Kildare joint captain Kevin Eustace lifts the Fr Larry Murphy Cup after the Electric Ireland Leinster GAA Football Minor Championship Final match between Dublin and Kildare at Páirc Tailteann in Navan, Meath.
Kildare joint captain Kevin Eustace lifts the Fr Larry Murphy Cup after the Electric Ireland Leinster GAA Football Minor Championship Final match between Dublin and Kildare at Páirc Tailteann in Navan, Meath. 

Kildare defeat Dublin in Leinster Minor Football Final

Electric Ireland Leinster minor football championship final


By Paul Keane at Pairc Tailteann, Navan

Kildare are Electric Ireland Leinster minor football champions for the ninth time after edging an epic extra-time encounter in Navan with a character laden display.

Inspired by Aaron Browne and free-taker Eoin Bagnall, who struck 1-7 each, Kildare came good with extra-time goals from the duo to secure victory in a marathon game that ran to almost 100 minutes in total.

Kildare thought they'd done enough to secure their fourth provincial title since 2013 in normal time when they led by a point but Fionn Murray's 64th minute equaliser for Dublin forced extra-time.

A powerful young Kildare side got better as the game went on and ultimately overwhelmed Dublin in the extra 20 minutes with 61st and 73rd minute goals from Bagnall and Brown getting the job done.

The sides were level seven times in normal time and on four occasions in a tense first-half that stretched to 45 minutes following a concerning injury to Dublin centre-back Senan Forker.

The Castleknock defender went down heavily after an accidental collision involving two Kildare players and was lifted off the field on a stretcher.

Allied to an earlier injury that prompted full-back Ben Millist's withdrawal after 20 minutes, it robbed Dublin of the central spine of their defence for the rest of the blood and thunder thriller.

They led narrowly at half-time, 0-8 to 0-7, though it wouldn't have been a surprise had either team been three or four points to the good at that stage given the goal chances they created.

Kildare's Bagnall tried a cheeky attempt for a fourth minute goal from a free while colleague Browne was just wide with an attempted lob of the Dublin 'keeper minutes later.

Oisin Milmoe had a third goal opportunity for Kildare in first-half stoppage time that ultimately came to nought.

As for Dublin, dual talent Luke Swan slammed a shot off the bar in the sixth minute while midfielder David O'Dowd was through on goal in the 14th minute but couldn't capitalise.

Those misses were part of the reason why Dublin registered just one point from open play in the first-half, through Swan.

Dublin finally hit the net a minute into the second-half when Swan bundled the ball in from close range and they led 1-9 to 0-7 with 21 minutes remaining.

But just as Kildare looked to be in real trouble they conjured their very best form, striking five points without reply in an 11-minute spell to level it up at 1-9 to 0-12.

Two more Browne points left Kildare sitting pretty with a one-point lead from the 52nd minute until four minutes into injury-time when Dublin forced extra-time at 1-11 to 0-14 with a Murray score.

It was captivating stuff and impossible to call a winner at that stage such was the character on show and the wholeheartedness of the exchanges.

But Kildare had too much for Dublin in the extra 20 minutes with 1-1 in the opening moments catapulting them into a winning position that they held onto.

Scorers for Kildare: Eoin Bagnall 1-7 (0-6f), Aaron Browne 1-7, Shane Flynn 0-3, Eoin Meehan 0-2, Mikey Delahunty 0-1, Kevin Eustace 0-1.

Scorers for Dublin: Fionn Murray 0-10 (0-8f, 0-1 45), Luke Swan 1-1, Ryan O'Dwyer 0-4 (0-2f, 0-1 pen), Luke Curran 0-2, Ross Keogh 0-1, Alex Rogers 0-1.

KILDARE: Cian Burke; Tommy Gill, Conan Boran, Mark Maguire; PJ Cullen, Oisin O'Rourke, Jack Quinn; Shane Flynn, Kevin Eustace; Aaron Browne, Ciaran O'Brien, Eoin Bagnall; Oisin Milmoe, Adam Conneely, Aedan Boyle. Subs: Dan Woulfe for Milmoe (36), Mikey Delahunty for O'Brien (43), Ryan Comeau for O'Rourke (50), Eoin Meehan for Woulfe (57), Matthew Whelan for Boyle (64). Mikey Spillane for Conneely (69), Joel Kavanagh for Maguire (70, black card), Luke Gorman for Eustace (74).

DUBLIN: Hugh O'Sullivan; Conor Archer, Ben Millist, Conor Tyrrell; Kieran Conroy, Senan Forker, Jack Lundy; David O'Dowd, Luke Murphy-Guinane; Ryan O'Dwyer, Luke Swan, Fionn Murray; Sean Kinsella, Ross Keogh, Alex Rogers. Subs: Alex Watson for Millist (20), Ben Harding for Forker (30+6), Robbie Bolger for Kinsella (36), Dara Fagan for O'Dwyer (48), Tom Brennan for Keogh (48), Harry Colclough for Lundy (52). Michael Nealon for Archer (e/t), Luke Curran for Rogers (e/t), O'Dwyer for Brennan (70), Keogh for Murphy-Guinane (h/t e/t).

Referee: David Hickey (Carlow).