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Diarmuid Whelan scored 10 points for Laois in their victory over Kildare. 
Diarmuid Whelan scored 10 points for Laois in their victory over Kildare. 

Laois knock out reigning All-Ireland U-20 champs Kildare 

EirGrid Leinster U-20 Football Championship


By Ger McNally at St Conleth's Park

Diarmuid Whelan struck a magnificent ten points as Laois ended Kildare's reign as Leinster and All-Ireland U20 champions at the first stage in St Conleths Park on Tuesday evening.

Kildare started sharply and with four different forwards on the scoresheet went 0-4 to 0-1 ahead by the eighth minute.

Even at that stage though, Laois were looking dangerous and Whelan (2) and Doran struck to the level the game by the 13th minute.

As momentum flowed from one end to the other, Kildare then scored the next four points of the game to move 0-8 to 0-4 ahead by the 21st minute, with all six forwards on the scoresheet by that stage.

However, Laois moved up a gear after that and outscored Kildare by 0-10 to 0-1 over the next half hour of football. Eoin Dunne scored a well struck 45 as they scored the last three points of the half to go in 0-8 to 0-7 behind.

Kildare never got going in the second half but you'd have to credit Laois for that. They were strong around the middle with midfield pair Robert Tyrell and Eoin Dunne and the forwards converted well from the steady stream of ball going their way.

After wing back Dean Brophy scored the first point of the restart, Whelan scored three in a row to push Laois 0-11 to 0-8 ahead.

Darragh Kirwan knocked over Kildare's first score in the second half but, by then, the signs were ominous for the title holders.

Doran, Whelan and Coffey all got on the scoresheet then to leave the gap at five points.

Kildare brought on some very talented young forwards but it was a day where nothing would really fall for them and Jack Cully's 60th minute point did little to effect the scoreboard.

There were over six minutes added on and, in the fifth of those, Kildare won a penalty when senior county hurler James Burke was pushed in the back. His Naas clubmate Luke Griffin stepped up confidently and slotted his kick past Matthew Byron to briefly cause some panic among the Laois support in the crowd.

However, they went up the field and fittingly it was Whelan who got on the ball and fired over his tenth point of the game to send Kildare crashing out of the competition and set up a quarter-final for Laois against Westmeath.

Scorers for Laois: D Whelan 0-10 (3fs), M Doran 0-4, R Coffey 0-1, D Brophy 0-1, E Dunne 0-1'45

Scorers for Kildare: L Griffin 1-2 (1-0pen, 0-2fs), D Kirwan 0-3,C Joyce 0-2, J Cully 0-2(1f), B McDonnell 0-1, L O'Flynn 0-1

KILDARE: Aaron O'Neill; Niall O'Sullivan, Mark Barrett, Caolan Halpin, Evin McGovern, DJ Earley. Darragh Ryan; James Carey, James Burke; Liam O'Flynn, Darragh Kirwan, Brian McDonnell, Colm Joyce, Jack Cully, Luke Griffin. Subs: Sean Cullen for O'Flynn, 38; Paidi Behan for Carey, 40; Shane O'Sullivan for Joyce, 40; Brian Stynes for Halpin, 46b/c; Paddy McDermott for McGovern, 51; Adam Steed for McDonnell, 58.

LAOIS: Matthew Byron, Michael Dowling, Seamus Lacey, Alex Mohan, Colin Slevin, Jack Lacey, Dean Brophy; Robert Tyrell, Eoin Dunne; Ronan Coffey, Michael Doran, Niall Dunne, Alan Kinsella, Dan McCormack, Diarmuid Whelan. Subs: Jack Owens for McCormack, 49; Michael Dempsey for Dunne, 57; PJ Daly for Doran, 60; Jason Maher for Kinsella, 60+2; Kevin Byrne for Slevin, 60+4.

Referee: Barry Tiernan

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