Kildare Ladies Junior A Championship: Round 2
By Robert Cox @Kilcock GAA
A goal right on the stroke of half time from Kilcock’s Grace White was the difference between these
two evenly matched teams @Kilcock GAA on Saturday night, the 18thAugust. Both sides came into this round two tie knowing that a win would all but secure a semi final berth with the two having secured victory in their opening games, Kilcock beating Clane and Carbury beating Kilcullen by four points. When the fixtures were released for the Junior A championship this was always one of the stand out games to look forward too as Kilcock seeked to gain some revenge for their loss at the hands of Carbury in the 2010 Junior B final. The game lived up to its hype as both teams went hammer and tong for the sixty minutes, exchanging points and playing some fast, exciting football. The only negative on the night came from the referee who was whistle happy at times for both teams, causing too many stoppages throughout. Kilcock had to take to the field without the injured Therese Macken and the holidaying Emma Maguire and Paige Byrne, with Laura Ward making her first start in championship football at wing back while Carbury for their part were also short some regular players as they only came with the bare fifteen. Kilcock also had to plan without long term absentee Caoimhe Fagan and I would like to take this opportunity to wish Caoimhe a speedy and full recovery from her knee injury. Caoimhe has been and will continue to be a massive loss to Kilcock.
It was the visitors though who started the brightest and were two points to nil up after only three minutes through Karen Cummins and no.9. Been slow out of the blocks is something that Kilcock have been guilty of in most games this year and they know that they must work on that as the championship progresses. It took seven minutes for Shane Stone’s side to open their account and it was captain Shona Cagney leading by example who did so with a fine point from play. Cagney who was now operating in the more forward role in midfield compared to her usual centre back role was relishing her rare forays into the forward line and will be happy to see her name on the scoreboard for her efforts. This game was always going to come down to the battle of the free takers giving the style of refereeing on the night and it was Kilcock’s set piece specialist Grace White who levelled things up from a placed ball on eleven minutes but that was short lived as Carbury’s equivalent Cummins pointed her first free two minutes later to restore her sides lead. Noelle Conlon kicked her first point of the night for Kilcock to level up matters again after seventeen minutes. Conlon picked up the ball out the field, went on one of her trademark runs through the opposition defence and pointed on the run from thirty yards. At this stage Kilcock were struggling a bit to deal with the strong running of Carbury’s half forward line especially the lively Cummins and Stone took action by switching Orla Cagney back their to curb the threat. It was Cummins who put the visitors back in the lead on nineteen minutes, again from a free before White did likewise at the other end. Even though only twenty minutes had elapsed, It was plain to see that the players, mentors and supporters from both teams were becoming increasingly frustrated by the performance of the referee, who was ruining a game (that had the potential to be one of the greats) by blowing up for every small tackle. Maybe I am wrong and he was going by the letter of the law and if I am I apologise in advance but surely common sense should prevail. Shona Cagney pointed after twenty two minutes to put her team into the lead for the first time in the game but that lead was short lived as no.9 equalised with a great solo effort on twenty eight. That was to be as good as it got though for the girls in blue and yellow who suffered the hammer blow of White’s goal two minutes later. Though White will get all the plaudits for her goal, credit too must go to the hard work of her team mate Noelle Conlon in setting her up. Conlon, fed White after winning the ball back out the field and from twenty yards out there was no doubting White only had one thing on her mind. When many around her may have panicked or taken the point, White riffled the ball to the roof of the net giving the Carbury goalie no chance. Even at this early stage of the championship it would have to be a contender for goal of the season!! This left the sides going in at half time on a scoreline of Kilcock 1:05 Carbury 0:05
Now while most of the credit thus far went to the forwards, both sets of defenders were well on top in most cases. Not least Kilcock’s Hayley White who was giving a defensive master class at corner back in her first full season with the senior team. The future of Kilcock’s defence is certainly bright with names such as White, O’Connor and Ward knocking around. Unlike the first half, Kilcock started the second much better and with the team still buzzing from the goal, Conlon won the throw in, fed her full forward Emma Robinson straight away and Robinson opened her account on the night to extend her sides lead to four points. Four soon became five when Conlon pointed and with Kilcock now looking dominant it looked like they would only stretch it even more but write off Carbury at your peril. They stuck in there and battled for every ball 100%, like many a Carbury team before them have and they got their reward as Cummins struck over the games next two points. The first a free and the second from play. Kilcock themselves are made from hard stuff these days and they didn’t panic. They were winning the majority of both kickouts and the breaking ball and with Emma Hoare once again playing her new found free role with aplomb, they kicked on again. Grace White put over two frees on 48” and 52” respectively before Cummins pulled one back, also from a free to leave four in it with three minutes remaining. This left Carbury needing a goal and though they tried in vein, it never came. Cummins went for goal from a fourteen yard free but it grazed the top of the bar and went over and it was Emma Robinson who had the last say with the insurance point for Kilcock in injury time. Substitute Eve Powderly was introduced late on to make her championship debut as the conveyor belt of underage talent continues to reap benefits for the senior team. The only blot on an otherwise perfect night for Kilcock was the sin-binning of the influential Emma Hoare late on for a trip on her opponent but it was too late to have any effect on the game. Hoare is not that type of player and I think she may have been speaking for all players involved with a small bit of frustration at the standard of refereeing on the night. Again I don’t like been over critical, it is not an easy job but it is also a contact game and the girls put in hours at training working on their tackling drills, only to be blown up for the smallest of tackles. That’s my two cents!! Credit must go to both teams for a good, competitive game of football and it is hard to see them not meeting again before the year is out. One thing is for sure after seeing the game Saturday night we now know that championship football for 2012 is well and truly up and running.
For Kilcock Eimear Kelly was as solid as ever between the sticks and adds another clean sheet to her collection. Her defence were water tight all night and though Hayley White was the stand out performer of the six, she was ably assisted by Linda and Shanon Byrne and Orla Cagney. Shona Cagney was inspirational in midfield while upfront Noelle Conlon, Emma Hoare, Sheena Byrne and goal scorer White performed well. The losers were best served on the night by no9 in midfield and the accurate left foot of Karen Cummins in the forwards who came away with an impressive haul of seven points.
Full Time Score: Kilcock 1:10 Carbury 0:09
Grace White 1:04
Emma Robinson 0:02
Noelle Conlon 0:02
Shona Cagney 0:02
Karen Cummins 0:07
No 9 0:02
Laura O’Neill For Laura Ward
Eve Powderly for Louise Keane
Wides: Kilcock (8) Carbury (5)
Frees Conceded: Kilcock (39) Carbury (37)
Player Of The Game: Hayley White (Kilcock) A defensive master class throughout where she had her player in her pocket. Brilliant reader of the game for one so young. Bright future ahead of her.