Late O'Connor goal sees Lilywhites lift O'Byrne Cup

Dublin 0-17 Kildare 1-16

Late O'Connor goal sees Lilywhites lift O'Byrne Cup

Dublin 0-17 Kildare 1-16

Tomás O'Connor tallied up 1-2 in extra-time as Kildare overcame Dublin in a closely-fought Bord na Mona O’Byrne Cup final at Parnell Park.

The Lilywhites substitute took on the mantle of match winner, firing home the game’s only goal after the Dubs had led 0-17 to 0-14 at half-time in extra-time.

O’Connor followed up with two swift points and the Leinster champions were unable to respond, with their captain Denis Bastick seeing red late on for striking Paddy Brophy.

This was a smashing contest that tested both teams’ levels of fitness and was a fitting way for two of Leinster’s leading lights to pay tribute to the late Kevin Heffernan.

The Dublin great, whose death at the age of 83 was announced yesterday afternoon, would have been pleased with how his native county started this game.

Four points on the trot from Paddy Quinn and late inclusions Paul Mannion (0-2) and Michael Darragh Macauley had them 0-5 to 0-2 ahead by the 23rd minute.

But Kildare nipped ahead past the half hour mark, thanks to high quality scores from Johnny Doyle, Brophy and Niall Kelly.

It took a late effort from Mannion - his third and best of the half - to ensure a 0-8 to 0-7 lead for Jim Gavin’s charges at the interval.

The Kilmacud Crokes clubman scored straight from the throw-in as Dublin resumed in good fettle, with full forward Paddy Andrews soon widening the gap to three points.

Emmet Bolton and Brophy replied for the visitors and the ever-accurate Doyle had them back level at 0-10 apiece by the 44th minute.

As the pace quickened again, Dublin seized control with Macauley and young substitute Cormac Costello both splitting the posts.

With Seanie Johnston sprung from the bench, Kildare mounted a strong response. Doyle and Hugh McGrillen, who strode up from the back, had them back level yet again.

Costello put Dublin 0-13 to 0-12 ahead and his former minor team-mate Shane Carthy made it a two-point game on the hour mark.

The Lilies held their nerve as Doyle converted a 66th minute and then substitute Padraig O’Neill, with his first touch, produced the levelling point to send the final to extra-time.

Dublin came under increasing pressure before the end of normal time with Johnston, Daniel Flynn and Bolton keeping Kildare on the attack.

Johnston went close on two occasions to scoring the winning point and Bolton struck the crossbar, while captain Mikey Conway failed to convert a ‘45’.

Into extra-time, Dublin turned things around and looked a renewed force as Paul Hudson kickstarted a run of three successive points - Pat Burke and Andrews (free) were the other scorers.

But the decisive twist came in the second period as O’Connor knocked home a scrappy 82nd minute goal, applying the finish after Johnston’s initial shot was saved.

That was the spur for Kildare to go on and win the game with O’Connor scoring an all-important 1-2 in the space of three minutes.

It was a killer blow to Dublin’s hopes and despite some strong performances, particularly from wing backs Jack McCaffrey and Chris Guckian, there was no denying the Lilywhites their second O’Byrne Cup success in three seasons.

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