Eoin Bagnall scored eight points as Kildare saw off Laois in Portlaoise to book their place in the Leinster Minor Football final for the sixth time in seven years.
It is quite the run of sustained success for Kildare at the grade, considering they only contested two of the previous 22 finals. There were no scores for the opening nine minutes but once Aaron Browne opened the scoring for Kildare, Bagnall quickly added three frees.
Laois finally got on the scoresheet when Conor Goode travelled a long way before laying the ball off for Oisin Hooney to fire home in the 17th minute. The O’Moore County were denied a second goal three minutes later, when Kildare goalkeeper Cian Burke kept out Brian Whelan’s shot.
The home side led 1-3 to 0-5 at the break but after kicking 10 wides in the first half, Kildare were much more economical in front of the posts after the break. Three Bagnall frees in a row pushed them three points clear by the midway point of the half and they didn’t look back from there.
Kildare’s last two points came from Browne and Shane Flynn before Laois scored their only point from play in the last action of the game. The Lilywhites now await the winners of Saturday’s second semi-final between Dublin and Westmeath.
C Burke; C Boran, M Maguire, J Quinn, T Gill, O O’Rourke, R Comeau; K Eustace, S Flynn 0-1; E Bagnall 0-8 (7fs), C O’Brien, A Browne 0-2, O Milmoe 0-1, A Conneely, A Boyle. Subs: PJ Cullen for Gill, 21; M Delahunty for O’Brien, 52 b/c; M Whelan for Boyle, 57.
M O’Connell; E Delaney, S Greene 0-1, N Little, S Fingleton, E Critchley, M Keogh; K Swayne, C Goode 0-2; S Fitzpatrick, B Whelan 0-2fs, B Brennan, C Dunne 0-1, R Murphy, O Hooney 1-0. Subs: C Burke for Keogh, 34; PJ Ward for Burke, 42 b/c; O Byrne for Dunne, 46; P O’Flynn for Hooney, 52; D Carolan for Ward, 57; P Hosey for Swayne, 63.
David Fedigan (Louth).