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A Star Is Born As Kildare End 53-Year Wait For Underage Success

A Star Is Born As Kildare End 53-Year Wait For Underage Success
By Arthur James O'Dea

Although their journey through the Super 8s came to a sour conclusion in Killarney last night, this has been a good year for Kildare football. If the performance of Jimmy Hyland in this afternoon's All-Ireland U20 final is anything to go by, such years may be about to emerge with greater regularity.

In the inaugural year of the U20 championship, Kildare's presence in today's final against Mayo was naturally a first for both sides. However, in its previous incarnation as the U21 football championship, Kildare had not tasted success since 1965.

Thanks in no small part to Jimmy Hyland, that wrong was emphatically righted this afternoon. Leading Mayo from the off, Hyland contributed 0-10 of Kildare's 1-18. Incredibly, kicking with David Clifford-like ease off his right and left boot, only 0-2 of this tally came from free-kicks.

It was little surprise that he would be man of the match on a breakthrough day for Kildare football.

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The focus of much of the praise being directed toward this Kildare triumph, thoughts of Hyland in the starting XV of Cian O'Neill's senior panel are already on the minds of many.

In the All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry, Hyland had demonstrated his prowess in a similarly high-stakes game; grabbing 1-8 of Kildare's 1-14 winning today.

For all Hyland's heroics this afternoon, if not for this outstanding late save from Kildare's 'keeper Aaron O'Neill, things could certainly have ended differently.

See Also: The Road Less Traveled - Rebuffing Leinster Rugby For A Shot At The AFL

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