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The Meath footballers celebrate after victory over Kildare in the Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Football Final. 
The Meath footballers celebrate after victory over Kildare in the Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Football Final. 

Meath crowned Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Football champions

Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Football Championship Final

MEATH 1-15 Kildare 1-7

*By Brian Lowry *

Meath coasted to the Leinster Minor football title in Tullamore on Saturday as they had eight points to spare over Kildare. A late Kildare goal narrowed the margin at the end but there was no denying the Meath men after a superb and clinical display.

Led by man of the match Luke Mitchell with eight points to his credit, the Meath men were always in control and led from pillar to post in the one sided final.

Cian McBride and Bryan McCormack also proved extremely effective in the middle third for the Royal County became the first County to win the new Minor football championship at the under 17 grade.

Meath wasted little time in flexing their muscles and went 0-4 to 0-0 in front by the 10th minute with Luke Mitchell and Bryan McCormack leading the way.

Kildare kicked their first score of the game on 11 minutes when Sam Morrissey floated over a close range free but that only briefly halted the superior Meath men.

Another three points in a row before the 16th minute from Matthew Costello, David Bell and Mitchell drove them on to a 0-7 to 0-1 lead.

Kildare were struggling for the end product but they did get two points back with Jack Smyth and Alex Beirne on target. Beirne’s point on 18 minutes was to be their last score of the half as Meath kicked on again before the break with four more scores, three of which from Niall Mitchell as they led comfortably 0-11 to 0-3 at half time.

The result was put beyond doubt seven minutes into the second half as a Bryan McCormack goal coupled with another brace of points from Luke Mitchell left it 1-13 to 0-4.

The scores dried up for the remainder of the game with Meath just keeping themselves ticking over. Matthew Costello’s direct running was rewarded with a good score 10 minutes from time while Kildare sub Muiris Curtin clipped over a nice point to leave it 1-15 to 0-5 with five minutes to go.

Meath could have had another goal late on but for the heroics of John Ball in the Kildare goals while Marcus Kiely did strike a late consolation goal as the Royals set up an All Ireland quarter final with Derry next weekend while Kildare will have to pick themselves up for a meeting with Monaghan.

Scorers for Meath: L Mitchell 0-8 (0-4 frees), B McCormack 1-1, M Costello and D Bell 0-2 each, D Swaine and L Kelly 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kildare: M Kiely 1-1, J Smyth 0-2 free, S Morrissey (free), A Beirne, P Behan and M Curtin 0-1 each.

MEATH: S Brennan; J O’Hare, H O’Higgins, C Hickey; C Farrelly, C Harford, S Coffey; A Reilly, C McBride; D Swaine, M Costello, B McCormack; D Bell, L Kelly, L Mitchell. Subs: O McCloskey for C Harford (46m), C Hawdon for B McCormack (49m), A Treanor for D Swaine (55m), B O’Hanlon for D Bell (55m), L Newe for C Hickey (56m), K Hogan for A Reilly (60m).

KILDARE: J Ball; J Lynch, S Hill, J Hamill; N Jackman, K Kelleher, P McDermott; L Broderick, M Kiely; S Morrissey, A Beirne, M McGovern; E O’Haire, A Kennedy, J Smyth. Subs: P Behan for E O’Haire (23m), M Curtin for S Morrissey (28m), D Caulfield for N Jackman (H/T), O O’Loughlin for S Hill (H/T), S Englishby for M McGovern (46m).

Referee: Darragh Sheppard (Dublin)

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