Cormac Costello stars as Dublin reach yet another Leinster final

Dublin 0-26 - 0-11 Kildare

Dublin breezed into a ninth Leinster SFC final as Cormac Costello yet again dazzled with nine points.

Just 36,126 were in Croke Park for the provincial semi-final double-header and the main event was competitive but only for the first half as Dublin forwards threw off the shackles in the second half, Paul Mannion helping himself to seven points from play. In all, the starting full-forward line of Mannion, Costello and Con O’Callaghan registered 15 points from play.

On his 100th Championship appearance, Stephen Cluxton twice had to be at his best to prevent goals, the second time stopping Keith Cribbin from close range, but a powerful third quarter by Dublin when they outscored their opponents seven points to two made it all so easy.

It was pretty much one-way traffic for the opening quarter as Dublin outscored Kildare 0-6 to 0-1 after 13 minutes. Even with the wind which had changed by the end of the half, Kildare were struggling to retain their kick-outs, Dublin taking two points from claiming three successive Lilywhite restarts.

Mannion, having had his proposed suspension overruled during the week was playing like a liberated man and helped himself to two early point. Costello finished the half with five points, three from play, and Brian Fenton blazed over a goal chance in the 11th minute after Michael Darragh Macauley had seized a Kildare kick-out.

However, through some lovely point-taking from Ben McCormack Kildare got a foothold in the game and were three points behind by the time O’Callaghan broke a 10-minute spell without a Dublin score in the 23rd minute.

A minute later, McCormack had Cluxton extending himself to deny a goal in the 24th minute but Dublin were able to put six between the teams five minutes later via Ciarán Kilkenny.

A brace of points from Adam Tyrrell following some good build-up cut into that deficit and Mick O’Grady was on hand to cancel out Costello’s fifth point in additional time, the scoreboard reading 0-11 to 0-7.

Scorers for Dublin: C. Costello (0-9, 2 frees, 2 45s); P. Mannion (0-7); C. O’Callaghan (0-3); C. Kilkenny (0-3); B. Fenton (0-2); B. Howard, P. Small (0-1 each).

Scorers for Kildare: A. Tyrrell (0-4, 1 free); B. McCormack (0-3); N. Flynn, M. O’Grady, K. Feely, D. Hyland (0-1 each).

DUBLIN: S. Cluxton (c); D. Byrne, C. O’Sullivan, M. Fitzsimons; J. McCarthy, J. Small, J. McCaffrey; B. Fenton, M.D. Macauley; N. Scully, C. Kilkenny, B. Howard; P. Manni

Subs for Dublin: P. Small for M.D. Macauley, P. McMahon for C. O’Sullivan (both 53); D. Gavin for C. Kilkenny, E. Murchan for J. McCaffrey (both 62); P. Andrews for C. O’Callaghan (64); R. O’Carroll for M. Fitzsimons (65).

KILDARE: M. Donnellan; P. Kelly, M. O’Grady, M. Dempsey; D. Hyland, E. Doyle (c), K. Cribbin; K. Feely, T. Moolick; D. Slattery, F. Conway, C. Healy; A. Tyrrell, B. McCormack, N. Flynn.

Subs for Kildare: K. O’Callaghan for N. Flynn (29); J. Hyland for C. Healy (blood, 34 to h-t); C. O’Donoghue for T. Moolick (57); J. Hyland for C. Healy (59); E. O’Flaherty for K. Cribbin (61); C. Hartley for D. Slattery (67).

Referee: C. Lane (Cork).

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