Electric Ireland MFC Quarter-Final
Kildare 2-14 Mayo 2-8
By Kevin Egan at O'Connor Park
All four provincial champions will take their place in the All Ireland minor football championship semi-final lineup after a goal from Kildare captain Brian McLaughlin crowned a powerful second half display from the Lilywhites to defeat the challenge of a competitive Mayo side at O’Connor Park in Tullamore.
Star forward Jimmy Hyland was handed a black card deep into first half injury time, but his attacking colleague Jack Robinson stepped up to the mark with an outstanding solo display, posting 1-4 in total.
It took just four minutes for Robinson to impose himself on the game as he showed incredible pace and footwork to cut through the heart of the Mayo defence to fire the ball past to the net for the opening score of the game after just four minutes.
Mayo recovered well from that setback, however, and after Justin Healy kicked their opening score of the game on six minutes, they quickly found themselves well in the game. Belmullet’s Ryan O’Donoghue rattled the Kildare net just a minute later, cutting in along the end line firing to the Kildare net to put Mayo a point ahead.
Robinson’s star was undimmed throughout this contest and a magnificent curling effort, following a free from Hyland, put Kildare back in front by a point midway through the half. Scores were comparatively rare at both ends of the field, but while the Kildare forwards were struggling to make the ball stick and to get their shots away, Mayo’s issue was inaccuracy, posting six wides (to zero from Kildare) by the 20th minute.
Robinson stretched the lead further with another magnificent score and with the wind to come in the second half, Kildare looked to be in a very good position. This all changed in the run up to half time, however, as a lovely one-two with Colm Moran saw Paul Lambert fire to the Kildare net for their second goal on 27 minutes, and this was quickly followed up by a neat point from Moran to give Mayo a narrow 2-2 to 1-4 interval lead.
The closing stages of the half saw tempers flare with several players getting involved in an altercation under the stand. Jimmy Hyland and Joe Mason received black cards, while Kildare’s Ciaran Kelly and Mayo’s Donovan Cosgrove saw yellow for their involvement.
Kildare learned very quickly that they couldn’t just wait for the wind to win the game for them as Colm Moran and Stephen McGreal pointed early in the second half to put Mayo three ahead, asking real questions of Kildare’s character. The answer from the Leinster champions was emphatic.
From the 38th to the 45th minute, they kicked five unanswered points with Robinson, wing back Tony Archbold and Aaron Masterson all drawing well-deserved roars from the crowd as they fired over excellent strikes.
All the momentum was with them and it fell to that man Robinson to kick another beauty to make it 1-12 to 2-5, but Mayo hit two on the spin from a Conor Diskin ‘45’ and Colm Moran, setting up a grandstand finish with just two points in it entering the last five minutes.
No sooner had the window of opportunity opened for Mayo, Kildare slammed it shut. A cool finish from Brian McLaughlin, assisted by Kevin Foley, gave the victors some breathing room and it fell to Robinson and Ciaran Kelly, with a superb left footed effort, to round off the victory in front of a large body of their supporters.
Scorers for Kildare: J Robinson 1-5 (1f), C Kelly 0-4 (2fs, 1 sideline), B McLoughlin 1-0, J Hyland 0-2 (2fs), A Masterson, T Archbold and K Foley 0-1 each.
Scorers for Mayo: C Moran 0-4 (1f), P Lambert 1-1, R O’Donoghue 1-0, S McGreal, C Diskin (45) and D Cosgrove 0-1 each.
Kildare: L Mullins; J O’Toole, M Dempsey, D Shaw; T Archbold, J Gibbons, S Doran; D Marnell, A Masterson; K Foley, B McLoughlin, C Costigan; J Hyland, C Kelly, J Robinson.
Subs: S Kavanagh for Hyland (30+3, bc), M Barrett for Doran (30+3), D Kelly for Foley (56), J Burke for McLoughlin (60).
Mayo: A Byrne; J Maughan, B O’Malley, J Cunnane; D Cosgrove, M Macken, S Kenny; N Moran, C Stenson; C Murphy, O McLaughlin, P Lambert; C Moran, J Healy, R O’Donoghue.
Subs: J Mason for Maughan (10, bc), S McGreal for Mason (30+3, bc), L Kelly for Cunnane (34, bc), C Diskin for Murphy (47), R Egan for McLaughlin (53), N McGee for Healy (58).
Referee: N Cullen (Fermanagh).