The talented attacker missed their semi-final win over Longford due to injury but appeared as a substitute for the seniors against Derry last weekend, scoring a crucial point.
David Byrne was also brought on in that game at Croke Park and both are included in Dessie Farrell’s selection.
Costello’s inclusion in place of ankle injury victim Killian O’Gara is the only change to the side that scored six late points in a row to overcome Longford.
Many would expect a similar outcome this evening in Navan as Dublin come up against a side they beat by double scores at minor level three years ago.
But Kildare defender David Hyland pointed out that the scoreline that day in 2012, (2-16 to 1-8), doesn’t tell the true story.
“The score probably flattered Dublin when we played them as minors,” said Hyland. “They ran away with it in the end but we were the only team beating them at any stage in a game and they went on to win the All-Ireland.
“We have the utmost respect for Dublin but at the same time we’re playing good football so we don’t need to fear them.
“We were winning after half-time as minors, about 10 minutes into the second half. Whatever happened after that now ... we’ll leave it there.”
Dublin and Meath contested the provincial decider as minors and met again in the All-Ireland final that year. So Kildare’s win over Meath in the semi-final, a comfortable eight-point triumph, was significant in itself.
In the previous round, they turned the screw impressively on Offaly and outscored them by 2-4 to 0-1 in the closing 20 minutes.
“We were beaten by Offaly last year and they had some huge lads who are key for their senior team that are going well in Division 4,” said Hyland. They are probably not doing themselves justice and should be in Division 3 and up near the top of it. Meath I think had six or seven senior players as well so all of that has given us a good platform for facing Dublin. Hopefully it stands to us.”
Kildare won Leinster at this grade two years ago but kicked themselves out of the contest in the subsequent All-Ireland semi-final against Galway with some horrendous misses.
Hyland believes it was a huge missed opportunity to add to their solitary All-Ireland U21 triumph. “At the moment I suppose there is a bit of a drought in terms of silverware,” he said.
“One of the huge regrets I have is that we won the Leinster two years ago at U21 level but I felt we left an All-Ireland behind us. A long-term goal would be to set that right.”
The unfortunate background to this year’s strong U21 form is a senior team in disarray. Kildare can still avoid back to back Allianz league relegations though they’ll need to beat Galway on Sunday and hope other results go their way.
“Hopefully Kildare stay in Division 2 and we progress and have a good Championship,” said Hyland, one of just two senior panellists on the team along with Niall Kelly. Kildare are kind of fortunate in a way in that only myself and Niall are in with the seniors. I think that is a huge positive for us in terms of having a team there and everyone training together the whole year around.
“It is a tight-knit group as a result and hopefully that will stand to us again because I feel it has stood to us in the last two games we’ve played.”
L Molloy; S Clayton, D Byrne, R McGowan; E Lowndes, C Mulally, E Murchan; S Cunningham, S Carthy; G Burke, A Foley, N Scully; C Costello, C McHugh, C Basquel.