TWO second half goals proved vital as Kildare got the better of a very wasteful Meath in a rain soaked Trim last Sunday to claim the Kehoe Cup title for the first time in their history, writes Ruth Chambers.
Kehoe Cup Final
Goals from captain Paul Divilly and Celbridge’s Tony Murphy on 44 and 49 minutes respectively were the game’s decisive scores as the Lilies’ unbeaten start to the 2013 season continues.
Meath, under the guidance of Cillian Farrell, had plenty of chances to emerge victorious themselves but their shooting was awful for the duration, while Clane goalkeeper Paddy McKenna also pulled off two magnificent saves and stopped two certain goals for the Royals.
At the interlude Meath took a slender one point advantage in to the dressing room and extended that lead to two just two minutes in to the second period. However then came Kildare’s first goal of the afternoon, which gave them a slender advantage 1-6 to 0-8. The home side soon restored parity but when Murphy hit the onion sack in the 49th minute Willie Sunderland’s charges went 2-7 to 0-9 to the good.
In the first half it was Kildare that drew first blood when Mark Moloney split the posts after a sideline cut from his club mate Danny Butler. The Royals restored early parity with seven minutes on the clock thanks to a fine strike from Mark O’Sullivan from a difficult angle out on the left.
Indeed Meath then hit the front when top scorer Patrick Connelly picked out Adam Gannon on the left a he duly split the posts to leave the score at 0-2 to 0-1 with nine minutes played. Thereafter Meath had plenty of opportunities to extend their lead but it was the Lilies that soon took the lead themselves.
A brace from the visitors, from Mark Moloney and Eanna O’Neill, gave them a 0-3 to 0-2 advantage but a converted free from Patrick Connelly left the teams deadlocked with 16 minutes played.
As the interval beckoned points from Naas man Peadar Downey and Mark Moloney left the Lilies leading by one but it was the home side that finished out the half stronger. Three on the trot from Connelly, two frees and one from play, left Meath leading 0-7 to 0-5 but before the whistle captain Paul Divilly sent over a free from the left after he himself was fouled to leave the score at 0-7 to 0-6 at half time.
Just 20 seconds in to the second half Paddy McKenna pulled off a superb save from Mark O’Sullivan’s shot and the clearance was completed by Niall O’Muineachain. However, the Royals did extend their advantage soon after when Connelly added to his tally to leave the scoreboard reading 0-8 to 0-6.
Some ten minutes in to the half Paul Divilly stood over a free out on the left, a free that actually went all the way past Shane McGann and in to the Meath net and it gave Kildare a 1-6 to 0-8 lead.
Another goal just five minutes later gave the Lilies a 2-7 to 0-9 advantage. A long ball in from centre back Richie Hoban found Gerry Keegan and his shot saw Tony Murphy rise highest to get the touch to send the ball to the net.
Meath went ten minutes without a score but notched up plenty more wides during this period. For Kildare Kieran Divilly got in on the scoring act to stretch the Lilies’ lead further.
With ten minutes remaining just three points separated the sides (2-8 to 0-11) but that was as close as the home side could get.
When Connelly shot wide from a close range free and the game was up for Farrell’s side. Down the other end, with two minutes of stoppage time played, Paul Divilly knocked over a free from the right after Tony Murphy was impeded and that gave Kildare a 2-11 to 0-13 victory over their provincial rivals and gave them the Kehoe Cup title.
Kildare, Paul Divilly 1-4 (4f), Mark Moloney 0-3, Tony Murphy 1-0, Eanna O’Neill 0-1, Peadar Downey 0-1, Kieran Divilly 0-1, Ross Kelly 0-1.
Meath, Patrick Connelly 0-7 (4f), Adam Gannon 0-2, Peter Durnin 0-2, Mark O’Sullivan 0-1, Steven Clynch 0-1.
Paddy McKenna; Paul Keegan, Fiachra O’Muineachain, Pa Curtin; Kieran Divilly, Richie Hoban, Niall O’Muineachain; Danny Butler, Eanna O’Neill; Mark Moloney, Paul Divilly, Peadar Downey; Tony Murphy, David Kennedy, Gerry Keegan. Subs: Ross Kelly replaced E O’Neill 48 mins, Bernard Daey replaced D Kennedy 55 mins.
Shane McGann; Cormac Reilly, Damien Healy, Willie Mahady; Shane Brennan, James Togher, Alan Watters; Steven Donoghue, John Meyler; Eoin Marsh, Steven Clynch, Patrick Connelly; Adam Gannon, Mark O’Sullivan, Barry Slevin. Subs: Bart Hanley replaced J Meyler 26 mins, Peter Durnin replaced B Slevin 32 mins, Gary Kelly replaced A Watters 45 mins.
John Keenan (Wicklow).