Ladies U-16 Div 1, Balyna v Kilcock:

Balyna 4:16
Kilcock 2:07

The idea of summer football, it’s music to everyones ears, isn’t it? Long, sunny evenings, perfect playing conditions, the safety of matches going ahead with no waterlogged pitches, family, friends, partners all turning up to watch u perform… Aww it’s the stuff of dreams, who ever played games in rainy April or worse still October? How would you put together a team when people would rather choose a nice warm open fire over a mucky,rain drenched GAA field? Wrong, it’s not the stuff of dreams,take away the ideal playing conditions and spare a thought for the manager of an u-16 team made to play a league campaign, starting in late June and continuing throughout July and August, the peak for holidaying families leaving the mentors of clubs around the county of Kildare pulling their hair out because one week their missing their star full back, the next their star midfielder is gone and if your really unlucky as in the case of Kilcock’s manager Linda Byrne in Johnstownbridge tonight, she had to do without the services of top defender Ashling O’Connor and midfielder Caoimhe Fagan and that was only tonight, she has had to give walkovers in previous rounds and suffer heavy defeats in others. Balyna dont seem to be fairing too much better, though they had a strong side out, there were only twelve of them!! So whoever sat down at the start of the year and made up these fixtures needs to be told of their mistakes before next year and if they dont wish to listen they probably need to be relieved of their services.. Why? you ask, because if this was to continue it would destroy underage football and make more and more girls and boys walk away to other sports such as rugby and soccer than there already is. So get your act together and get a league going in March and April and another one in September/October, all months when there is school and most importantly no families jet setting off to Spain or Portugal. Anyway sorry for the rant from this disgruntled reporter and on to the action tonight. Yes we had the perfect conditions and all the families out to watch so that side of it was good and this seemed to suit Kilcock early on, as right from referee Rachel Watson’s throw in, midfielders Joanne Mulligan and Grace White set off in attack and in pursuit of the first score and though they along with some team-mates lay siege on the Balyna goal it was five minutes before they got the games opening score, a free from Grace White after Mulligan had been fouled twenty yards out after a strong, defence bursting run. Unfortunately for Kilcock for all their early possession that was to be their sole score until the fifteenth minute and Balyna grew into the game, a game that seemed to suit them better due to all the space resulting from the twelve a side farce we had to endure. In this barren spell for Kilcock, Balyna scored 1:07 mainly from frees and their strong running midfield and half-forward line. White added Kilcock’s second, again a free and again won by Mulligan. That was to be the girls’ in green and gold last score of the half and even with staunch defending from Emma Maguire and Claire King they went on to concede a further 2:04 in the remainder of the half, though Elaine Kilduff was unlucky not to add another point as her shot just tailed off to the left and wide. This was to be the end of the one-sided affair though and whatever Byrne said to them at half-time definitely worked as they came out like a team on a mission after the change of ends and with White now deployed in a new half-forward role, Maguire in midfield and substitute Yvonne Leonard at centre-back the team looked to have more cohesion and this began to show on the scoreboard, even if White and Emma Doran were desperately unlucky to see efforts come rocketing back off the cross-bar, both within minutes of eachother. And just after a Lorna Murray wide their luck changed as the mecurial White blasted home two quick-fire goals in two minutes, both capable of winnning any goal of the month competition. Further points from White(1), Emma O’Neill(2), Yvonne Leonard(1) and a brillliant solo effort from Maguire put some respectability on the scoreboard and credit too must go to goalie Emma Jayne O’Shea who kept the score down at the other end with numerous point-blank saves. Balyna did continue to keep the white flag raised with great accuracy from various parts of the field but Kilcock can take some heart from their second half display, a half they won and though the overall score will show a comprehensive win for Balyna, had this league been played at a different time of the year… who knows what could have happened!! Best on the night for the visitors were Emma Jayne O’Shea between the sticks, Yvonne Leonard and Emma Maguire at the back and Grace White upfront.

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