Electric Ireland Leinster MFC: Dublin and Kildare set up rematch
Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Football Championship semi-final results
DUBLIN 6-15 OFFALY 1-8
KILDARE 0-13 MEATH 0-12
The 2023 Electric Ireland Leinster minor football final will be a repeat of last year’s pairing, though Dublin and Kildare, the only two unbeaten teams in the competition, secured their places in the decider in very different styles tonight.
Kildare edged out Meath by a single point, while Dublin’s attack was in blistering form at Glenisk O’Connor Park in Tullamore, ruthlessly punishing Offaly errors to record a comprehensive win.
A soccer-style finish from Paddy Curry and a powerful low drive from Harry Curley got the Dubs out to a dream start, though Offaly gave themselves a lifeline when with ten minutes gone, they replied with a Cian Bracken goal, set up by an incisive run from midfielder Callum Kelly. The home side were enjoying plenty of possession at this stage, but their decision-making in front of goal let them down all too frequently. Meanwhile at the other end, Dublin's play was incisive, full of pace and purpose, and they continued to create high calibre chances, setting up another opportunity for Jack O'Sullivan that drew a superb save from Donnacha Keoghan.
Dublin’s Lenny Cahill showed his undoubted talent with a couple of wonderful points, and on a night when Dublin seemed to pounce on errors and break tackles for the majority of their chances, the natural and stylish inside forward play of the Castleknock player was a joy to behold.
With Cillian Bourke, Cameron Egan and Robert Carney all working hard around midfield and half-forward, Offaly were still in the hunt up just before half-time when a misplaced clearance allowed Noah Byrne to dart in on goal and fire in goal number three. Two minutes later, an underhit Offaly free out, struck across their own goal, allowed Curry to intercept and pick out the bottom corner with a precise finish, and the Dubs were 4-4 to 1-2 ahead at the interval.
Offaly made one last surge after half-time when Cameron Egan pointed and they had a chance to follow up when Bourke surged through on goal and was dragged down as he shot, leading to a penalty. It wasn't to be however as Cillian Murray dived sharply to block Kaelem Bryan’s effort, and further goals from Curley and Luke O’Boyle followed for a rampant Dublin side. Shane Mullarkey also caught the eye as he struck three fine points off the bench, staking a strong claim for inclusion in the starting team for the decider.
It was all very different at Hawkfield, where Kildare had the bare minimum to spare at the end of a tense and thrilling contest against Meath. Two midfielders – Kildare’s Joey Cunningham and Meath’s Cian Commons – were the stars of the show, shooting 0-4 and 0-5 respectively, with Commons hitting three early points to push Meath 0-4 to 0-2 ahead after 12 minutes.
The second and third quarters belonged to Kildare however as the Lily Whites took over defensively, and eked their way in front through a series of long-range dead ball strikes from goalkeeper Cathal Moore, as well as points from Cunningham, Donnchadh Kinch and Evan Donnelly.
After falling four behind, Meath rallied in the last ten minutes and twice got within a point, first through Commons and then through Ollie Maloney deep in stoppage time, but the clock ultimately beat them as Kildare held out for an 0-13 to 0-12 win.