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Tuesday 16 October 2018

Hyland the scoring hero as Lilies crowned champions

Kildare 1-18 Mayo 1-16

IMPRESSIVE: Kildare forward Jimmy Hyland is presented with his EirGrid Man of the Match award by John O’Connor, Chairman of EirGrid. Pic: Sportsfile
IMPRESSIVE: Kildare forward Jimmy Hyland is presented with his EirGrid Man of the Match award by John O’Connor, Chairman of EirGrid. Pic: Sportsfile

The Kildare and Mayo folk ambled up past Barry's Hotel. They were hoping that the only sweeper they'd see would be working for the Corpo.

There's wasn't a breath in the city. And the first-ever Eirgrid U20FC final was like a breath of fresh air.

It was Kildare's first All-Ireland football title in any grade since 1965, when they won their sole U21FC title.

The man who led them to the Promised Land yesterday, Davy Burke, was once part of Greg McGonigle's management ticket with the Dublin ladies footballers.

He says this group can herald brighter days for the Lilywhites.

"The future is looking good. Many of this squad will become seniors in the next couple of years," remarked Burke.

Jimmy Hyland is already beginning to fit into the boots of Johnny Doyle. He had a stormer under the scorching Croke Park sun. Left foot or right, it didn't matter. He struck a cluster of gems. Each one coated with Newbridge silver.

When he scored 1-8 against Kerry in the semi-final, the main concern of his Dad was that he'd be up early to turn the turf the following morning!

Maybe, on this historic Bank Holiday Monday down on the Curragh, Jimmy will get the day off.

"It was a real tough game," reflected Jimmy. "And it was such a terrific team performance.

"Everybody worked so hard. The defence put in some great tackles. And we got brilliant ball into the forward line. You are only as good as the ball that comes in."

Jimmy went to work early yesterday as Kildare attacked the Hill 16 end. And the Dubs that arrived early joined in in the applause. There was just seven minutes on the watch when Brian McLoughlin showed composure to guide in the opening goal for Kildare.

Ross Egan was keeping the Mayo clock ticking. And on 22 minutes, Mayo had a goal of their own.

It came from their captain, Ryan O'Donoghue, a schoolboy soccer international who was once on the books of Sligo Rovers.

He sped away from the traffic, sold a little dummy before he thundered the ball to the sack. Kildare led at the break, 1-13 to 1-9. Four unanswered points from Hyland gave them a six-point lead with 15 minutes left.

Another Egan free reduced the deficit. And then Egan got clear on goal. He looked certain to score. But Aaron O'Neill made a crucial save. The save-of-the-match.

Still, Mayo kept coming. That renowned Western spirit never fails them. Goalkeeper, Patrick O'Malley, converted a 45. Egan added a point. Hyland replied for Kildare, but in injury-time, O'Donoghue's point brought it back to a goal.

Mayo won a late, close-in free. O'Donoghue had to go for gold. He did. But it was deflected over the bar. All over.

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