Mayo U21s progress to final

Mayo 1-13 Kildare 1-7

Mayo 1-13 Kildare 1-7

Mayo U21s overcame the stubborn resistance of Leinster champions Kildare, and in particular James Kavanagh, who parted Pearse Stadium with 1-4, as they helped manager John Maughan through to his second All-Ireland final of the year.

Shorn of attacking talents Tommy Archibold and Adrian Kelly, the Lilywhites looked a shadow of themselves and an over-reliance on Kavanagh told as just three other players brought their shooting boots to Galway.

They did make the better start, despite seeing Mayo senior Damien Munnelly point in the first minute.

A slick forward move involving midfielder Darryl Flynn on 5 minutes, saw Ross Glavin set up Kavanagh for a low-drilled finish to Fintan Ruddy’s net.

Kildare led until the eighteenth minute when Michael Conroy skinned full back Robbie McCabe to equalise, after Munnelly had notched his first free. Flynn immediately brought the teams back level after Barry Moran had soloed through at the other end, but Mayo, searching for a first U21 All-Ireland since 1983, motored to the front.

Conroy nipped in for his second point, off his right side for a 0-5 to 1-1 lead, Costello notched his first point on 22 minutes – ensuring all of the Mayo full-forward line had scored – and a third from Munnelly stretched their lead to four points, four minutes later.

Half forward Derek McCormack gave Kildare heart with their first score for eight minutes, and although goal scorer Kavanagh pointed an injury time free, the men in white were still five down at the break. Niall Lydon had tagged on another score for Mayo nearing the half hour, and Costello’s goal, set up brilliantly by Conroy’s smart through ball, helped Maughan’s men towards a 1-8 to 1-3 half time lead.

Kavanagh pointed the opener in the second half, but was performing on his own. Mayo coughed up a hatful of chances, hitting nine wides in total, but Costello was the stand-out forward, running up his tally to 1-3 from play, by his late departure to the bench.

He almost capped a wonderful display with another goal with fourteen minutes remaining, but Kindregen finger-tipped away his tight-angled goal shot.

Substitute Aidan Kilcoyne bagged a point on 48 minutes, and a left-footed Munnelly free, cancelling out a Kavanagh effort, put Mayo 1-12 to 1-5 in front.

Kildare corner back Mark Hogarty sprinted forward for a late consolation, and with Conroy bowing out with another nearing full-time, Kavanagh's third from play in injury time meant very little.

Afterwards Maughan admitted to being far from satisfied by his side's display. "We're very disappointed," said the Ballina man. "It was nothing to get excited about, no disrespect to Kildare.

"We have to be honest, Armagh played with a real flair. And we'll have to up our game for the final. We had numerous chances which we didn’t take."

He did though, single out a few players who may still play a part against Kerry in the senior final in three weeks time.

"Dermot Geraghty and Trevor Howley did well at the back. Barry Moran – who is a minor this year – and was playing first game at U21 was excellent. Michael Conroy too, was strong up front, but it will be a different game against Armagh."

MAYO: F Ruddy; D Geraghty, P Navin, T Howley; M Conroy, L O'Malley, R Feeney; R McNamara, B Moran; A Moran, N Lydon, P Doherty; A Costello, D Munnelly, M Conroy.

Subs used: P Lydon for Feeney (37 mins), A Kilcoyne for Doherty (45), C Barrett for Lydon (52), P Casey for Munnelly (58), J Prenty for Conroy (59)

Yellow card: B Moran (43)

KILDARE: J Kindregen; M Hogarty, R McCabe, A McLoughlin; M Dowling, M Foley, J Lonergan; W Heffernan, D Flynn; H Lynch, J Kavanagh, D McCormack; M Cocoman, R Glavin, P O’Neill.

Subs used: P Mulligan for P O’Neill (38), T O’Neill for Cocoman, S Darcy for Heffernan (both 42), B Flanagan for Dowling (51)

Yellow cards: W Heffernan (39), D Flynn (51)

Scorers:

Mayo: A Costello 1-3, D Munnelly 0-4 (3f), M Conroy 0-3, B Moran, N Lydon, A Kilcoyne 0-1 each

Kildare: J Kavanagh 1-4 (1f), D Flynn, D McCormack, M Hogarty 0-1 each

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