Tyrone 1-13 Kildare 0-10
Tyrone produced a dominant first half display to emerge from Newbridge with a deserved victory but both they and Kildare have qualified for the semi-finals.
Kildare improved somewhat in the second half, reducing their crippling number of turnovers significantly.
Despite the wind being at their backs however, they kicked nine wides in that period and dropped six shots short, finishing with 15 wides and eight shots dropped short in comparison to seven wides and two shots dropped short by the more clinical Tyrone.
Mark Donnelly’s eighth minute goal sent the visitors on their way and Stephen O’Neill was also magnificent as Tyrone led by 1-8 to 0-3 at half time.
Kieran McGeeney rested most of his U21s ahead of their impending Leinster final, with Niall Kelly, Daniel Flynn and Paddy Brophy not even togged out.
He did introduce two other U21s – former AFL man Paul Cribbin and Seán Hurley - for their first starts of the season. They both made their mark, with Cribbin slotting three points from a deep-lying half-back position.
Tyrone never looked like being reeled in though and points from Patrick McNiece, Aidan Cassidy and a wonderful effort by Connor McAliskey ensured that they had enough breathing space to be comfortable up to the final whistle.
O’Neill showed his enduring class with a pointed free from the 13m line wide on the left touchline to open the scoring and it was two minutes later when Emmet Bolton dallied on the ball and had his attempted clearance blocked by Donnelly.
The corner-forward raced through and although his first shot was saved by Mark Donnellan – another of Kildare’s U21 contingent – Donnelly was quickest to react and toe-poke to an empty net.
Seanie Johnston (free) and Alan Smith scored a couple of points but with Tyrone dominant in most sectors and particularly the middle third, and Kildare’s supply of their forwards bordering on neglectful, the Ulster men pushed forward relentlessly, scoring five points in succession.
Two of those were from frees from 44m and 46m by goalkeeper Niall Morgan, who finished with three, while Connor McAliskey (free), Ryan McKenna and O’Neill were also on target.
Ronan Sweeney stopped the rot after a lay-off from Johnston but the completely unmarked Colm Cavanagh set up Peter Harte for a score in response before an O’Neill spectacular sent Micky Harte’s side in at the break leading by eight points.
Kildare had three wides inside the opening two minutes of the second half to give onlookers an indication of what was to follow.
Hurley and Eamonn Callaghan did get their hands on more ball but some of the shooting beggared belief. By contrast, Tyrone made the most of their opportunities and never looked in trouble.
Cribbin’s display was the big positive for Kildare (along with the fact that some of their best performers this year were being given some time off) and it will be interesting to see if Kildare can find a structure and balance that might allow the Johnstownbridge man operate on the opposite flank to the like-minded Bolton.
Harte was wearing a broad smile afterwards, undoubtedly buoyed by a strong team effort and in particular, the performances of veterans O’Neill, Seán Cavanagh, McKenna and McNiece.
Tyrone: N Morgan(fs), S O’Neill(1f) 0-3 each; M Donnelly 1-0; C McAliskey, P Harte 0-2(1f) each; R McKenna, P McNiece, A Cassidy 0-1 each
Kildare: P Cribbin 0-3; S Johnston 0-2(fs); A Smith, E Callaghan, E O’Flaherty, R Sweeney, S Hurley 0-1 each
Tyrone: N Morgan; C Clarke, C McCarron, A McCrory; R McKenna, Joe McMahon, R McNamee; C Cavanagh, S Cavanagh; P McNiece, P Harte, Matthew Donnelly; C McAliskey, S O’Neill, Mark Donnelly. Subs: P Kane for Matthew Donnelly (ht); D McBride for Clarke (ht); M Penrose for Mark Donnelly (51); A Cassidy for C Cavanagh (62)
Kildare: M Donnellan; H McGrillen, O Lyons, P Kelly; E Doyle, M Foley, E Bolton; H Lynch, P O’Neill; E O’Flaherty, E Callaghan, M O’Flaherty; S Johnston, R Sweeney, A Smith. Subs: S Hurley for Lynch (26); T O’Connor for Sweeney (ht); P Cribbin for M O’Flaherty (ht); R Kelly for Johnston (59)
Referee: Michael Duffy (Sligo)