Naas 0-20 Maynooth 0-12
Naas captain Brian Byrne lifted the Carew Cup on the steps of St Conleths Park today as his club became the first to win four successive Kildare Senior Hurling titles since the early 1980s.
Man of the match James Burke turned in a faultless display as he inspired his team with half of their scoring tally.
Maynooth were playing in their first final since 1943 and were massive underdogs against a team who beat them by 27 points during the group stages. However, their clever defensive set up frustrated Naas and they were particularly competitive during the first half.
Cathal McCabe epitomised their efforts through the opening 30 minutes and in a withdrawn sweeper role, he was at the heart of everything Maynooth did in an attempt to repel the best that Naas could throw at them.
He even got forward to score a point in the last minute of normal time at the end of the half to tie the game for the fourth time at 0-06 apiece.
However, this properly sparked Naas to life, Charlie Sheridan scoring in first half injury time, along with two Burke frees, to leave Naas three clear (0-09 to 0-06) ahead at half-time.
The second half was more of a slog for Maynooth and with McCabe and Cian Forde operating very deep, their attack struggled to make headway.
They scored just one point in the opening 24 minutes of the second half as last year's All-Ireland Intermediate champions gradually began to wear them down.
Burke’s frees from every conceivable angle and distance was central to that and he scored three as Naas scored five in a row to lead 0-15 to 0-07 with six minutes to play.
The next six points of the game were shared between the free takers, four for Maynooth’s David Qualter and two for Burke, and there was six points between the sides going into injury time.
Naas scored three of the four points scored in the four additional minutes, including one brilliant effort from Cathal Dowling, to eventually seal the win.
Their attention will now turn to a Leinster Senior Championship campaign, with the Offaly champions due in Newbridge for a quarter-final tie in November, where Naas manager Tom Mullally will be gunning to replicate the success he enjoyed at Mt Leinster Rangers.
Mullally won an All-Ireland Intermediate title with the Carlow club in 2011 and famously had them in a Leinster Senior final within a couple of years and you couldn’t rule out something similar for this talented Naas team.
Naas: Cormac Gallagher; John McKeon, Conan Boran, Peter O'Donoghue (0-01); Kevin Whelan, Sean Gainey, Harry Carroll; Simon Leacy (0-02), Rian Boran (0-01); Liam Walsh, James Burke (0-10, 10f), Cathal Dowling (0-02); Brian Byrne, Jack Sheridan (0-03), Charlie Sheridan (0-01).
Subs: Darach Mac Donncha for McKeon, 14-16; Kevin Aherne for Sheridan, 60+1; Rian Monaghan for Carroll, 60+2.
Maynooth: Sean Bean; Josh Cahill, Matt Eustace, Daniel O'Meara; Ciaran Flanagan (0-01), Fiachra Lohan, Ronan Dunne; Graham Kenny, Harry Dunne; Adam Jordan (0-01), Cormac Nolan, Matt Melia; David Qualter (0-08, 6f), Cian Forde, Cathal McCabe (0-02).
Subs: Kevin Dunne for Nolan, 38; Michael Hogan for R Dunne, 42; Eoin Kelliher for H Dunne, 49.
Referee: Brian Kearney.