Sweeney rescues Dubs at the death

DESPITE having led by six points at one stage, Dublin needed a Gary Sweeney point 90 seconds into injury time to rescue a draw in the ESB Leinster MFC final at Croke Park yesterday.

It looked like Darroch Mulhall had given Kildare their first title since 1991 when converting a free into Hill 16 on the hour but the sides must do it all again on Saturday.

Both teams started nervously but gradually Dublin began to get the upper hand around midfield, where Eoghan Keogh impressed.

It was Kildare however who opened the scoring in the eighth minute with a good point from midfielder Tomás Moolick, after Colin O’Shea had made an important interception.

Dublin responded with scores from Darragh Stapleton and Sweeney in a minute and though Mulhall equalised, Kildare were very on the back foot. Sweeney was causing havoc at centre-forward and restored his side’s advantage after a neat one-two with Keogh.

Dublin captain, Colm Carr, extended the gap to two with a magnificent kick from a sideline on the right, before showing tremendous bravery to flick a Kevin O’Brien delivery to the net beyond the advancing Kildare goalkeeper Mark Donnellan in the 15th minute.

Pádraig Fogarty slotted a free for the Lilywhites but the margin was six after Philip Ryan and Stapleton (free) raised white flags.

Kildare were in trouble but Fogarty brought them right back into the game when latching onto Darroch Mulhall’s pass to hold his nerve and slam home from close range beyond a Dublin defender, having neatly side-stepped goalkeeper David Downey.

That left just three points between the teams at the interval, 1-6 to 1-3, and Bryan Murphy’s reinvigorated troops were level by the 42nd minute, with the very dangerous Fogarty hitting three points.

The equaliser was a lovely score, with the full-forward slipping Fionn Carney after a wonderfully-weighted pass from Pauric Cullen, to chip over from a tight angle.

It was nip and tuck to the final whistle, with the teams level on three occasions.

Mulhall wasted a number of opportunities in the first half but it was he who provided Kildare’s last three points, the first a delightful effort off the outside of his left boot.

Dublin would not lie down though. Hudson (free) and Alan Carr ensured the game was in the melting pot right to the end before Mulhall and Andrews made their late contributions.

Scorers for Dublin: C Carr 1-1 (0-1 sideline); G Sweeney 0-3; D Stapleton (1f), P Hudson (2fs) 0-2 each, P Ryan, A Carr 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kildare: P Fogarty 1-4(0-2fs); D Mulhall 0-4(1 45, 1f); T Moolick 0-2

DUBLIN: D Downey; K O’Brien, F Carney, A Carr; S Swords, J Kelly, G Seaver; E Keogh, C Reddin; F Breathnach, G Sweeney, C Carr; P Ryan, D Stapleton, P Hudson.

Subs: D O Murchú for Swords (37); F Duffy for Ryan (40); H Dawson for C Carr (56).

KILDARE: M Donnellan; D McDonnell, S Dowling, P Cullen; C O’Shea, K Corrigan, E Doyle; T Moolick, J Comerford; P Cocoman, P Cribbin, S Hurley; D Mulhall, P Fogarty, C Reynolds.

Subs: T Barron for Dowling inj (30); D Holton for McDonnell (39); J McAndrew for Cocoman (49); J Byrne for O’Shea (52); B Deay for Reynolds (58).

Referee: E Kinsella (Laois).

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