The 2023 Electric Ireland Leinster minor football final will be a repeat of last year’s pairing, though Dublin and Kildare secured their places in the decider in very different styles on Wednesday night.
Kildare edged out Meath by a single point, while Dublin’s attack was in blistering form at Glenisk O’Connor Park in Tullamore, ruthlessly punishing Offaly errors to record a 6-15 to 1-8 win.
A soccer-style finish from Paddy Curry and a powerful low drive from Harry Curley got the Dubs out to a dream start, though Offaly gave themselves a lifeline when they replied with a Cian Bracken goal set up by an incisive run from midfielder Callum Kelly.
Dublin’s Lenny Cahill showed his undoubted talent with a couple of wonderful points, but Offaly were still in the hunt up just before half-time when a misplaced clearance allowed Noah Byrne to dart in on goal and fire in goal number three. Two minutes later, a mishit free across their own goal allowed Curry to intercept and pick out the bottom corner with a precise finish, and the Dubs were 4-4 to 1-2 ahead at the interval.
Offaly made one last surge after half-time when Cameron Egan pointed and they had a chance to follow up with a penalty, but Cillian Murray dived sharply to block Kaelem Bryan’s effort, and further goals from Curley and Luke O’Boyle followed for a rampant Dublin side.
It was all very different at Hawkfield, where Kildare had the bare minimum to spare at the end of a tense and thrilling contest against Meath. Two midfielders – Kildare’s Joey Cunningham and Meath’s Cian Commons – were the stars of the show, shooting 0-4 and 0-5 respectively, with Commons hitting three early points to push Meath 0-4 to 0-2 ahead after 12 minutes.
The second and third quarters belonged to Kildare however as the Lily Whites took over defensively, and eked their way in front through a series of long-range dead ball strikes from goalkeeper Cathal Moore, as well as points from Cunningham, Donnchadh Kinch and Evan Donnelly .
After falling four behind, Meath rallied in the last 10 minutes and twice got within a point, but the clock ultimately beat them as Kildare held out for an 0-13 to 0-12 win.
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