Kildare Ladies Senior Football League Div3:
Robert Emmets 1:03
By Robert Cox @Sallins GAA
Kilcock’s Senior Ladies adapted better than their hosts following the three week break for exams to come away from Sallins with a comprehensive victory in what was the penultimate game for both sides in the league’s round robin stage. Coincidentally both these teams met in the last game before the break up, with Kilcock also coming out on top, but only just. So Shane Stone and his side made the short trip to Sallins expecting another tough contest but unfortunately for Robert Emmets this did not transpire this time around. The absence due to county commitments of star player Mary Hulgraine was a massive blow prior to this game for the home side who badly needed a win to end a losing streak that now stretches to five games and to also help in their attempts to grab the last remaining semi-final spot.
It was however Emmets that started the brighter and controlled the game for the first five minutes but without ever really threatening Eimear Kelly in the Kilcock goal. The visitors soaked up that early pressure, lead by their captain Shona Cagney as she broke down attack after attack from Emmets and in fact it was Kilcock who got the games’ opening score when they broke down the field quickly before wing forward Grace White shot a fine right footed effort from twenty yards over the bar. This seemed to settle Kilcock who began to get a foothold on the game, especially in midfield through Caoimhe Fagan and Aisling O’Connor. Robert Emmets levelled the game on nine minutes through Kathleen O’Hara but incredibly this was to be their only score of the first half, thanks mainly to some stout defence play from the girls in green and yellow and some rather poor shooting from the former. Emma Robinson got Kilcock’s second on eleven minutes, when she blasted over the bar from close range with the goal at her mercy but with the game still closely contested at this stage, her decision to point might have been the wisest option and as they always say, ”one point takes two to beat it”. White added her second and Kilcock’s third three minutes later from a free before Orla Cagney got in on the act with a fine point on fifteen minutes. Noelle Conlon, who was operating in a two pronged full forward line alongside Louise Keane, fired over two points in two minutes, both fine solo efforts in which she wrangled her way through the home defence and blasted over. She will be thankful her second point raised the white flag as she had Emma Robinson and Sheena Byrne free inside her and a quick look up and hand pass would have surely resulted in a goal but as it was the scoreboard was ticking over and Kilcock were pulling away. Centre forward Sheena Byrne got her first of the night, when she too found a gap in a now porous Emmets defence but Byrne was also happy with her point. At this stage Kilcock had seven points on the board and could have been out of sight had there been some three pointers added to that and while the forwards were happy with taking their points, midfielder Aisling O’Connor wasn’t, so on twenty two minutes she showed them how it was done. O’Connor made one of her forays up the field, got on to a broken ball, spotted the keeper off her line and showed great skill to lob the ball in over her head and into the top corner. Conlon added another point soon after and O’Connor’s midfield partner Fagan was not to be out done as she kicked a fine point from thirty yards. Corner forward Louise Keane got the point her hard work deserved just before half time to give her side a twelve point interval lead.
While the forwards were getting all the praise for their scoring expertise, without their hard working defence it would all have been in vein. Alongside Cagney, Therese Macken and Fiona Campion were at their best to keep their forward scoreless. While youngsters such as Paige Byrne, Hayley White and Emma Maguire showed calm heads well beyond their years when under early pressure. Though the score board suggests a very one-sided half, this was not the case and at times the Sallins/Raheens combination showed why they were last years division four champions and put Kilcock under some pressure. Sadly the half and in fact the whole game was never given a chance to flow with the referee feeling the need to blow for every little tackle. Ladies football has got a reputation over the years for been exciting to watch due to its low free count, flowing football and teams discipline in comparison to mens but if every game was to be refereed in this manner it would ruin the sport. It was more like a game of American football with its stopping and starting and neither team are in no way to blame for this as they were only interested in playing football but sadly they were getting blown up for every little niggly tackle. It is turning into a non contact sport. Yes shouldering should remain a foul but not touching someone on the arm. When these two sides last met in the league there was 41 frees between them. Tonight there was 68 at least!!
