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Late Blue-mers put Lilies in the shade

DUBLIN 3-8

KILDARE 0-13

Late goals from Colm Basquel and substitute Killian Sheanon helped Dublin claim the Leinster Minor Football League title following a four-point victory over Kildare at a balmy Chanel College last Saturday morning.

The result may have helped the Dubs retain the league provincial honours bestowed upon them last year, but it failed to conceal the difficulties experienced against a more cohesive and athletic Kildare outfit.

Dublin's struggles were especially prominent after the break with their midfield totally eclipsed, and it was only their opponents' over-elaboration and inconsistency in front of goal that enabled them to remain in touch and ultimately claim a dramatic late win.

After conceding an early point to Ian McKeon, the hosts were boosted in the second minute when Aaron Byrne, so impressive in Dublin's previous league tie against Longford, raced down the right flank, with an impeccable finish to the roof of Jonathan Reeves' net the reward for his enterprise.

An excellent point from Con O'Callaghan arrived three minutes later, but, with a couple of notable exceptions, the Dubs were struggling in the physical encounters and increasingly overturned hard-earned possession.

With John Joe Mahon and Mark Sherry featuring prominently for the Lilywhites, it was of little surprise that the visitors clawed into their arrears with the former kicking a fine point in the 10th minute to add to Mark Byrne's earlier score.

SPORADIC

As both sides enjoyed sporadic periods of ascendancy, the scoring reflected the evenness of the encounter as O'Callaghan and Michael Deegan added on points for Dublin which were quickly negated by a brace of well-struck frees from Jamie Flynn.

Flynn added a glorious point to level matters in the 23rd minute, but a sumptuous effort from Deegan, son of Dublin senior selector and former senior defender Mick, and another point from Garvin Gallagher regained Dublin's momentum before Michael Kelly's injury-time free clipped Dublin's lead to just 1-5 to 0-7 by half-time.

The closeness of the first half contrasted with events upon the restart as a raft of Kildare substitutions improved their structure with Nolan acting to telling effect as an extra defender.

A Kelly free restored parity by the 31st minute, but the Dubs were allowed to keep their noses in front when Deegan and Sam Molony kicked fine scores from rare sorties into the Kildare half.

Given their domination of possession, it was only a matter of time before Kildare found their

range and they were indebted to substitute Jamie Connolly, who added two classy points to level matters by the 50th minute.

The excellent Neil Flynn maintained Kildare's momentum when pointing six minutes later, but Deegan's confidence was rewarded with another exceptional score soon after as both sides showed increasing desperation in their play.

SCRAMBLE

Although Wayne Fitzpatrick restored Kildare's lead, the visitors struggled to deal with a lengthy delivery into Seán Ryan and from the ensuing scramble, Basquel fired into the net from close range.

Ryan's aerial presence also contributed to the deciding score in the 61st minute as Sheanon was left unmarked to find the net from six metres with Lorcan Molloy's fine save from Neil Flynn ensuring a welcome but scarcely deserved victory for the hosts.


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