Meath 1-16 Kildare 1-11
Meath qualified for the Leinster final today by defeating Kildare with an impressive display of attacking football.
Kildare's new look full-back line was put under pressure from the off, with Meath hitting their forwards with fast, early long balls. With Ollie Murphy and Graham Geraghty looking sharp, and Trevor Giles showing his customary accuracy from frees, Meath raced into a four-point lead, 0-6 to 0-2. The first half was almost summed up by just one minute's play. Kildare put together a promising move that ended with Karl O'Dwyer, who was substituted after just half an hour, dropping his shot short into the goalkeeper's hands. Meath then quickly moved the ball down the field, Geraghty picked up a breaking ball and hit an accurate shot on the spin over the bar.
But while Meath were using the ball far more economically than Kildare, the lilywhites gradually brought themselves back into the game. Brian Lacey charged the length of the field to show the forwards how to take a point, and other scores from John Doyle and Niall Buckley left them just a point adrift at the break, 0-9 to 0-8.
Murphy scored another classy point just after the restart, but then Padraig Brennan took centre-stage, landing two frees and a point from play to put Kildare into the lead. The game seemed to turn on an off-the-ball incident that saw Meath's Paddy Reynolds and Kildare's Ken Doyle sent off. Meath readjusted to having 14 men quicker than Kildare and Geraghty kicked two super points in quick succession. Then Giles took a free quickly to send Richie Keely through on goal, he was taken down and Giles put the resultant penalty away confidently, rolling it low to Davy Byrne's left.
Kildare looked dead on their feet at this point but received a lifeline when substitute Killian Brennan fisted Buckley's 45 to the net. However Meath kept their cool and responded quickly. Giles pointed another free, and then Evan Kelly scored a super point to put the result beyond doubt.
Meath: T Giles 1-5 (0-5 frees, 1-0 pen), O Murphy 0-4, G Geraghty 0-4, N Nestor 0-1, D Curtis 0-1, E Kelly 0-1
Kildare: P Brennan 0-4 (0-3 frees), N Buckley 0-3 (0-1 45, 0-1 free), K Brennan 1-0, K O'Dwyer 0-1, E McCormack 0-1, B Lacey 0-1, J Doyle 0-1 (free)
Filed by Pat Nugent