A Step Back In Time Through The Championship Years To The Dublin v Kildare 2017 Leinster Final

In the second installment of Through The Championship Years we take a look at the 2017 Leinster Final meeting between Dublin and Kildare in Croke Park.

Dublin headed into the game as red hot favorites to claim another Leinster title, Kildare’s record in their previous four meetings with Dublin was dismal with 56 points between the teams and most pundits were predicting another double digit win for the Dubs.

But that didn’t deter the punters with a whopping 66,734 patrons flooding through the Croke Park turnstiles.

For Dublin supporters it was the day they witnessed the coming of age of a future superstar Con O’Callaghan who finished with a personal tally of 0-12 which included six converted frees as the Cuala man took over the free taking duties from Dean Rock after he was black carded in the 24th minute.

Dublin got off to a flying start in the game and things looked very ominous for the Lilywhites when Jim Gavin’s team raced into a 2-03 to 0-01 lead after only 11 minutes on the clock.

Paul Mannion, Ciaran Kilkenny and Con O’Callaghan got the ball rolling for the men from the Capital with three fine points.

In the 9th minute of play Dean Rock made a brilliant run behind the Kildare defence and was picked out with a pinpoint hand pass by Ciaran Kilkenny, the Ballymun Kickhams man let fly and slotted the ball low into the bottom left hand corner of the Kildare net.

Moments later came goal number two, James McCarthy broke up field played a clever one-two with Kilkenny and McCarthy stepped inside a Kildare defender and slid a low shot past the dive of Mark Donnellan in the Kildare goals.

Con O’Callaghan’s second point of the game in the 18th put Dublin nine points in front and Kildare looked in real trouble.

But Cian O’Neill’s side responded well and outscored Dublin by 0-09 to 0-04 for the remainder of the half to drag themselves back into the contest.

Four points in a row, Cathal McNally with two and one apiece from Keith Cribbin and Kevin Feely began the fight-back.

But despite reducing the deficit to just four points at halftime Kildare were no match for Dublin’s pace, power and finishing in the third quarter of the game as Jim Gavin’s side put serious daylight between themselves and O’Neills team.

Dublin powered 2-17 to 0-12 clear with some super points from Paddy Andrews, Bernard Brogan, O’Callaghan and Kilkenny.

Brogan who finished with 0-05 to his name after replacing the black carded Dean Rock and scored a couple of stunning points.

Kildare did have their moments in the second half, in the 42nd minute Daniel Flynn found himself one-on-one with Cluxton, but the Dublin captain denied Flynn the goal Kildare desperately needed with a fine point blank save.

The Lilywhites did finish the game with a flurry of scores with points from Feely, Fionn Dowling and Paddy Brophy and in the final minute of injury time Dowling caught a long ball in front of the Dublin square and scored a consolation goal.

Dublin though deservedly won by nine points and secured a remarkable 7th Leinster title in a row in another memorable game through the championship years.

Dublin: S Cluxton; P McMahon, C O’Sullivan, M Fitzsimons; E Lowndes, J Small, J McCaffrey; J McCarthy (1-00), B Fenton; C O’Callaghan (0-12, 0-06f), C Kilkenny (0-02), N Scully; P Mannion (0-01), P Andrews (0-01), D Rock (1-0).

Subs: B Brogan (0-05) for Rock (24, black card), S Carthy (0-01) for Scully (47), D Daly for McMahon (48), K McManamon for Andrews (51), D Byrne for O’Sullivan (58), B Howard (0-01) for Fenton (67).

Kildare: M Donnellan; M O’Grady, O Lyons, D Hyland; K Cribbin (0-01), E Doyle, J Byrne (0-01); K Feely (0-05, 0-04f), T Moolick; D Slattery (0-01), N Kelly (0-01), F Conway; C McNally (0-02), D Flynn (0-02), P Brophy (1-03, 0-01f).

Subs: P Cribbin for Conway (44), F Dowling (0-01) for Moolick (49), P Kelly for Doyle (52), B McCormack for McNally (57), E Bolton for Byrne (63), E Callaghan for Feely (64, black card).

Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow).