Kildare Ladies Senior League Div3 Round 2:
By Robert Cox
The Kilcock senior ladies made the short trip to Clane on Thursday night last, the 3rd May and came away with two more points in the bag and their 100% league record intact. This game though was not as one-sided as the ten point difference may suggest and had it not been for the goals, it could have been a totally different outcome. As they say though, ‘goals win you games’ and Kilcock have full forward Emma Robinson to thank for her brace in the first half and Noelle Conlon for her spectacular solo effort in the second. Even though both sides had played the third round of league games last week, they had to go back to round two tonight and complete this re-fixed match. Kilcock were on somewhat of a high having defeated Kilcullen and Na Fianna but they were down to the bare minimum tonight with many girls unavailable for various reasons and only two subs on the bench. Clane on the other hand were in bad need of a win coming into this and were not helped with only fourteen girls starting the game. They did manage to reach the maximum ten minutes into it but with no replacements to choose from, fatigue became a factor late on.
Right from the throw in this game had all the signs of a tight one and it was five minutes before the opening score and it came for Kilcock through Robinson, whos’ shot from thirty yards went over the bar via the post. This would settle the dangerous full forward who just before that missed the target when clean through on goal. Clane struck back almost immediately when midfielder Kiri Lowry cut a line through Kilcock’s defence and tapped the ball over the bar. The visitors struggled to cope with Lowry early on and it was she who was fouled fourteen yards from goal to allow full forward and place kicker Nicki Collins tap the resulting free over the black spot. Two became three soon after when Collins again pointed from a placed ball. Kilcock though began to grow into the game and their new look forward line began to create chances but it was two frees from the boot of Grace White that had them level after fifteen minutes. Though White put the ball over the bar, she can thank midfielders Sheena Byrne and Aisling O’Connor for their hard work in winning the frees.
Robinson decided that the next five minutes would belong to her though and what resulted was to be the turning point on the night. After some great skill from Grace White to beat the Clane defence and hit the ball low into the corner only to be denied by the post, the poacher in Robinson pounced on the rebound and finished to an empty net. The small crowd in attendance barely had time to draw breath when Robinson was put through one on one with the Clane stopper Grainne Gaffney, who made a brilliant save, the luck went the way of the girls in green and gold though as the ball fell back into the arms of the waiting Robinson who calmly slotted home. Lowry and Collins responded for Clane with a point from play and one from a free respectively. The former once again after a splendid solo effort from county player Lowry. Kilcock’s White wrapped up the scoring for the half when she got her first point from play following some fine movement from Linda Byrne and Aisling O’Connor. Kilcock’s corner forward Jennifer Fagan did have a goal chance late on but she was denied by the in-form Gaffney for Clane. In fact Kilcock could have been out of sight had Laura O’Neill’s goal not been disallowed for a square ball when she quiet clearly ran into the square. The game was halted for some minutes as it was been resolved which raises the arguemant again for vanishing a rule that continues to cause so much controversy.
Half-time score Clane 0:05 Kilcock 2:04
Now while the opening period saw both sides between them get eleven scores and create so many chances and moments of excitement, the second half did not. The second half praise must go to both sets of defenders who worked so hard to keep the respective forwards at bay, there were chances but they were kept to the minimum and between them both sides could only conjure up five scores.This was good news for Kilcock who had a lead to protect, a lead they must have thought was in danger as right from the throw in Lowry carried the ball to within twenty yards of the goal and without a tackle, duly slotted the ball over the bar. If Kilcock were worried, they need not have been as this was to be Clane’s only score of the second half. They did create some chances however and had it not been for Eimear Kelly between the sticks for Kilcock, Clane could have battled back but alas one score in any half of football wont win you games. Kilcock did not fair much better, though points from Robinson, White and Sheena Byrne kept them ticking over, these were all either side of the Noelle Conlen show. Conlon who started centre forward, was moved to the edge of the square by stand in manager Seamus Kane and this change reaped dividends straight away as she caught a high ball, beat three defenders and blasted the ball to the roof of the net. It was going to take something special to beat Gaffney for a third time and Conlon produced it. This put the contest beyond any doubt and as the light faded quickly so did any hope of a Clane comeback.
