REVENGE was the dish of the day last Wednesday when Cavan took the Leinster Junior Football Championship title in Newbridge having lost the decider to Kildare last year. The Lilies, who finished with 14 men for the third game in a row, can have no complaints either. Cavan were the better team over the 60 minutes and were full value for their
seven point victory, writes Ruth Chambers.
Leinster Junior Football Championship Final
To make matter worse for the Lilies Kilcullen’s Darren Barker was shown a straight red card in the second minute of time added on when he foolishly lashed out at Cavan substitute Paul O’Connor off the ball.
Kildare boss Tony Kelly welcomed former Cappagh man Ronan Walsh back in to the defence and the now St Sylvester’s players acquitted himself very well in what was his eighth and final year to play junior football for his native county. Young Daniel Flynn was another player to shine on the night, so much so that he will be joining the senior panel, while his club mate Cathal McNally also looked lively. Thereafter though, there wasn’t much to shout about from a Kildare perspective.
Cavan, managed by senior boss Terry Hyland, aside from the first ten minutes, were on top throughout and a goal from Conor McClarey on 16 minutes set them on their way. The side in blue led 1-5 to 0-6 at the break and that fact that the Lilies could only manage three points after the turnaround sums up the night for the home side.
However, Kildare did start well and were 0-3 to no score up with only eight minutes gone. A converted free from Eadestown’s Cian Bolton opened their account, while Seamus Hanafin and Cathal McNally followed
up with two points.
The visitors, who were guilty of some awful shooting early on, had towait some 13 minutes for their opening score. It came from the boot of midfield man Declan McKiernan and once they were up and running the
Ulster men didn’t look back. Kildare’s lead was down to the minimum at the midway point of the half when Declan McKiernan again split the posts, this time from a free, out of his hands, from 40 metres out. Just a minute later and Hyland’s side hit the front and from there on in led until the long whistle.
A ball in from the right from corner forward Martin Dunne, Cavan’s top scorer on the night, picked out Conor McClarey on front of the goals. The Cavan Gaels man kept his nerve and struck the ball low past William Clynch to give Cavan a 1-2 to 0-3 advantage with 16 minutes gone.
The gap was even wider seconds later thanks to a converted 45 metre kick from Martin Reilly, while a free from Dunne on 19 minutes appeared to be wide but the referee thought otherwise. The umpire waved the kick wide but Carlow official John Hickey wrongly over ruled him and in the second half he did the same thing much to the
annoyance of Kildare and their supporters.
Kildare grabbed their first score in 14 minutes with 22 played when Cathal McNally split the posts from out right and a free from Hanafin, after Daniel Flynn was hauled down, left the score at 1-4 to 0-5 with six minutes of the half remaining.
Before the interlude whistle the sides swapped points with Barry Watters firing over for the visitors and Hanafin (free) doing likewise for Kildare to leave the half time score at 1-5 to 0-6.
Although playing second fiddle Kildare, at that juncture, were still in touch and reduced the deficit to one a minute in to the final half when Ronan Walsh got forward and struck over but it was soon cancelled out by a Martin Dunne point that could have just as easily been a goal.
Kildare substitute Joey Keogh got in on the scoring act in the 34th minute but that turned out to be the Lilies’ last score for almost 20 minutes as Cavan assumed complete control.
Points from Declan McKiernan, Paul O’Connor (two) and Martin Dunne (free) left Hyland’s side leading 1-10 to 0-8 with ten minutes left to play.
By the time Kildare finally added a ninth point in the 55th minute it was too late and before the death Dunne (two) and Reilly (45) added points to secure a comfortable win and the title for Cavan.
Kildare, as aforementioned, can have no complaints. They gave away a serious amount of possession, walked in to the tackle on too many occasions and by doing so gave up their crown.
Scorers: Cavan – Martin Dunne 0-5 (2f), Declan McKiernan 0-3 (3f), Conor McClarey 1-0, Martin Reilly 0-2 (2 ‘45’), Paul O’Connor 0-2, Barry Watters 0-1.
Kildare – Cathal McNally 0-3, Seamus Hanafin 0-3 (2f), Cian Bolton 0-1 (1f), Ronan Walsh 0-1, Joey Kehoe 0-1.
Cavan: James Farrelly; Fergal Slowey, Rory Dunne, Darragh Tighe; Joshua Hayes, Damien Barkey, Barry Watters; Killian Brady, Declan McKiernan; Chris Conroy, Martin Reilly, Keith Fannin; Conor McClarey, Barry McKiernan, Martin Dunne. Subs: Paul O’Connor replaced B McKiernan 11 mins, Barry O’Leary replaced C McClarey 56 mins, Oisin O’Connell replaced M Dunne 60 mins, James Morris replaced D Tighe 61 mins.
Kildare: William Clinch; Ronan Walsh, Eamon Fitzpatrick, Darren Barker; Colin O’Shea, William Burke, Colm Fagan; Barry Lawlor, Conor Feeney; Daniel Flynn, Seamus Hanafin, Jamie Lambe; Emmet O’Keeffe, Cian Bolton, Cathal McNally. Subs: Joey Kehoe replaced J Lambe HT, Graham Waters replaced C O’Shea 46 mins, Mossie McCann replaced C
Bolton 48 mins, Aidan Dunne replaced E O’Keeffe 51 mins.
Referee: John Hickey (Carlow).