Kildare Ladies Senior Football League Div3:
By Robert Cox @Suncroft GAA
Kilcock Ladies travelled to Suncroft on Tuesday night last knowing that a win over their hosts would leave them top of the table after the 10th and final round of the league. With this in mind the girls from North Kildare produced one of their best performances to date to come away with a comprehensive thirteen point victory. Manager Shane Stone will have been happy to have a near fully fit squad to choose from on the night, with Linda Byrne the only absentee as she continues to recover from a hand injury but he suffered a blow in losing midfielder Caoimhe Fagan to a bad knee injury towards the end of the game. Suncroft looked the more organised of the two teams in the pre game preperations but in fairness to Kilcock it was a long journey to make on a Tuesday evening and they weren’t helped upon arrival having to change in a container with no electricity, hard to believe in this day and age but as Kilcock would show throughout the game none of this would affect them.
When the game got under way ten minutes behind schedule, Suncroft were the quicker to settle and were two points up without reply after six minutes following points from Emma Hanlon and a free from Ellen Dowling. Kilcock were really struggling at this stage to come to terms with the pace of the host’s forwards but the management dealt quickly with this by making some positional changes. Kilcock’s outlet was Orla Cagney who was operating at right half forward and looking a threat when she got the ball and it was Cagney who made a strong run through the Suncroft defence, before she was brought down in the square and the referee awarded a penalty. With regular choice penalty taker Grace White sitting out the start of the game due to an illness, Louise Keane stepped up and duly slotted home, though the keeper did manage to get a hand on it but it wasn’t enough to keep it out. It was exactly what Kilcock needed as it seemed to settle them after a shaky start in which Suncroft had thrown everything at them. Kilcock went on to get the next six scores of the game, with midfielder Aisling O’Connor dominating in midfield and making powerful runs forward while also supplying her forwards. It was O’Connor that got her sides opening point following one of her trademark runs and it was O’Connor again that won the free for Keane to convert on twelve minutes to leave three points between the sides. Centre forward Sheena Byrne got her name on the scoresheet soon affter with a fine point before the impressive Orla Cagney got 1:01 in the space of two minutes. Cagney’s point came after she linked well with Noelle Conlon and tapped it over from twenty yards while her goal came as she immediately won the resulting kick out, went straight at the defence and though she seemed to be going for a point, the ball dropped short and in over goalkeeper Fran Wade’s head to shock the home team. Kilcock’s good start apart from the opening seven minutes, was all the more impressive as they were playing up the hill and into a stiff breeze. Emma Robinson got her sides last score of the half on twenty minutes to leave them nine points up but Lorraine Foy and wing back Aine Conway did manage to pull two back for their team. Conway’s was an impressive individual score as she got forward from the back to point from thirty yards. This left seven points between the sides as the referee blew the half time whistle. It also let Kilcock know that Suncroft were not out of the game despite their deficit.
Half Time Score: Suncroft 0:04 Kilcock 2:05
Kilcock returned for the second half having made no changes during the interval, as Stone kept faith with the team that played so well for twenty minutes of the first half. Young Emma Maguire was the stand out defender of the half as she battled it out with Suncroft’s dangerous forward Trina Duggan, While captain Shona Cagney was once once again the back bone of the team from centre back. Just like the first half though Suncroft settled the quicker and must have thought they would continue to reel in Kilcock’s lead when the aforementioned Duggan raised the white flag after thirty two minutes. Any chances of a comeback were quashed though when Robinson got her second point of the night, a fine fisted effort from close range. Kilcock’s players and supportes may not have been happy to see the referee who was in charge of their last game against Robert Emmets due to his fondness of blowing the whistle for the slightest tackle but I think their opinion of him changed throughout this contest as he protected them somewhat from a Suncroft side not afraid to put in the odd heavy tackle.
Kilcock suffered a hammer blow a few minutes later when corner back Fiona Campion put through her own net. It was unfortunate for the defender as the ball came back off the post and deflected in off her and past the helpless Eimear Kelly. In the past this may have put this team back into their shell and allowed the opposition to go on and win the game but this team that Stone has built are made of sterner stuff than that. This was evident four minutes later when Sheena Byrne got her second point of the night as she pointed on the run from just outside the D. Byrne was now relishing the gaps that were appearing in Suncroft’s defence as they pressed forward and she latched onto a ball soon after, jinked in and around a few defenders before finishing with precision to the bottom corner. This seemed to knock the stuffing out of Suncroft and they were punished even more when midfielder Caoimhe Fagan got the point her work deserved. Unfortunately for Fagan though she landed awkwardly from the resulting shot and had to be taken off with what looked like a serious knee injury. Noelle Conlon added another point soon after as the game began to get a bit scrappy following the long delay as a result of Fagan’s injury and the fact the game seemed over as a contest.
Suncroft did manage to pull back another score, a goal on fifty six minutes and unfortunately for Kilcock it was another O.G that could have been prevented as the ball seemed to be gong wide but it was to be too little too late for the south Kildare side. Once again Kilcock showed great heart and responded with four scores without reply before the end. The first an excellent goal from O’Connor as she finished low along the ground to score a three pointer for the second week running. O’Connor added a point a minute later before Emma Robinson and Sheena Byrne wrapped up proceedings with a point each. Robinson can be thankful to substitute Laura O’Neill for her build up play prior to the point. O’Neill is making a habit of this from the bench as she pushes for a starting place.
Though both these sides were through to the semi finals long before this game, the difference between first and second in the round robin stages were at stake and following on from this win Kilcock now go on to play Robert Emmets in a home semi while Suncroft will host 3rd placed Na Fianna. This leaves the possibility that both these sides could meet again before the year is out. In the final.
Best for Kilcock were Emma Maguire and Shona Cagney in defence, Aisling O’Connor in midfield and Sheena Byrne and Orla Cagney in attack but this is only to name a few as the whole panel could be mentioned for their hard work and togetherness at the minute. Best on the night for Suncroft were Aine Conway in defence and Trina Duggan and Ellen Dowling in the forwards. Best wishes to Caoimhe Fagan for Kilcock in her speedy recovery from her knee injury.
Full Time Score: Suncroft 2:05 Kilcock 4:12
Sheena Byrne 1:03
Aisling O’Connor 1:02
Louise Keane 1:01 (1f) (1p)
Orla Cagney 1:01
Emma Robinson 0:03
Caoimhe Fagan 0:01
Noelle Conlon 0:01
Trina Duggan 0:01
Ellen Dowling 0:01
Emma Hanlon 0:01
Amy Conway 0:01
Lorraine Foy 0:01
6:Shona Cagney (c)
Aoife Divily for Louise Keane
Claire King for Hayley White
Wides: Kilcock (7) Suncroft (9)
Frees Conceded: Kilcock (28) Suncroft (24)
Player Of The Game: Emma Maguire (Kilcock)