Aisling McGing Cup 2012:
By Robert Cox http://extratimethesportsreport.blogspot.ie/
@ Radley Park, Leixlip
What a difference a week makes… and no not in relation to football. The weather. This time last week I sat in the sun in my summer clothes as I watched Meath defeat Wicklow in Dr.Cullen Park, Carlow. Fast forward a week and take away the guts of ten degrees and I sat in Leixlip, struggling to take notes for this report, my hands frozen with the wind that blew through a stand sparsely populated with home supporters. Dublin looked a well drilled and more professional team in their warm up and that is in no way been disrespectful to the Kildare management team who may have stayed inside to try and get to know their team as they have had to work with many different players throughout this short tournament. This was visible as the game wore on as Kildare lacked sharpness and togetherness, while Dublin looked more of a unit and found their passes to more effect but many of the girls who put on the white of Kildare for the first time can only learn from such an experience and hope maybe to train with the first team next year.
When the game got under way though it was in fact the Lillywhites who took the game to their metropolitan counterparts and they got their reward their early work deserved when wing forward Shannon Donaghy blazed a trail through the Dublin defence and blasted the ball home, it was a great start for the hosts but it would be fifteen minutes before they would score again. This seemed to wake Dublin up though but for their part they squandered chance after chance as they struggled to cope with a wind that blew across the pitch, which would eventually result in thirteen first half wides. For all their pressure, it was the twelfth minute before wing forward Ellen Keatly opened their account with a point following a strong run through the Kildare defence that found it hard to cope with her pace early on. Kildare goalie Aoife Molyneaux, who pulled off some fine saves on the day, denied Dublin full forward Niamh Keane from point blank range minutes later before Keane and Keatly added a point apiece on the fifteenth and nineteenth minute respectively to leave the sides level. Dublin did however suffer a hammer blow in that time too as the impressive Keatly had to be carried off with what looked like a serious knee injury and this seemed to inspire Kildare as they went back into the lead with a fine point from Leixlip girl Aileen Quinn. Playing on her home turf, Quinn received the ball from an inside forward, beat two players and split the posts from 30 yards. As strong as Dublin seemed at times, Kildare were well up to the task in the first half but were let down by some poor passing and over playing from too many players. Kildare centre forward but with 21 on her back, Roisin Byrne was given a roaming role in the game and spent most of her time sweeping up ball in her own half back line but she did get forward at times and just as well too because on twenty-three minutes she cut a line through a for once porous looking Dublin defence and calmly slotted the ball past the goalie to put Kildare four points ahead. This was as good as it got for Kildare though on the day and had they kept that four point lead until the half time whistle who knows what might have happened but alas they didn’t and in fairness to Dublin they kicked three points in the last two minutes of the half to leave just the minimum between the sides. Two of those points came from the dangerous right boot of Sinead Regan as she opened her account on twenty nine minutes, with a Niamh Keane point sandwiched in between. A tight first half left Kildare with a one point lead but Dublin were guilty of too many wides, it would only be a matter of time before they would turn their possession into points.
Half Time Score: Kildare 2:01 Dublin 0:06
With the second half under way, Dublin’s fitness and strength began to show as early as the first few minutes and just as they had finished the opening half with three late points, they began the second with the same result in the space of the first three minutes. Kildare were struggling to cope with the running game of Dublin, with the midfield and half backs particularly to the fore. It was one of those, half back Roisin Ryan that bombed forward for the first of the trio to level the game up. Regan added two more, one from a placed ball as the Jackies began to pull clear. Kildare did ring the changes as the half wore on, giving girls some valuable experience at this level which can only stand to them in the future. It was one of the starters however, Roisin Byrne that got their first point of the half from a close range free on thirty six minutes. They say you are at your most vulnerable just after scoring and this was the case for Kildare, who had any hope of a comeback diminished when Dublin midfielder Shona Barret won the resulting kickout, played a long ball into the forwards who duly obliged and finished the ball to the net, Regan added a free and a point from play either side of a Niamh Keane goal as the Dubs began to move through the gears. The game at this stage was over as a contest but the sin-binning of defender Laura McGahan for a high tackle will be the only blot on an other wise excellent second half performance by Dublin. Kildare never gave up, with Shannon Donaghy running strongly at the away defence and winning frees for the accurate Roisin Byrne to convert. At the other end though the girls in navy and blue did not let up till the end with Regan getting her seventh point of the day while substitute Rebecca Davey wrapped up proceedings with a goal and a point of her own to leave Dublin with a double scores victory over their neighbours. Kildare might be disappointed with the eventual outcome but this game was closer than the eleven point margain might suggest, with the concession of some soft goals from Kildare helping to paint over some cracks in Dublin’s overall performance
Best for the winners on the day were Anna Hazley and Roisin Ryan at the back but it was up front that produced star performances from Sinead Regan, Niamh Keane, Sinead Cummiskey and Ellen Keatly (before her injury) but Regan stood out from them all on the day and it was her seven point haul that helped her side pull away when needed. She also showed her willingness to work hard to win her own ball and lay off to a player in a better position. She was the difference on the day. For Kildare, Kilcullen’s Aoife Molyneaux performed admirably between the posts pulling off some excellent saves to prevent the goal count rising above three. The Kildare defence did struggle at times but none of the girls can be faulted for their effort in difficult conditions and against a strong set of forwards, Helen Sexton just about gets the nod as the best of the six. In midfield, the partnership of Sheena Byrne and Aileen Quinn worked well together and they just about shaded their battle with their Dublin counterparts, their work rate was immense and they never gave up. Quinn also kicked one of the points of the game in the opening half. The forwards had a good first half and looked and a constant threat, especially the fast running of Shannon Donaghy and the accurate scoring of Roisin Byrne. Byrne stood out as Kildare’s best on the day and revelled in the free role she was given from centre forward. I only hope that Kildare learn from this and know there is plenty of talent around the county and they can get them all out earlier next year, train with the first team and have a good crack at this competition. Dublin? Well they keep the conveyor belt of talent coming through and move on. This is where Kildare should strive to be.
Full Time Score: Kildare 2:05 Dublin 3:13
Roisin Byrne 1:04 (4f)
Shannon Donaghy 1:00
Aileen Quinn 0:01
Sinead Regan 0:07 (3f)
Niamh Keane 1:02
Rebacca Davey 1:01 (no.22 sub)
Ellen Keatly 0:02
Roisin Ryan 0:01
Subs:Niamh Quinn, Emma Robinson, Paige Byrne, Trina Sourke, Briona Hoban, Catherine O’Hara and Grace White
8:Anne Marie Cahill McBarron
Wides: Kildare 8 (1st half 3) (2nd half 5) Dublin 18 (1st half 13) (2nd half 5)
Frees Won: Kildare 21 Dublin 11
Player Of The Game: Sinead Regan (Dublin)