I have come to realise after a few years of writing both match and end of year reports for the Kilcock Ladies Gaelic Football Team that there is never a dull moment where they are concerned, whether it be in victory or defeat and 2012 was no different from the girls in green and gold. Just like the previous year, two more finals were reached and where as in 2011 the Junior B Championship trophy was brought back to Branganstown and the Division Three League was left behind, 2012 saw the roles reversed as the league was captured and the Junior A Championship was narrowly missed out on after some ‘Larcenry in Leixlip’!! One thing is for sure this group of girls will never let you down and their hard work always pays off no matter what the year and there are not many sides around that can claim to have contested five adult finals in three years. 2012 saw two of those finals and we will come to them shortly as I bring you through a season that started with some intense boot camp training over the winter and culminated with the ‘Highs of Hawkfield and the ‘Lows of Leixlip and everything in between.
As with any team in the current climate it is hard to maintain any sort of stability as players are forced to pastures new in search of work and though the Kilcock Ladies were not too badly affected in 2012, they did lose one of their long serving stalwarts in Bernie Durkan to London. Add to that the retirements of Rachel Fagan and Emma Hoare and it meant that manager Shane Stone was starting the new season down three players that had been the core of his side the previous year. Stone opted for stability in his backroom team by once again naming Robert Cox and Seamus Kane as his selectors for 2012, with Nicky O’Connor coming on board later in the year as back up to Cox for the summer training. As with 2011, Stone used the early parts of the year to familiarise himself with the next generation of players at his disposal by taking charge of the minor team alongside senior player Shanon Byrne and together they successfully brought them all the way in the Division Two Shield, culminating in a final victory over Na Fianna, in Carbury, with Laura O’Neill as captain of the side. The conveyor belt of underage talent that presented itself to Stone and his selectors this year is a testament to the girls who set it up some ten years ago and it is clear for all to see that the senior team is now bearing the fruits of their labour through the years. While we were sad to lose the three girls mentioned above, we gained at least six in their place, with players such as Hayley White, Laura Ward, Paige Byrne and Andrea McGrath all stepping up to the plate in 2012, not to mention Aisling O’Connor and Emma Maguire who had broken onto the scene in 2011 and by now seemed like veterans at the ripe old age of fourteen. With the minor shield in the bag, the future bright and the hard winter training over, Stone and his side were more than ready to tackle the league when the first round came along at home to Kilcullen at the start of April.
The girls got off to the best possible start in the league with a comprehensive victory over Kilcullen on a scoreline of 1:20 to 1:07, with Laura Ward and Paige Byrne making their senior debuts in the process. Grace White picked up where she left off in previous years with five points on the night, showing that class is permanent and the girls were up and running. To be honest, before the game I was apprehensive about the year ahead due to the many changes amongst the panel but I was now convinced that this side would once again be still around at the business end of the year. Victory over Kilcullen was followed up with a ten point win over Na Fianna with White once again top scoring with 1:08 before Clane were defeated by ten points in their own back yard thanks mainly to Orla Cagney who put in a superb display on the night. With three wins from three the girls were flying at the top of the table but were brought crashing back down to earth when they suffered their first loss at home to a tough Suncroft side on a scoreline of 2:07 to 1:08, a score that could have been worse had it not been for the heroics of Eimear Kelly in the Kilcock goal. Stone and his charges bounced back though to win their next two games, firstly beating Kilcullen for a second time by 1:15 to 0:04 and then also completing the double over neighbours Clane by fourteen points with Caoimhe Fagan and Paige Byrne to the fore respectively. A trip to Na Fianna in late May provided the girls with their second and last loss in the League and looking back now the five point reversal they suffered that night was the best thing to happen to them all year as it showed the girls that when they let any complacency creep into the side, they would be punished. A double header against Robert Emmets was up next either side of the three week break for exams, with Kilcock winning the first game at home by 2:09 to 1:06 thanks to two injury time goals from Laura O’Neilla and Emma Robinson. Three weeks later the scoreline was not so close as Kilcock ran out convincing seventeen point winners in Sallins with captain Shona Cagney leading by example with a fine display. The last game in the round robin series saw the girls make the long journey to Suncroft to contest a game that would determine who topped the table and play the fourth placed team. On the night the girls put in one of their performances of the year to gain some revenge for the defeat inflicted upon them by Suncroft earlier in the year. In fact they made a statement of intent with a thirteen point win, 4:12 to 2:05 with Sheena Byrne top scoring on a personal tally of 1:03 and Emma Maguire coming away with the player of the game award for her fine display in defence.
