Leinster JFC final: Kildare fight back to dethrone Royals

June 24, 2018

Kildare's Liam Power and Conor Farrell of Meath.
©INPHO/Bryan Keane.

Kildare 2-17

Meath 2-15

Eoghan Lawless and Mark Nolan scored goals in either half as Kildare came from four points down at half-time to edge out holders Meath in an entertaining Leinster JFC final at Croke Park.

The victory rounded off a great weekend for the Lilywhites whose senior footballers beat Longford in the All-Ireland qualifiers and senior hurlers lifted the Christy Ring Cup yesterday.

Meath got off to a flying start when a Kevin Ross point after just 20 seconds was followed by a Daire Rowe goal a minute later. Things got even better for the Royals when Peter O'Connell made it 1-2 to 0-0 before Kildare replied with two points on the trot from David Malone and Barry Noone (free).

O'Connell and Rowe (two frees) extended the Royals' lead before Malone got his second for the Lilywhites and goalkeeper Declan Campbell was on target from two placed balls. 

Kildare's Graham Waters lifts the trophy. ©INPHO/Bryan Keane.

Meath remained in the driving seat thanks to points from O'Connell and Ross, but a goal from sub Lawless brought Kildare back into it. The holders responded with scores from goalkeeper Conor McHugh ('45), Quinn and Rowe to take a 1-11 to 1-7 lead into the break.

After points from Eoghan McMonagle, Conor Murray and Lawless had reduced the deficit, Kildare took the lead for the first time when Mark Nolan netted nine minutes after the restart. They stretched their advantage to five points before a quick 1-1 from Ross left the minimum between the sides. 

Crucially, though, Kildare stayed in front until full-time as Meath finished with 14 men following Conor Dempsey's late dismissal.

Kildare - D Campbell (0-3, 2f, 1'45); K Corrigan, W Burke, C Sharkey; G Waters (0-1), E McMonagle (0-1), N Sherry; L Power, B Travers (0-2); D Malone (0-2), M Nolan (1-0), K Foley; C Murray (0-2, 1f), S Hanafin, B Noone (0-4, 2f). Subs: E Lawless (1-1) for K Foley, T Barron for C Sharkey, T Dore for E McMonagle (BC), S Maughan for S Hanafin, D Flaherty (0-1) for B Noone, S O'Leary for C Murray.

Meath - C McHugh (0-1'45); C O'Rourke, C McPartland, M Flood; N Judge, C Dempsey, T O'Reilly; C Farrell, K Traynor; D Quinn (0-3), P O'Connell (0-3), C McConnell; K Ross (1-3, 0-1f), L Martyn, D Rowe (1-3, 0-2f). Subs: J Keane (0-1) for T O'Reilly, S Claire (0-1) for K Traynor, G Reidy for M Flood, P Lynch for D Rowe, E O Donnachada for C Farrell.

Referee - D Sheppard.

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