Galway are through to the semi-finals of the All-Ireland minor football championship after Nathan Grainger’s late goal killed off any hope for Kildare at Pearse Park this evening.
Grainger’s major came in the 51st minute to ensure the young Tribesmen a date in the last four against the winners of Munster champions Kerry or Tyrone who square off tomorrow in Tullamore (throw-in 2pm).
It was a killer blow for a Kildare side which had recovered from a disastrous start that saw them conceding a goal just 10 seconds when James McLaughlin caught the throw-in, drove forward and blasted to the back of their net.
Grainger, Daniel Cox and Tomo Culhane added points to the would-be winners' lead but they still couldn’t pull away from the Lilywhites, as scores from Eoin Bagnall, Adam Conneely and Aaron Browne had it at 1-3 to 0-4.
Conneely very nearly had the ball in Galway’s net after that only for his low shot to go inches wide of the post before Culhane’s fine score at the other end made it a three-point game again.
Browne fired one over from distance for the trailers prior to Galway stringing together back-to-back points through Culhane (free) and Evan Nolan.
The Leinster champions hit back with a brace of their own, leaving it at 1-7 to 0-8 for the half, but the resumption didn’t go according to script for them as Warren Seoige (2), Cox and Nolan raised consecutive white flags for the lads in maroon.
Browne (2) and Bagnall (free) kept Kildare right in it but with nine minutes left on the clock their semi-final hopes went up in smoke when Seoige sent through Grainger, who finished with aplomb.
Galway - D Halleran; J McGrath, R King, L Tevnan; C Hernon, E Fiorentini, K O’Neill; J McLaughlin (1-1), D O’Flaherty; E Nolan (0-2), W Seoige (0-2), D Brady; N Grainger (1-2), T Culhane (0-6, 5f), D Cox (0-3). Subs: C Gallagher for D Brady, M Colleran for D O’Flaherty, N Cunningham (0-1) for N Grainger, J Webb for K O’Neill, A Naughton for E Nolan.
Kildare - C Burke; M Maguire, C Boran, T Gill; PJ Cullen (0-1), O O’Rourke, J Quinn; S Flynn, K Eustace; E Bagnell (0-5, 4f), C O’Brien (0-1), A Browne (0-5); E Meehan, A Boyle (0-1), A Conneely (0-2). Subs: D Woulfe for C O’Brien, M Delahunty for E Meehan, R Comeou for O O’Rourke, O Milmoe for A Boyle, M Whelan for J Quinn, J Kavanagh for M Maguire.
Referee - S Lonergan.Tweet