Kildare 0-16 Tyrone 0-11
Kildare won their first national title since the 1928 All-Ireland with a late purple patch that blew Tyrone away in the Football League Division 2 final.
Kieran McGeeney’s men held the upper hand for most of the game and should have been further ahead than a point at half time, at which stage their advantage was 0-7 to 0-6.
Stephen O’Neill wasted a glorious goal opportunity just before the interval but with Owen Mulligan in fine form, Mickey Harte’s crew edged a point clear, 0-10 to 0-9.
McGeeney introduced 20-year-old Pádraig Fogarty in the 48th minute and the St Laurence’s youngster – a nephew of Kildare captain Johnny Doyle – had a massive impact, scoring three points and being fouled for two more.
Kildare scored seven consecutive points without reply and though O’Neill did kick a late point, it was much too little too late for Tyrone.
The first half was extremely tight with both defences on top.
Significantly from a Tyrone point of view, Peter Harte had absolutely no influence on proceedings, while apart from one good second half point, Stephen O’Neill was also inconspicuous.
Owen Mulligan was much more dangerous though, in both a creative and finishing sense.
Kildare began well with a brilliant point from Doyle and held the upper hand for most of the first half.
The teams were level on five occasions however, as Mark Donnelly grabbed a brace for Tyrone and Niall McKenna added another from play, in response to scores from Mikey Conway (three frees) and James Kavanagh.
Tomás O’Connor was causing Conor Gormley a lot of trouble on the edge of the Tyrone square and he forced Tyrone corner-back Aidan McCrory to tip over his own bar in the 32nd minute.
McCrory sustained a serious looking injury in the process however and after receiving treatment for ten minutes, played no further part in the game.
A wonderful kick pass provided O’Neill with a goal opportunity just before half time but the Clann na Gael man dragged his shot wide.
Tyrone were the better outfit for the opening 15 minutes or so of the latter period, with Mulligan slotting two frees and O’Neill showing good pace and strength to shake off Ollie Lyons and chip over.
Kildare weathered the storm though and Fogarty’s introduction for Alan Smith was a clear turning point.
With Eamonn Callaghan adding a point to the youngster’s contribution from almost 45m, and Doyle launching a barely believable score given the blustery conditions from a sideline kick, suddenly Kildare had the game in the bag, having turned a one-point deficit into a six-point lead.
O’Neill did kick a late free but it was of statistical interest only, and Kildare were winning their first league title ever.
Scorers – Kildare: M Conway 0-5(4fs); E O’Flaherty (2fs, 1 45), P Fogarty 0-3 each; J Doyle (1 sideline) 0-2 each; J Kavanagh, E Callaghan, A McCrory (Tyrone) 0-1 each
Tyrone: O Mulligan 0-4(3fs); S O’Neill 0-3(2fs); M Donnelly 0-2; N McKenna, S Cavanagh 0-1 each.
Kildare: S Connolly; P Kelly, H McGrillen, O Lyons; E Bolton, M O’Flaherty, E Callaghan; M Foley, P O’Neill; E O’Flaherty, M Conway, J Doyle; A Smith, T O’Connor. J Kavanagh. Subs: P Fogarty for Smith (48); D Flynn for Foley (61).
Tyrone: J Curran; A McCrory, C Gormley, PJ Quinn; C McCarron, P Harte, D McCaul; A Cassidy, C Cavanagh; R McNabb, M Donnelly, S Cavanagh; O Mulligan, N McKenna, Stephen O’Neill. Subs: Joe McMahon for McCrory inj (35+7); Sean O’Neill for McCaul (63).
Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).