Though the top spot was secured that night, the occasion was overshadowed somewhat due to a bad knee injury sustained by influential county minor player Caoimhe Fagan. As it turned out, the bad knee injury was ligament damage and unfortunately for Kilcock and Caoimhe, her season was over. It was a massive blow for everyone involved in the team but none more so than Caoimhe herself. She lives for football and had been of enjoying a fine year on the pitch, she was on the Kilcock minor team that captured that Division Two Shield in February, was one of the senior teams’ main players in the league up to her injury and it is a testament to her that it was in kicking a fine point against Suncroft that she sustained the injury upon landing. Her greatest achievement of the year though was helping the Kildare Minors to a Leinster B Championship Final win over Laois. In doing so Caoimhe made everyone at the club very proud of her. Though her team mates would go on and contest two county finals in her absence, I am sure they would have rathered they had Caoimhe on the pitch with them. Since going to post, Caoimhe has had the operation to repair the ligament damage and we all wish her well in her recovery and look forward to seeing her back in action in 2013. Infact 2012 was an unlucky year with regards to injuries with Linda Byrne missing most of the League with a broken finger picked up in the first Clane game and Noelle Conlon suffering the same faith as Fagan later on in the year.
Having finished top of the table, Kilcock welcomed fourth placed Robert Emmets to Kilcock GAA for the semi final in early July and recovered from a slow start to turn a five point deficit into a five point win against a gallant Sallins/Raheens combination to set up a mouth watering league final meeting with Suncroft. Grace White top scored with 1:04, with Noelle Conlon chipping in with three points. Aisling O’Connor put in a player of the game performance in midfield, while also keeping the dangerous Mary Houlgrane of the Emmets’ quiet throughout. This semi final win was made even more special as it saw Emma Hoare come out of retirement and make an appearance as a substitute in the second half. If yours truly has to be honest, this was a defining moment in Kilcock’s season as Hoare would go on to be a key figure for the remainder of the season and put in a player of the game display in the upcoming league final… Losing Caoimhe Fagan was a blow, gaining Emma Hoare went some way to softening that blow. Another final appearance. Suncroft @Hawkfield.
Kildare Ladies Senior Football League Division3: Final
”A strong second half performance rescued victory from the jaws of defeat for the Kilcock Senior Ladies against a well organised and gallant Suncroft side in the Kildare Senior Football League Division Three Final at Hawkfield on Saturday the 14th of July”. That is how yours truly began summing up a game of two halves for Kilcock Ladies as they bounced back from a disappointing first half to beat Suncroft by 3:07 to 1:07 and finally claim a Division Three title that had eluded them for years. I did also state how poor I thought they had played in the opening period but at the end of the day for all my saying how poor a first half the team had, they ground out the win and as someone said to me afterwards ”never judge a performance in a final” and on reflection I would have to agree with them. Kilcock were nervous coming into this decider and for young players Paige Byrne and Emma Maguire, it was their debut in a county final. Add to that the loss of influential county minor Caoimhe Fagan due to the knee injury and Shanon Byrne, Laura O’Neill and Aoife Divily through holidays and work commitments, numbers were scarce on the ground. They did however welcome back Linda Byrne to the full back line after a long lay off with a broken finger. The return of Byrne helped add some experience steadiness to the defence. It took Kilcock seven minutes to open their account in the first half through a point from corner forward Louise Keane, Suncroft had pointed early on so this levelled the game at a point apiece. This was to be the games last score for fourteen minutes but in fairness in that period Suncroft should have had the game wrapped up and one hand on the trophy. They camped themselves in Kilcock’s half and did everything bar score. Star forward Ellen Dowling was guilty of some easy misses from placed balls while