O’Byrne Cup Senior Football final
Kildare 3-9 Louth 2-9
Kildare won their first trophy under Kieran McGeeney when taking the O’Byrne Cup title at Newbridge this afternoon.
As has now become customary, the Lilywhites were slow out of the blocks and finished with a flourish. It was the county’s first win in the competition since 2003.
Louth looked to have matters well in control as they led by 2-9 to 1-5 after 42 minutes, but they found scores difficult to come bu in the closing stages and late goals from Conor Brophy and Keith Cribbin secured the title for Kildare.
Louth made the most of possession for three quarters of the game, as Kildare failed to fire up front, hitting five second half wides and seeing a number of shots drop short.
The game began evenly with with Emmett Bolton and Shane Lennon exchanging early scores.Lennon and Derek Maguire were Louth’s stars in the first half. Maguire scored an excellent individual goal in the 11th minute, and added the next point to make it 1-2 to 0-1.
Kildare fought back with Eoghan O’Flaherty and David Whyte adding points. Louth then took over and hit 1-4 without reply in a five-minute spell, including a second goal from Maguire as they took a 2-7 to 0-5 lead.
Kildare got the goal they badly needed through Padraig O’Neill when he blasted to the net in injury time.
Louth went in 2-7 to 1-5 ahead at the interval, and stretched their lead to seven points inside seven minutes of the restart. Soon after, they started too struggle though as Kildare began to dominate possession. Had it not been for some poor shooting Kieran McGeeney’s side could have narrowed the gap at this point.
The Wee County did well to hold the Kildare charge but it was only a matter of time before the floodgates opened. Emmet Bolton was dragged down by Ronan Greene for a late penalty, and Conor Brophy scored to level the game at 2-9 each.
It was all Kildare now and Cribbin’s 73rd-minute goal saw the Lilywhites crowned O’Byrne Cup champions for 2011.