GAA Football

Kildare claim U20 crown

By Padraig Kelly

KILDARE ended a long wait for All-Ireland honours following a thrilling 1-18 to 1-16 U20 final win over Mayo at Croke Park yesterday.

The Lilywhites hadn't won an All-Ireland title at senior, U21 or minor level since 1965, but their highly-rated charges lived up to the billing with Jimmy Hyland starring with 10 points.

The Connacht side almost forced extra-time at the death but Aaron O'Neill managed to tip Ryan O'Donoghue's free over the bar to seal the title for Davy Burke's side.

The game was played at a frantic pace throughout and it was Kildare who secured an early foothold as Brian McLoughlin found the net in the seventh minute.

Kildare, with Hyland prominent, continued to dominate and they were seven points ahead – 1-10 to 0-6 – by the 20th minute.

Mayo received a lifeline when O'Donoghue powered through to goal but Hyland kicked three more points from play to give his side a 1-13 to 1-9 half-time lead.

Colm Moran and Conor Diskin reduced the deficit to two points on the resumption but again it was Hyland who led the Kildare charge and they moved 1-17 to 1-11 ahead with 15 minutes remaining.

Mayo hit the next three points while Ross Egan had a great chance to grab their second goal only to be denied by O'Neill.

They looked dead and buried in injury time when Jordan Flynn was sent off and Hyland pushed Kildare four clear, but O'Donoghue brought them back to within a goal and the same player came so close to forcing extra time only to see his effort tipped over.

In hurling, Cork eased their way into the All-Ireland U21 final following a 3-26 to 0-13 victory over Wexford at Nowlan Park.

It's the first time the Rebels have qualified for the decider since their 1998 final win over Galway and they were never in danger of missing out here.

They had the game effectively won at half-time as they led 2-14 to 0-9 with Tim O'Mahoney grabbing both goals inside the first eight minutes. Declan Dalton was also in fine shooting form as he posted 0-7 in the first 30 minutes although injury forced him off after the break.

Shane Kingston added a third goal for Cork in the second half with the Model county offering little in return. Seamus Casey did finish with 0-6 to his name, but they were never in contention.

Galway and Tipperary will meet in the second semi-final on Wednesday night.

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