it began to rub off on her team mates as the wide count mounted up. Kilcock can be grateful the Suncroft attack had a off day. Dangerous wing forward Trina Duggan did end the scoring drought on twenty one minutes with a point her good play deserved. Emma Hoare levelled things up soon after with a point from thirty yards. Hoare was one positive from the poor start and while some others around her took a long time to settle, she showed her experience and talent to keep her side in it. Duggan restored Suncroft’s lead three minutes later from a fourteen yard free off the ground before Kilcock’s dead ball specialist Grace White equalised a minute later to leave the sides level for the third time. Emma Robinson put Kilcock ahead for the first time on twenty nine minutes with a fine point but Suncroft responded with two injury time points from Duggan and Aine Conway to lead by one at half time. Over all Suncroft were the happier of the two teams at the break but had they thrown all they had at Kilcock only to lead by the minimum? Kilcock started the second half much brighter and enjoyed a period of dominance that resulted in a stunning two minute spell that brought about two quickfire goals that changed the whole complexion of the contest. Just before those scores though Kilcock lost Louise Keane to the sin-bin for ten minutes for tugging the jersey of her opponent. Losing Keane was a blow but Kilcock pulled together and it was Noelle Conlon who drew first blood as she tapped the ball home to an empty net after Orla Cagney had hit the post and the ball fell kindly into the path of the centre forward but no matter how easy the finish, you still have to put yourself in those positions and that’s what Conlon did. No sooner had the celebrations ceased from the first three pointer when they began for the second. This time Sheena Byrne struck for her second goal of the league campaign. Byrne showed great opportunism as she made a smart run to receive a fisted pass from Grace White and somehow she found a gap in the Suncroft defence to put the ball through the eye of a needle and into the bottom corner. If Kilcock thought they were going to cruise to an easy league title at this stage they were wrong as they were immediately brought straight back down to earth with a bang as first Amy Dunne pointed from play and secondly Ellen Dowling finally beat Eimear Kelly for a goal as she put the ball low and hard into the net to once again level matters up. At this stage Keane had served her time on the line but upon return to the game was substituted by Caithlin NiMhuiricu. Sheena Byrne and Emma Robinson added points before Grace White struck the killer blow and the score of the game. Time and time again White comes up with a score of this magnitude and once again she did not disappoint. Seeing the keeper off her line, White lobbed the ball in over her head and into the top corner. It was White’s fourth goal of the league and add to that her tally of forty points, she secured her place at the top of the pile as her sides top scorer. There was still time for the two sides to trade scores before the end with Trina Duggan pointing a free for Suncroft and the impressive Emma Hoare splitting the posts in injury time for Kilcock. When the referee blew the final whistle there was a mixture of relief and excitement for Kilcock. They certainly stuck to the age old adage of a game of two halves but they got there in the end to bring to an end a nine year wait to win the division three of the league. For Kilcock Eimear Kelly was unlucky not to get player of the game for her performance between the sticks. Linda Byrne was solid in full back while Fiona Campion had a good second half in the corner. Sheena Byrne showed her forwards instinct to get 1:01 from midfield while upfront Grace White had a good game when fed the ball but it is Emma Hoare who gets the nod for player of the game for her pure hard work especially in the first half when the chips were down. She also added a point in either half to that work and brought an experience in gaining and keeping possession throughout. It is a team effort though and the remainder can be proud of their performances mainly in the second half. Captain Shona Cagney received the cup on behalf of her team and went on to thank her team mates, manager Shane Stone, selectors Seamus Kane and Robert Cox, physio Gerry Long and backroom team Nicky O’Connor and Breda Byrne.
