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Magical Meath End 10-Year Wait For Provincial Glory In Wonderful Style

Magical Meath End 10-Year Wait For Provincial Glory In Wonderful Style
By Arthur James O'Dea Updated

After some delay, we have our 2018 Electric Ireland Minor Leinster champions. With Galway, Monaghan and Kerry all laying claim to their respective provincial crowns already, Meath can now proudly join this exclusive group.

In Tullamore on Saturday afternoon, the young men from the Royal County were too much for a Kildare side that had gone through two arduous games in their provincial semi-final against Wicklow.

Running out 1-15 to 1-7 winners in the end, Meath held Kildare at a distance throughout. They kicked four unanswered points before the Lilywhites got their first score of the game after 11 minutes.

Leading by 8 points at the half-way mark, it was to Kildare's great misfortune that the first goal of the game would come Meath's way. Adding some respectability to the scoreline, Kildare grabbed a consolation goal late on, but the damage was well and truly done.

With the provincial championships now over, Meath will face Derry, while Kildare look forward to a clash with Ulster champions Monaghan in the quarter-finals of the Electric Ireland Minor Football Championship. The other quarterfinals see reigning champions Kerry play Roscommon and Connacht champions Galway take on Clare.

Here are your nominees for the Electric Ireland Player of the Week (as selected by the people of Ireland on Electric Ireland's Facebook page)

Luke Mitchell (Meath)

Man of the match on a memorable night for Meath football, Luke Mitchell's 0-8 came from a wonderful blend of dead-ball strikes and shots from play.

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Spreading his scores across the entirety of this one-way final win, the game was never wanting too long for another Mitchell point.

The Dunshaughlin man operated beyond a level the Kildare backs could reasonably hope to deal with on a torrid evening for them in Tullamore. He will be hoping he can repeat the trick against Derry next time out.

Matthew Costello (Meath)

Captain of a Meath side now gearing up for an All-Ireland quarter-final clash with the Ulster runners-up, Derry, Matthew Costello grabbed 0-2 from play during his side's provincial win.

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Playing among the half-forwards, Costello's energy and willingness to run with the ball caused all manner of panic among the Kildare defence.

Opening up space for his teammates, the Dunshaughlin man must also be credited for a lethal pass into Bryan McCormack that led to Meath's only goal of the game.

Lifting the trophy at the end, Costello will undoubtedly have one eye on leading his county to a first All-Ireland minor triumph in 26-years. Having already overseen the county's 10-year wait for a Leinster triumph at minor level, anything will seem possible.

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John Ball (Kildare)

A telling nominee from the Kildare point of view, if not for John Ball in goal, things may have been significantly worse for the Lilywhites on a disappointing day.

Spectacular throughout, his fearless heroics limited a rampant Meath side to a solitary goal. Picking up where he left off in Kildare's replayed semi-final win against Wicklow, Ball denied the Meath captain Matthew Costello with an incredible double save early into the second-half.

Shortly afterward, he would prove the saviour again; this time it was Darragh Swaine who couldn't find a way beyond the Clane 'keeper.

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When the goal did come from Bryan McCormack shortly thereafter, there was little or nothing Ball could hope to do about it.

Have your say and cast your vote for the player of the week nominees on Electric Ireland's Facebook page by clicking here. All nominated players will be in with a chance of making overall team/player of the year at the 2018 Electric Ireland GAA Minor Star Awards.  

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