'Brilliant' Fitzpatrick lifts Lilies past Blues
JOURNEY'S end for Dublin in Newbridge on Saturday afternoon. Kildare beat them, 2-11 to 2-8, in the Leinster Vocational Schools Senior Football Championship final.
In the opening round, the Dubs had pipped Kildare by a point after extra-time in Maynooth, but the Lilywhites blossomed along the back door route.
Their recovery saw them banish Meath's bid for six successive Leinster titles in the semi-final, and at St Conleth's Park they had just too much oil in the tank for the Blues.
"Kildare are a strong side. And their corner-forward, Wayne Fitzpatrick, caused a lot of damage. He had a brilliant game, and he was the man-of-the-match," stated David Higgins, who manages Dublin with Marcus ó Léanacháin and Eamonn O'Connor.
Fitzpatrick was in sensational form, scoring 2-7, despite playing with a broken finger.
"We began very well. We were 1-4 to a point ahead after 10 minutes. We couldn't have asked for a better start," reflected David.
"But then little things began to go wrong. We lost our shape a little bit. Kildare got a soft enough goal and they added three quick points.
"Kildare then dominated the early stages of the second half. They went four points up and then they got their second goal.
"We really had a job on our hands at that stage, but fair play to the fellas. They battled back.
"We managed to hit 1-3 in the last 10 minutes, but we just weren't able to claw back their lead.
"We chased the game as well as we could, and the lads deserve huge credit for that. Our midfielder, Tom Lahiff, picked up a knock, but he played on, and played very well. That summed up the commitment that was in the squad," remarked David.
Dashing defender, Colm Neville, also had an hour to remember. His conviction was first-class, while, once again, Adam Rodgers, showed his quality in attack.
"The team have much to be proud of. They had super wins over Kildare, Wicklow and Offaly. They were all close, hard-fought games.
"Our displays this year confirm that we are progressing in the right direction. And we have five or six of the group that will be eligible again next season. That's something solid to build on again."