern; E O'Haire (0-2), A Kennedy (0-1), J Smyth (0-3). Subs: D Caulfield for N Jackman, M Curtin (1-2) for M McGovern, P Behan for J Smyth.

Wicklow - B Fennell; F O'Carroll, S Kearney, T Moran; K Quinn, C Grimes, O Cullen; E Byrne, S Doody; C McDonald (0-1), C Maguire, J Fleming; M Ging (0-8), E Darcy (1-2, 0-1'45), J Keogh (0-1). Subs: S Cranley for J Fleming, D Maloney for C Maguire, D Lawlor (0-1) for O Cullen.

Referee - B Tiernan.

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