KILDARE won a record fourth Christy Ring Cup by brushing aside the challenge of Mayo in Croke Park.
The gap in physicality, skill and experience of playing at a higher level showed from the early stages and this game was over as a contest before even the half-time whistle.
Kildare captain Brian Byrne, who went on to lift the trophy for a third time after captaining his county to similar successes in 2018 and 2020, scored Kildare’s first goal in the 10th minute despite the very best efforts of Bobby Douglas. The Mayo goalkeeper kept out Byrne’s initial shot and then denied Shane Ryan from the rebound but at the third time of asking he was finally beaten when Byrne drilled a shot into the top corner.
James Burke and Gerry Keegan both ended the game with double figure scores and they made sure that the umpires behind the Mayo goal were kept busy as Kildare pushed out into a big lead. Only Shane Boland offered any kind of resistance on the scoreboard for Mayo.
By the time Cathal Dowling got in for Kildare’s second goal in the 32st minute to make it 2-14 to 0-6, David Herity’s team were set for victory.
It was 2-17 to 0-8 at the half time and the second half continued in a similar fashion and the result was never in doubt.
It was a great day for the likes of Niall O’Muineacháin and Paul Divilly who have now played in all of Kildare’s four Christy Ring victories but by the time that next season rolls around this Kildare team will be looking to make a mark at the level of the Joe McDonagh Cup, on the basis of this performance they are certainly capable.
Meanwhile Tyrone found their A-game at Croke Park as they swept to victory in the Nickey Rackard Cup title, with Damian Casey pointing the way to the county’s second title with a 0-14 haul in their 1-27 to 0-19 win over Roscommon.
Sean Og Grogan grabbed the only goal of the game in the first half, and the Red Hands never looked back.
P McKenna; N Ó Muinacháin, S Leacy, C Dervian, K Whelan, R Boran, C Boran; C McCabe (0-3), P Divilly; G Keegan (0-10), J Burke 0-11 (6fs, 1’65), J Byrne, B Byrne 1-2, S Ryan 0-1, C Dowling 1-1. Subs: J Travers for Derivan, 43; M Delaney for Divilly, 44; J Sheridan for Ryan, 47; S Christianseen for Whelan, 57; P Dolan 0-1 for Dowling, 63; T Finnerty for C Boran, 63 b/s.
: B Douglas; G Nolan, S Coyne, P Kirwan; M Philips, G McManus, D Kenny; K Higgins 0-1, D Huane; S Kenny 0-1f, J Mooney 0-1 s/l, A Philips; E Delaney 0-1, J McManus 0-2, Shane Boland 0-10 (5fs). Subs: K Feeney 0-3 (1f) for P Kirwan, 30; E Roe for M Philips, h/t; C Hession for D Huane, 49; P Lyons for Delaney, 63; B Hunt for S Kenny, 66.
M Kennedy (Tipperary).