Half Time Score: Robert Emmets 0:01 Kilcock 1:10
When the two teams emerged back out onto the field for the second half, the crowd of around forty people or so would have been forgiven for thinking the game was over as a contest but Robert Emmets thought different and they were not going to go down without a fight as they got the first three scores of the half. The first a pointed free from Tara O’Neill, the second a brilliant left footed goal from centre forward Laura Doyle, who gave Kelly in goal no chance and the third another point from Kathleeen O’Hara. O’Hara who treated herself to a brace of points on the night, lined out in goals when these sides met three weeks ago. Sadly for Robert Emmets and their manager Ciaran Cuneen, that was to be their last score of the game, with twenty minutes still remaining and just like the first half, they only really threatened for the first ten minutes. Kilcock for their part gave the impression that they felt their job was done for the night and failed to score for the first eighteen minutes of the second period while also totally losing shape throughout the field. They can thank goalie Eimear Kelly for her heroics between the posts in preventing two definite goals, in one case she dived to the bottom corner to scoop a ball out and around the post for a ’45’. Kelly is improving as the games go on and her confidence on the ball sets the tone for the rest of her team.
When Kilcock did decide to start playing again, Conlon was once again to the fore, firstly with another well taken point and then with a super goal from twenty yards. When she intercepted the ball in the Emmets defence she left herself and Sheena Byrne with only the goalie to beat. Conlon bravely decided to shoot from distance and it paid off as she placed the ball with precision into the bottom corner via the inside of the post, I’m sure she would have had Byrne to answer to if the effort had failed but it didn’t and her confidence has to be admired. Shane Stone was ringing the changes at this stage and it was one of those subs, Laura O’Neill who got her sides third goal when she won her own ball, layed it off, went for the return, beat her player and finished low and hard to the corner. That is O’Neill’s second goal in as many games from the bench and that along with her all round good play in the forward line leaves Stone with selection headaches in the future. Aisling O’Connor made it four goals with another excellent effort to the corner of the net for her second before Sheena Byrne rounded off the scoring when she split the posts from thirty yards to give her side a deserving fourteen point victory.
Next up for the winners is a top of the table clash away to Suncroft while Robert Emmets know that a win at home to Kilcullen in their final game should secure them the last remaining semi final spot. It is still all to play for for both these sides. One thing both teams will agree on is that the standard of refereeing must improve before it ends up like basketball and a non contact sport. That is not the way we want to see our beloved sport going.
At the end of the day it wasn’t vintage football from either side, with the wet conditions not helping this. Persistent heavy rain meant that on the ‘longest’ day of the year, light like Robert Emmets challenge faded quickly. Best for the losers were Laura Doyle, Tara O’Neill and Kathleen O’Hara. For the winners, Eimear Kelly was as solid as ever in goal, while Therese Macken and Shona Cagney were the best of a strong defence on the night. Caoimhe Fagan and Aisling O’Connor resumed their midfield partnership after an absence and both had fine games. Upfront Orla Cagney worked hard at wing forward as a link between defence and attack while Noelle Conlon top scored with 1:04. Kilcock now enter a crucial few weeks in their season and know tougher games await them….Possibly a league semi final against tonight’s opposition who are a much better side than they showed tonight.
Full Time Score: Robert Emmets 1:03 Kilcock 4:12
Noelle Conlon 1:04
Aisling O’Connor 2:00
Laura O’Neill 1:00
Grace White 0:02 (1f)
Sheena Byrne 0:02
Orla Cagney 0:01
Caoimhe Fagan 0:01
Louise Keane 0:01
Emma Robinson 0:01
Robert Emmets Scorers:
Laura Doyle 1:00
Tara O’Neill 0:01 (1f)
6:Shona Cagney (c)
Robert Emmets Team:
7:S. A. Hamill
Wides: Kilcock (5) Robert Emmets (5)
Frees Conceded: Kilcock (40) Robert Emmets (28)
Player Of The Game: Shona Cagney – Read the game superbly from centre back, sweeping up attack after attack from Robert Emmets. Lead by example as captain of her team. Moved to full back late on to curb the threat of Laura Doyle. All round solid game and excellent handling. Worrying sign when subbed late on with hamstring injury.