Full Time Score: Kilcock 3:07 Suncroft 1:07
Sheena Byrne 1:01
Grace White 1:01
Noelle Conlon 1:00
Emma Hoare 0:02
Emma Robinson 0:02
Louise Keane 0:01
6:Shona Cagney (c)
Caitlin NiMhuiricu for Louise Keane
Laura Ward for Emma Maguire
Player Of The Game: Emma Hoare (Kilcock)
Kilcock Ladies Stats 2012 – League
Stats update after Suncroft Final: 14/7/12
Top Scorer Chart:
Grace White 4:40
Emma Robinson 5:20
Noelle Conlon 4:18
Sheena Byrne 2:17
Aisling O’Connor 3:08
Caoimhe Fagan 0:16
Louise Keane 2:10
Orla Cagney 2:03
Laura O’Neill 2:01
Caithlin Ni Mhuiricu 0:03
Emma Hoare 0:02
Shona Cagney 0:02
Shanon Byrne 0:02
Emma Maguire 0:01
Fiona Campion 0:01
Games Played:12 Won:10 Lost:2
Score For: 24:144
Score Against: 15:69
Wides: 84 (counted in last ten games only)
Player Of Games Awards:
1st Game v Kilcullen (Aisling O’Connor)
2nd Game v Na Fianna (Grace White)
3rd Game v Clane (Orla Cagney)
4th Game v Suncroft (Eimear Kelly)
5th Game v Kilcullen (Caoimhe Fagan)
6th Game v Clane (Paige Byrne)
7th Game v Na Fianna (Caoimhe Fagan)
8th Game v Robert Emmets (Laura O’Neill)
9th Game v Robert Emmets (Shona Cagney)
10th Game v Suncroft (Emma Maguire)
11th Game v Robert Emmets Semi Final (Aisling O’Connor)
12th Game v Suncroft Final (Emma Hoare)
With the league trophy in the bag and all the celebrations complete, the ladies returned to training after their week off to begin preparations for their assault on the Junior A Championship which was due to begin in three weeks time. Everyone involved knew that what lay ahead was a step up in class on what had gone before but they put in a serious effort over them three weeks, whether it was an early Sunday morning session or a late Tuesday night one, it made no odds. The only negative in this time was that no challenge game was played and it meant that by the time the first round came up away to Clane on a sunny Sunday morning, the girls were a bit rusty. They had beaten Clane twice in the league but they would learn quickly that league football dwarfs in comparison to the edge that championship football brings around. The team remained similar to the one that beat Suncroft a month previously with only two changes, Shanon Byrne replacing her sister Paige and Hayley White coming in for the injured Therese Macken. Once again Kilcock started slow but that could be down to the month’s break. Clane hit an early goal and looked dominant at times but Kilcock struck back with four goals on the day through Sheena Byrne, Grace White, Emma Robinson and Noelle Conlon to secure victory and get off to a winning start. Full back Linda Byrne was the star performer. Next up was a trip to Kilcullen and the visitors recorded a facile win beating their hosts by 1:21 to 1:08. Kilcock, who came to Kilcullen with their biggest panel of the year so far, (23 in total) scored a goal and eight points in the opening eighteen minutes to virtually end the game as a contest before their opponents registered a score. Shane Stone was pleased that he had a near full panel to pick from for the first time this year (apart from county minor Caoimhe Fagan and Therese Macken). The game also saw Andrea McGrath make her senior competitive debut from the bench. Grace White and Emma Robinson were to the fore with 1:05 and 0:06 respectively while captain Shona Cagney once again lead by example as she covered every blade of grass for the full sixty minutes and acted as a great link between her defence and attack. Showing a different side to her game by popping up with two points for the second game in a row as she revels in her new midfield role. Kilcock had two wins from two but Carbury and Naas were around the corner and they would provide sterner opposition.
Carbury v Kilcock never fails to entertain and when they met in the third round of the championship it was no different with only four points between the sides at the end with Kilcock coming out on top thanks to a goal right on the stroke of half time by Grace White. Laura Ward and Eve Powderly made their championship debuts on the night and young Hayley White showed her experience gained from been involved in the set up in 2011 by giving a defensive master class at corner back throughout where she had her player in her pocket. Brilliant reader of the game for one so young. Bright future ahead of her. This win secured Kilcock’s place in the semi final with one game to go, a home game against championship favourites Naas. This was always going to be a test of how far Stone and his side had come and it was a test they passed as they beat a fancied Naas side by 3:05 to 1:09. Not taking away from this win but one feels with both sides having already qualified that Naas left some of their big names at home where as Kilcock fielded a full strength side, something that would be clear to see come the final. Naas are in this grade a while so maybe they were a bit more street wise over Kilcock who had just come up from Junior B. Kilcock will take the win though and it meant they completed the group stages top of the table. As regards the game itself, a goal on either side of half time from wing forward Noelle Conlon sent Kilcock well on their way with Aisling O’Connor adding the third. Conlon, Robinson, Byrne, Hoare and McGrath all added a point each. Player of the game on the night was Emma Maguire, who returned to the starting fifteen after missing the Carbury game. Maguire was sent out to mark the dangerous Shannon Doheny and she didn’t disappoint as she won the personal duel between two girls still at minor level. Maguire restricted Doheny to just two points and never left her side throughout, while also making good use of the ball when coming out of defence. Topping the table meant that Kilcock would once again lock horns with their old rivals Carbury in the semi final @ Kilcock GAA.
