Aaron Browne points way to Kildare’s EirGrid U20 All-Ireland football final destination

Eirgrid All-Ireland U20 Semi-Final: Kildare 0-12 Sligo 0-7

Kildare's Aaron Browne celebrates after kicking a point during the EirGrid GAA Football All-Ireland U20 Championship semi-final win over Sligo at Kingspan Breffni Park in Cavan. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Five points from the boot of corner-forward Aaron Browne helped Kildare into the All-Ireland U20 final, as they proved too strong for Connacht champions Sligo in Kingspan Breffni Park.

The Yeats men were playing in the final four for the first time, but were behind for the full game once Browne kicked Kildare’s opening score.

The Leinster champions were wasteful at times, but kicked 11 of their 12 points from play, and were always able to keep their lead intact whenever Sligo threatened a fightback.

It took Sligo almost 18 minutes to register a score, though it was an inspirational one as wing-forward Oisin Flynn showed confidence to kick from distance.

The Yeats men doubled their tally with a free from Lee Deignan but Tommy Gill, Adam Fanning and Daniel Lynam already had Kildare in the driving seat at that stage.

Browne took his tally to three and Kildare’s to six soon after, but not before Joseph Keaney powered forward to kick a brilliant score for Sligo.

It was a four-point game just before the break as Niall O’Regan got in on the act, and Browne was on the mark again as Kildare went in at half-time leading 0-8 to 0-3.

It could have been worse with centre-forward Lynam going for goal after breaking through the middle, but his shot was deflected out.

Kildare’s wide tally rose to 11 early in the second half, with Sligo claiming the first score of the period with a close-range effort from Gavin Duffy.

It was a bright start to the second half for Dessie Sloyan’s side, and they twice attacked the Kildare goal but twice fouled the ball at the vital moment, though Keaney managed another superb point from play.

O’Regan got Kildare’s opening score of the second period, but a big turnover from Sligo substitute Luke Casserly created the chance for Canice Mulligan to make it a three-point game with ten minutes left.

O’Regan went looking for another but his fisted effort came back off the post, and Sligo worked the ball down field for Eoghan Smith to bring it back to a two-point game.

But that was as good as it was to get for Sligo, as Kildare lifted the tempo again when the pressure came on. After Gill claimed their first score from a placed ball, Browne popped up again with his fifth point to ease any nerves.

And full-back Dean O’Donoghue broke forward to kick the insurance score in injury-time.

Scorers – Kildare: A Browne 0-5, N O’Regan and T Gill (1f) 0-2 each, D Lynam, D O'Donoghue and A Fanning 0-1 each; SLIGO: J Keaney 0-2, G Duffy, C Mulligan, L Deignan (1f), O Flynn and E Smith 0-1 each.

Kildare: C Barker; H O’Neill, D O’Donoghue, M Maguire; T Gill, J McGrath, R Burke; B Gibbons, L Killian; N O’Regan, D Lynam, S Farrell; A Browne, A Fanning, E Bagnall. Subs: D Swords for Lynam (42), J Dalton for Bagnall (46), J McKevitt for Fanning (57), T Von Engelbrechten for O’Regan (61), T Martin for Farrell (64).

Sligo: K Davey; S Molloy, M McGowan, C Johnston; J Donlon, J Lavin, C Mulligan; F O’Donnell, J Keaney; O Flynn, L Deignan, D Walsh; G Duffy, E Smith, J Davitt. Subs: L Casserly for Flynn (ht), L Marren for Duffy (36), M Henry for Walsh (46), O Gorman for Smith (56), C O’Reilly for O’Donnell (56).

Referee: M McNally.

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