Minor Footballers in Final

All-Ireland Minor Football semi-final

GALWAY 2-17 Kildare 0-15

By Declan Rooney at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park

Galway will play Kerry in the Electric Ireland All-Ireland minor football semi-final as goals in each half from James McLaughlin and Nathan Grainger saw them claim a 2-17 to 0-15 victory over Kildare at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.

Kildare’s Aaron Browne scored five points from play and Eoin Bagnell also added a handful for the Leinster champions, but with Tomo Culhane leading the line brilliantly, Galway ran out impressive winners in the end.

Only ten seconds had elapsed when Galway hit the key score of the first-half. Midfielder McLaughlin won the throw-in and carried powerfully through the centre of Kildare’s defence before he blasted past Cian Burke.

Kildare showed no panic after that early goal though and instead Bagnell got them up and running with a point in the second minute.

A one-point loss to Mayo after extra-time in the Connacht final was a cruel defeat for the Tribesmen, but they showed they were ready for knock-out football when Grainger and Daniel Cox kicked points from tight angles in the third minute as the frantic start continued.

With Aedan Boyle dropping deep behind the Kildare midfield he was a threat throughout and after an Adam Conneely point on the turn, a foul on Boyle allowed Bagnel make it 1-2 to 0-3.

Conneely looked to have scored a goal for his side following a driving run, but his low shot trickled inches past Donie Halleran’s post, while Culhane restored Galway’s three-point cushion with a fine score for his side after nine minutes.

At the other end Aaron Browne drilled over a great point from distance when he arrived on the loop, but Galway responded well with two in a row: the first an excellent free from Culhane from the right; the second from Evan Nolan after Galway forced the turnover from the resultant kick-out.

The loss of Ciarán O’Brien was a big blow for Kildare before half-time, but he had contributed a great score as three in a row from Kildare saw them pull to within one point of Galway at half-time, 1-7 to 0-8.

Galway’s two-point interval lead was soon out to six as the Tribesmen hit the second period with real vigour. Warren Seoige kicked two points in a minute to start the roll of Galway scores, while Cox and Nolan kept the pressure on Kildare.

That was the biggest lead of the game at that stage, but it didn’t last long. Browne scored twice in consecutive Kildare attacks, while a free from Bagnell was converted from 50 metres.

Two in a row from Galway was bettered when Browne and Boyle helped Kildare to three without reply, but nine minutes from time the Kildare challenge disappeared when Seoige’s break was finished to the net by Grainger.

Scorers for Galway: Tomo Culhan 0-6 (5f), Nathan Grainger 1-2, James McLaughlin 1-1, Daniel Cox 0-3, Evan Nolan 0-2, Warren Seoige 0-2, Niall Cunninghan 0-1.

Scorers for Kildare: Eoin Bagnell 0-5 (4f), Aaron Browne 0-5, Adam Conneely 0-2, Ciarán O’Brien 0-1, Aedan Boyle 0-1, PJCullen 0-1.

GALWAY: Donie Halleran; Jonathan McGrath, Ruairí King, Liam Tevnan; Cian Hernon, Ethan Fiorentini, Kyle O’Neill; James McLaughlin, Daniel O’Flaherty; Evan Nolan, Warren Seoige, Dylan Brady; Nathan Grainger, Tomo Culhane, Daniel Cox. Subs: Conall Gallagher for Brady (40), Mark Colleran for O’Flaherty (51), Niall Cunningham for Grainger (54), Alan Naughton for Nolan (61), James Webb for O’Neill (61).

KILDARE: Cian Burke; Mark Maguire, Conan Boran, Tommy Gill; PJ Cullen, Oisín O’Rourke, Jack Quinn; Shane Flynn, Kevin Eustace; Eoin Bagnell, Ciarán O’Brien, Aaron Browne; Eoin Meehan, Aedan Boyle, Adam Conneely. Subs:Daniel Woulfe for O’Brien (29), Mickey Delahunty for Meehan (36), Ryan Comeou for O’Rourke (40), Oisín Milmoe for Boyle (53), Matthew Whelan for Quinn (53), Joel Kavanagh for Maguire (59). 

Referee: Seán Lonergan (Tipperary).

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