The Kilcock Ladies senior football team reached their third championship final in three years at the expense of a dogged and determined Carbury side at Kilcock GAA on Saturday evening last, the 15th of September…… At one stage midway through the second half it looked like the Kilcock Ladies year was about to end at the penultimate hurdle as they trailed Carbury by five points, lacked the spark to mount a comeback and had lost Noelle Conlon to a serious knee injury in the first half. Write this team off at your peril!! Just when all around began to lose hope the girls clawed their way back, starting with a Grace White penalty midway through the second half which was the crucial turning point in a game that ebbed and flowed from start to finish but after White’s penalty there was only one team in it as Kilcok hit 2:05 without reply. Sheena Byrne got her side’s other goal while White also added six points to her penalty. Shona Cagney, Robinson, Hoare and Noelle Conlon also raised the white flag. Best for Kilcock were Orla Cagney and Emma Maguire at the back while Shona Cagney had a stormer of a game when moved to midfield as she helped push her side forward in their pursuit of destiny. Grace White kicked 1:06 with 1:04 of that coming from frees and a penalty but her all round play has to be admired also while Emma Robinson, Andrea McGrath and Sheena Byrne also had a big impact on proceedings. But Emma Hoare gets the nod for player of the game for her all round play on the night. Hoare left no stone unturned as she she played her roaming role to full affect and when the chips were down she along with Cagney drove her side on and was at the forefront of every home attack. In defeating Carbury, Kilcock had set a date for the biggest night of their footballing lives the following Saturday in Leixlip when they would bid to beat Naas and claim the Junior A Championship. The win came at a cost though as half forward and long term servant (at the age of twenty) Noelle Conlon was stretchered from the field midway through the first half with what later turned out to be a cruciate knee ligament injury. It was her side’s second one of the season and though it is hard luck on a team to lose two players in one year to such a serious injury, it is harder for the player themselves. My heart goes out to Conlon and to Fagan and I hope they both make a full recovery from their respective injuries. In Noelle’s case she had been playing some of the best football of her career, scoring a brace of goals the previous week against Naas and she was already a thorn in the Carbury side before her injury. She had scored 4:18 in the league and 3:06 in the championship. She was going to be greatly missed in the final v Naas
Kildare Ladies Junior A Championship: Final
By Robert Cox @ Glen Easton Leixlip
A goal each from Shanon Doheny and Caroline Hill set Naas on their way to victory over an unlucky and more determined Kilcock side in the Kildare Ladies Junior A Championship final @ Leixlip’s Glen Easton Park last Saturday night, the 22nd of September. Kilcock who came into the game as underdogs having only last year won the Junior B championship, had to plan without the influential figure of Noelle Conlon who picked up a serious knee injury in the semi final victory over Carbury only seven days previously, while county minor Caoimhe Fagan was also missing although her absence has been known for a long time now. It didn’t soften the blow. Laura O’Neill was given a rare championship start at corner forward with Louise Keane the unlucky player to miss out while Paige Byrne replaced the injured Conlon. Naas for their part came to Leixlip with a much stronger panel than the one that travelled to Kilcock only two weeks previously (a night they could only field fourteen players) in the final group game, a game in which Kilcock enjoyed a four point win but one must question Naas’ mind games in undermining the current structure of the championship. It is safe to say that returning players Aoife Trant and Caroline Hill would add to any team in the county but such is life I guess!! That could be their cuteness and experience at this level kicking in and it worked. The scheduling of the game for 7:30pm under lights was also to the liking of the girls in blue and white having played most of their group games in the same conditions where as the same cannot be said for Kilcock.
