Kerry 1-21 Kildare 4-10
How quickly the pendulum swings in hurling!
Fourth minute of injury-time in this All-Ireland U21 B final in Semple Stadium on Saturday Kildare were in the driving-seat, ahead by two points and with one hand on the trophy. Then came one last high ball into Kerry danger man Podge Boyle on the edge of the Kildare square and in an instant the ball was in the net and the Kingdom were ahead by a point.
Seconds later, from the Kildare puckout, sub Phillip Lucid iced the cake with a fine point. Having had a bye all the way to the final (with no other B team in Munster, and a walkover from Tyrone in the semi-final), Kerry were All-Ireland champions after just one game, adding to the minor B title won last weekend in similar late and dramatic fashion.
“Unbelievable!” was the reaction of manager Jim Walsh. “I thought we were going to run out of time with the last puckout, but I was hoping we’d get one more chance, and Podge (Boyle, full-forward) is the right man in those situations. He was unlucky in the first half and could have had two goals. But look, that’s the kind of thing that can happen in hurling. Those things are possible. We conceded four goals but kept plugging away, got 21 points which is a fine score.”
For the same Podge that last high ball was just what the doctor ordered. “We robbed them in the end but I think we deserved it; the goals kept them in it but we were the better team all the way through. That’s what I wanted all day, a high ball into the square. I hurt my ankle earlier in the game and couldn’t really move after that.”
Truth be told, in a game that was tied at the break (0-14 to 3-5) Kerry were marginally the better side and 22 scores to 14 tells a tale. Even Kildare manager Noel McMahon admitted as much, though the manner of the defeat left a sour taste. “Two points up in injury-time, a blatant penalty ignored — I don’t know, what can you do? We were here again last year against Roscommon, a referee who didn’t give us one free inside their half bar one in the first minute. Today we get done again by a refereeing decision. Niall Kenny (the player fouled) is only 17, man-of-the-match by a mile, that would have crowned it for him, but what do you do? They were possibly that little bit better than us but we got the goals, led for most of the match and they got one four minutes into injury-time, when it should have been done and dusted at the other end.”
Scorers for Kerry: P Boyle (1-7, three frees); B Brosnan (0-4, two frees, one 65); P McGrath (0-3); D Collins (0-3); B O’Leary (0-2); P Connolly, P Lucid (0-1 each).
Scorers for Kildare: N Kenny (2-3); M Delaney (0-5, two frees, one 65); R Casey (1-0); P McKenna (1-0, pen); E Dempsey (0-2).
KERRY: N Leen; TB McElligott, A Fealy, K Orpen; T Casey, B Murphy, D Fitzell; B Brosnan, B O’Leary (c); P McGrath, D Collins, M O’Leary; PJ Costello, P Boyle, D Leahy.
Subs: K Carmody for Connolly (25); T Barrett for McElligott (25); S Weir for Leahy (41); P Lucid for Carmody (53).
KILDARE: P McKenna; C Farrell, C Gordon, S O’Flynn; K Murphy, D Flaherty, K Connor; P Kennedy, J Byrne; N Kenny, F Conway, R Casey; M Delaney (c), G Keegan, E Dempsey.
Subs: E Doddy for Keegan (51); D Keane for Kenny (63).
Referee: F Horgan (Tipperary).
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