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Remember the Game: Laois U-21s come good to topple Kildare in 2000 Leinster quarter final replay

Laois 2-11 Kildare 0-12
2000 Leinster U-21 FC Quarter Final Replay 

For this week’s Remember the Game, we are going back 21 years to a Leinster U-21 football championship match involving Laois and neighbours Kildare.

The sides had drawn in Portlaoise previously and this replay was settled by two goals from current Park-Ratheniska manager and Ballylinan native Kieran Kelly.

This was a much heralded Laois team – having won All-Ireland minor glory three years previously – but they would not win Leinster.

They would go on to lose the semi final to Meath who subsequently lost the final to neighbours Westmeath.

But the strength of this team was undeniable, a point proven by the fact that seven of them would go on to enjoy a famous win over Kildare three years later at senior level.

Tom Kelly, Joe Higgins, Aidan Fennelly, Padraig Clancy, Darren Rooney, Stephen Kelly and Gary Kavanagh all started in Laois’s Leinster final win in 2003.

This game is remembered for the amount of wides that Laois kicked – something that kept Kildare in it right until the end.

The score was 1-6 to 0-6 at half time and the gap remained tight right until injury time.

That was until the aforementioned Kelly popped up with the goal that put the game to bed.

Check out some great Alf Harvey pictures from the match below:

SCORERS – Laois: Kieran Kelly 2-0, Gary Kavanagh 0-5 (one free and two 45s), Stephen Kelly 0-3 (two frees), Mark Dunne 0-2, Brian Fitzpatrick 0-1 Kildare: Colm O’Reilly 0-4 (one free), Kenneth Donnelly 0-3 (all frees), Niall Naughton and Terry Rossiter

Laois: Michael Leigh; JP Kehoe, Brian Gaynor, Paul McDonald; Tom Kelly, Joe Higgins, Aidan Fennelly; Padraig Clancy, Darren Rooney; Kieran Kelly, Brian Fitzpatrick, Mark Hovendon; Stephen Kelly, Gary Kavanagh, Mark Dunne. Subs – Mick Lambe for Mark Hovendon, John Behan for Darren Rooney, Diarmuid Mullins for Mick Lambe.

Kildare: Padraig Canavan; Joe O’Malley, Padraig Mularkey Michael Wright; David O’Hanlon, Derek Byrne, Sean White; Colm O’Reilly, Niall Naughton, Declan Winders Adrian McAndrew, Terry Rossiter, Kenneth Donnelly. Subs – Eoin Flanagan for Declan Winders.

SEE ALSO – Laois Abroad: Shooing kangaroos and a garden of cockatoos – meet the Abbeyleix native loving life in Central Queensland

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.