For Clane Grainne Gaffney was superb in goal, Kiri Lowry was a constant threat to Kilcock throughout, aided by Ciara McAndrew in the forwards. Kilcock had to reshuffle somewhat tonight but a lot of players stepped up to the mark. Eimear Kelly was as solid as ever in goal while the whole full back line of Therese Macken, Linda Byrne and Mary Tighe got out in front of their forwards to win their fair share of ball. Fiona Campion looked at home at centre back, while just to her right, Orla Cagney was the stand out player on the night, working hard to link defence and attack while at the same time stopping any dangerous attacks from Clane. Aisling O’Connor worked hard in midfield throughout. Shanon Byrne revelled in her new position at wing forward and got through a mountain of work until substituted with five minutes left and while all the forwards moved well together, Emma Robinson’s haul of 2:02 made her stand out. Clane are a decent side though and with a few players to return, will put it up to any team they meet for the remainder of the league. Kilcock themselves are shaping up well but know they still have a lot of work to do if they are to cut out the silly mistakes that have been evident in their first three games. On paper it looks like their least impressive win of the three so far but the manner in which they ground out the victory against a tough Clane side will please their management the most. One thing is for sure, both sides will be there come the business end of this very tight Division Three League.
Full time score Clane 0:06 Kilcock 3:07
Emma Robinson 2:02
Grace White 0:04 (2f)
Noelle Conlon 1:00
Sheena Byrne 0:01
Kiri Lowry 0:03
Nicki Collins 0:03 (3f)
1:Eimear Kelly (8)
2:Therese Macken (8)
3:Linda Byrne (c) (8)
4:Mary Tighe (8)
5:Orla Cagney (9)
6:Fiona Campion (7)
7:Emma Maguire (7)
8:Sheena Byrne (7)
9:Aisling O’Connor (7)
10:Shanon Byrne (7)
11:Noelle Conlon (7)
12:Grace White (7)
13:Laura O’Neill (7)
14:Emma Robinson (8)
15:Jennifer Fagan (7)
Laura Ward for Laura O’Neill
Hayley White for Jennifer Fagan
Jennifer Fagan for Noelle Conlon
Laura O’Neill for Shanon Byrne
4:Kelly Ann Murphy
Wide Count: Kilcock (10) Clane (6)
Score Of Game: There were some fine points from both sides on the night and for Clane Kiri Lowry will feel unlucky one of her well taken, individual points was not selected as the winner but as the old saying goes, ‘goals win you games’ and where as Emma Robinson’s two first half goals were more of the poacher’s type, in the second half and with the game hanging in the balance, her team mate Noelle Conlon won the ball thirty yards from goal, turned, took on three Clane defenders and blasted the ball into the roof of the net.
Save Of Game: Kilcock goalie Eimear Kelly was her usual reliable self and on any other night she would have claimed this award but at the other end Clane had Grainne Gaffney, who despite conceding three goals was in inspiring form with no less than seven top drawer saves. The pick of them been a fantastic point blank save to deny Emma Robinson her hat-trick. With Robinson clean through on goal, she blasted the ball towards at the target but Gaffney got a finger tip to it and kept it out.
Player Of Game: For the losing teamGrainne Gaffney was impressive throughout and had it not been for her many saves Kilcock would have been out of sight by half time. Many players performed well on the night for the winners, with Mary Tighe, Aisling O’Connor, Emma Robinson and Therese Macken particularly to the fore but it is Orla Cagney who gets the nod for her pure hard work and endeavour for the whole hour. She started at wing back and not only did she carry out her defensive duties with aplomb but she also attacked at every given opportunity and when asked upon by management, moved to midfield and curtailed Clane’s main threat Kiri Lowry
Ref Watch: The referee had a good game and only had one controversial decision to make in disallowing Laura O’Neill’s first half goal for Kilcock. He was probably too far from the play to make that call on his own and did consult with the umpires at the goal who deemed the corner forward to be inside the square and the goal was chalked off. He was very quick to halt play when an injury occurred for either team and must be commended for that but did well also in allowing the teams advantage when they were fouled and still in possession. Both teams clean and fast play made his job that bit easier on the night and their fair play and willingness to get on with the game meant he did not have to show any cards. (8)