Leinster Junior Football Championship Final
Kildare . . . . . 2-15 Longford . . . . . 3-8
Padraic O’Brien reporting from Newbridge
Unable to build on the boost of a well-taken goal from defender Brendan Devine after just six minutes, Longford eventually had to settle for second best against a superior Kildare side in the Leinster Junior Football Championship Final at St. Conleth’s Park in Newbridge on Wednesday evening.
Having said that, just a solitary point (1-8 to 2-4) separated the sides at the break with a Paddy Dowd goal from a penalty in the 24th minute keeping Longford very much in contention while Kildare full-forward Cian Bolton flicked the ball to the net midway through the first half.
But the turning point materialised when influential Kildare substitute Cathal McNally fired home the second goal for Kildare with nine minutes gone in the second half and the home county went on to establish a commanding six-point lead.
In the final minute of normal time, Longford were given a glimmer of hope when Darragh Bennett was credited with a goal in a tussle with the opposing keeper William Clynch but Kildare launched an immediate counter-attack that yielded a cracking point from substitute Daniel Grehan.
All four of the Kildare replacements certainly made a considerable difference when introduced and scored 1-5 between them as Longford suffered the bitter disappointment of losing another Leinster Final this season under the guidance of manager Eugene McCormack who was also in charge of the county U-21 footballers.
KILDARE: William Clynch; James O’Connor, William Burke, Peter Warren; Daithi Duke, Darren Barker, Colin O’Shea; Keith Cribbin (0-2), Shane Darcy; Hughie Mahon (0-2), Seamus Hanafin (0-2, frees), Colm Fagan; Paddy Mahon (0-1), Cian Bolton (1-3, two points from frees), Eoin Powderly.
Subs:- Jonathan Byrne (0-2) for K Cribbin (injured, 18 mins); Cathal McNally (1-1) for E Powderly (half-time); Graham Waters (0-1) for D Duke (half-time); Daniel Grehan (0-1) for W Burke (43 mins).
LONGFORD: Paddy Collum (Fr. Manning Gaels); Ronan Keogh (Killoe), Barry Farrell (Carrickedmond), Brendan Devine (Clonguish, 1-0); Shane Powell (Ardagh), Darragh Bennett (Killoe, 1-0), Mark Duffy (Fr. Manning Gaels); Johnny Kane (Fr. Manning Gaels), Darren Gallagher (Granard); Daniel Mimnagh (Killoe, 0-1), Paul McKeon (Colmcille, 0-2, one free), Shane Doyle (Kenagh, 0-1); Mark Hughes (Killoe, 0-2), Paddy Dowd (Clonguish, 1-1, goal from penalty, point from free), Marty Mulvey (Carrickedmond).
Subs:- Ger Dennigan (Cashel) for J Kane (24 mins); Barry McKeon (Colmcille, 0-1) for M Mulvey (half-time); John Paul Reilly (Colmcille) for S Powell (39 mins); Jamsie Martin (Dromard) for P McKeon (50 mins); Daniel Keogh (Killoe) for M Hughes (61 mins).
Referee: Fergal Smyth (Offaly).