The Laois U-20 footballers dethroned the reigning All-Ireland champions Kildare in St Conleth's Park, Newbridge with a three point win in a thrilling game this evening, Diarmuid Whelan leading the line with a ten point haul.
Laois 0 - 17
Kildare 1 - 11
Leinster U-20 Football Championship Round 1
Kildare opened with the first score of the game through a free from Luke Griffin two minutes in. Laois looked to reply and very nearly raised the first green flag of the day only for full-back Mark Barrett to block Dan McCormack's shot.
Kildare went up the field and doubled their advantage through Liam O'Flynn, and then went three clear through a Jack Cully free.
Laois opened their account after five minutes when Diarmuid Whelan converted after Niall Dunne was fouled. Kildare restored their three-point advantage with Darragh Kirwan swinging over a beautiful point, but Laois replied through Michael Doran before a Diarmuid Whelan brace levelled the sides.
Kildare went on to hit four in a row through Colm Joyce (2), Brian McDonnell and Luke Griffin to pull away with ten minutes to go until the break. Laois reduced the deficit to the minimum before the interval with Whelan hitting two from play either side of an Eoin Dunne '45 to leave the half-time score reading 0-8 to 0-7 in favour of the Lilies.
Laois quickly got back on level terms with Dean Brophy splitting the posts before they took a three-point lead with Whelan coming to the fore with to nail all three, one coming from a free.
Kildare re-opened their account ten minutes in when Kirwan fired his second of the game, but Laois went straight back on the attack to rattle off another three points with Doran, Ronan Coffey and Whelan giving Laois a five cushion with just under fifteen minutes to go.
Kirwan pullled one back for Kildare with his third of the evening, but Laois added two more through Doran and Whelan with five minutes to go.
Kildare looked for a way back and bombarded the Laois square, but Billy O'Loughlin's side held strong. Kildare were awarded a dubious penalty in the fifth minute of injury-time which Griffin dispatched, but Laois finished with a mighty score from Whelan in the seventh minute of injury-time.
*See Tuesday's Leinster Express Sport for full coverage
Scorers: Diarmuid Whelan 0-10 (0-3 frees), Michael Doran 0-4, Eoin Dunne 0-1 ('45), Ronan Coffey 0-1.
Team: Matthew Byron (Courtwood); Michael Dowling (Portlaoise), Seamus Lacey (Ballylinan), Alex Mohan (Portarlington); Colin Slevin (Portarlington), Jack Lacey (St Joseph’s), Dean Brophy (St Joseph’s); Robert Tyrell (Camross), Eoin Dunne (Rosenallis); Ronan Coffey (Portarlington), Michael Doran (Killeshin), Niall Dunne (Courtwood); Alan Kinsella (Courtwood), Dan McCormack (O’Dempsey’s), Diarmuid Whelan (Ballyroan-Abbey). Subs: Jack Owens for McCormack (49 mins), Mikey Dempsey for Dunne (58 mins), PJ Daly for Doran (60 mins), Jason Maher for Kinsella (61 mins), Kevin Byrne for Slevin (64 mins).
Scorers: Luke Griffin 1-2 (frees), Colm Joyce 0-2, Liam O'Flynn 0-1, Jack Cully 0-2 (0-1 free), Darragh Kirwan 0-3, Brian McDonnell 0-1.
Team: Aaron O’Neill (Carbury); Niall O’Sullivan (Maynooth), Mark Barrett (Ballymore Eustace), Caolan Halpin (Ballymore Eustace); Evin McGovern (Rathcoffey), DJ Earley (Monasterevan), Daragh Ryan (Sarsfields; James Carey (Carbury), James Burke (Naas); Liam O’Flynn (Celbridge), Darragh Kirwan (Naas), Brian McDonnell (Sarsfields); Colm Joyce (Naas), Jack Cully (Carbury), Luke Griffin (Naas).