Right from the off it was clear for the large crowd in attendance to see that they would be in for a treat of fast flowing football and intense tackling from both sides. However in the midst of the intense start it was Naas who settled the quicker and opened their account with a bang when wing forward Doheny gathered the ball out the field, played a one two with Sarah Callinan, used her pace to beat a porous and unsettled Kilcock defence and blasted the ball to the corner of Eimear Kelly’s net. It was the worst possible start for Shane Stones side but there is a new found steel to this team and while in the past they might have buckled under this body blow, nowadays they steadily play their way back into games if such a disaster strikes. Sheena Byrne lead by example when she raised the white flag a few minutes later with a fine point on the run before young Andrea McGrath, playing in her first ever adult final, added a second soon after from an acute angle. Naas full forward Sarah Callinan struck one over from a placed ball for Naas on ten minutes before Kilcock’s very own dead ball specialist Grace White put two frees over the bar to level matters on fifteen minutes. Kilcock were well on top at this stage and were beginning to play some good football upfront safe in the knowledge that Paige Byrne, Fiona Campion and Orla Cagney were providing ample cover for Eimear Kelly at the back. In fact Kilcock actually took the the lead in this period with their third point in a row when the impressive Emma Robinson got her first point of the final after she got on the end of a long ball in from Emma Hoare and shot from a difficult angle for a right footer to split the posts. Kilcock were getting joy when they sent the quick long ball into full forward Robinon and it was only when they slowed it down and began to hand pass it that they ran into trouble. And trouble was never too far away when Naas have players with the speed of Doheny and Caroline Hill and can hit you on the break so when Kilcock gave away free in their own half and let Naas take the quick one into the unmarked Hill there was only going to be one outcome. Goal. Hill gave Eimear Kelly no chance with a bullet of a shot to the roof of the net. Callinan tagged on another free and Hill a point from play to leave Naas four points ahead and the girls from North Kildare again chasing the game. The character that Stone and his selectors have instilled in this team was once again evident in the lead up to half time as they struck three more unanswered points, one from Robinson and two frees from White to leave the minimum between them. It is fair to say the girls in green and gold got a bit of a raw deal from the referee on a night when many decisions went against them, with the most blatant of these depriving Kilcock of a penalty chance that would have sent them into the break in command. Corner forward Laura O’Neill was staring the Naas keeper in the eye, ready to pull the trigger from all of 8yards out when she was clearly barged in the back and bundled to the ground by two Naas players. NO PENALTY!! While at the other end Naas were awarded a very kickable frees but I don’t want to dwell on that. The ever dangerous Doheny wrapped up proceedings in the opening period with a point after beating what seemed like the whole Kilcock team with one of her trademark mazy runs. It would be unfair not to mention the heroics of goalie Eimear Kelly just before half time in keeping out two definite Naas goals with two of the saves of the season and Kilcock can thank her they were only two points down at the break. What made them all the more special was that they were two saves that so close together but so far apart in similarity.For the first one Kelly stood firm as a shot was blasted at her from an incoming Naas forward and whereas many a keeper would do well to get a hand to it giving its power, Kelly caught it clean and for that split second looked invincible. In fact she is not far off it!! The second save was even better, Naas had Doheny clean through on goal at speed and set to round Kelly soccer style only for the ‘Meath’ keeper to dive at her feet (a dive that was timed to perfection) and win the ball. Any missed time tackle and Kelly was off, Naas would have had a penalty and the game would have been over. Alas Kelly kept her side in the game and the crowd looked on in disbelief with old men reduced to tears and muttering comments, ”she’s some goalie that one, a young Kelly one I think from out over the bridge”!! As final go it was a most entertaining opening thirty minutes and as both teams left the pitch the game hung in the balance.
Half Time Score: Kilcock 0:08 Naas 2:04
With neither side making any changes at half time, play resumed as it had left off in the first half with Kilcock on top and enjoying most of the possession but Naas were playing a Donegal style game and as they packed their defence they left their speed merchants upfront waiting for the break. The pattern was set and Naas seemed happy to take their chances in trying to drown out any Kilcock attack. Captain Shona Cagney and Aisling O’Connor were both starting to get on top around the middle of the park for Kilcock while Emma Hoare, who was named at corner forward, was putting in a hard shift out the field as she continued in her roaming role, a role that has served Kilcock well all Championship. Kilcock were rewarded for their dominance when Andrea McGrath got on the end of a good move down the right wing involving the two Cagney sisters and Fiona Campion and slid the ball low and under the hapless Naas goalie Aoife Hederman and into the back of the net for her sides’ opening goal of the game and her first ever goal in Championship football. This should have given Kilcock the impetus to push on and win the game and to be honest I have no doubt they would have done so on any other given day. It wasn’t going to be their night and to be fair they will be the first to admit they made too many mistakes on the ball to and in giving away possession to beat a team of Naas’ class. Naas punished one of these mistakes a few minutes later when Claire Cummins got her name on the score sheet with a point to level matters before Grace White continued where she had left off in the first half with another pointed free. At this stage it was nip and tuck and both sides tried their best not to win the game as the mistakes mounted but it was a tense quarter on a big night so all involved can be forgiven. With Kilcock mainly on top, they suffered a hammer blow when Naas hit them on the break, again at a ferocious speed to allow Hill to beat Kelly and get her second goal of the night and put her side two points up with ten minutes remaining. Kiccock were not about to throw in the towel just yet and spurred on by the hard working Sheena Byrne, they levelled the game once again with two points in a row. The first from the aforementioned who shot over after a determined run through the Naas rearguard and the leveller from a White free. That free from White made it six from six for the number 12 from placed balls, a great personal tally in the pressure cooker of a county final. Once again Kilcock can feel aggrieved not to have won a penalty after O’Neill was again brought down in the square. If it was soccer it would be either a penalty or a dive with the dive resulting in a booking, I wish the refs would stand up and make a decision either way. In my opinion and I am not been biased, they were both penalties but I cannot change it now. It just leaves a sour taste in the mouth. As the game entered its closing stages, the similar pattern of Kilcock on the attack was the case and unfortunately once again they lost the ball high up the field and were this time hit with the fatal blow. The winning point from none other than Shannon Doheny who broke down the field and pointed from a tight angle. To their credit Kilcock once again battled back and were eventually helped by the referee for the addition of at least three minutes and some frees albeit from tight angles but this time they could not find the equaliser when the last chance went a begging, the ref blew the final whistle to the delight of the small Naas crowd and the despair of the Kilcock players, management and large support on show.
In fairness to Naas they were due a win at this grade having lost three finals in the last four years and their overall greater experience stood them in good stead on the night. The winners who now go onto The Leinster Championship were best served by Briona Hoban and Aoife Trant at the back, Caroline Hill at midfield and Shannon Doheny and Sarah Callinan in attack. They now face Longford champions Mostrim next Sunday and best of luck to them in that. It will take a good side to stop them.
For Kilcock Eimear Kelly was outstanding between the sticks and no blame whatsoever will be pointed at her for the three goals. As I said earlier the game would have been over as a contest had Kelly not pulled off them world class saves. At the back Kicock were best served by Fiona Campion, Orla Cagney and Paige Byrne with Byrne going onto win my player of the game for her intense tackling throughout, her will to win the ball ahead of her player and her distribution which has come on in leaps and bounds over the year. While at fullback Linda Byrne battled hard all night against the dangerous Sarah Callinan and reduced her to only two points from frees. Shona Cagney lead by example at midfield while upfront Grace White kept the scoreboard ticking over albeit all from frees but she was unlucky not to finad the net in the second half when she beat the Naas defence before seeing her shot brilliantly saved by Aoife Hedereman. Andrea McGrath played well beyond her young years and never let the occasion of a county final get to her while also chipping in with a goal but Sheena Byrne and Emma Robinson looked the most menacing of the six over the course of the game. At an average age of 21 this is a young Kilcock side who have been flying up through the ranks recently and their is no doubting if they can stay together that they will be back moving up that ladder in 2013.
Full Time Score: Kilcock 1:11 Naas 3:06
Grace White 0:06 (6f)
Andrea McGrath 1:01
Emma Robinson 0:02
Sheena Byrne 0:02
Caroline Hill 2:01
Shannon Doheny 1:02
Sarah Callinan 0:02 (2f)
Claire Cummiins 0:01
8:Shona Cagney (c)
Kilcock’s Unused Subs:
Noelle Conlon (inj)
Caoimhe Fagan (inj)
7:Hilary Piggott (c)
Wides: Kilcock (5) Naas (5)
Frees Conceded: Kilcock (22) Naas (18)
Player Of The Game: Paige Byrne (Kilcock) Caroline Hill (Naas)
Kilcock Ladies Stats 2012 – Championship
Stats Update After Final v Naas 22/09/12
Top Scorer Chart:
Grace White 4:23
Emma Robinson 1:15
Noelle Conlon 3:06
Sheena Byrne 2:05
Aisling O’Connor 1:02
Andrea McGrath 1:02
Shona Cagney 0:05
Emma Hoare 0:04
Fiona Campion 0:01
Laura O’Neill 0:01
Games Played:6 Won:5 Lost:1
Scores For: 12:64
Scores Against: 7:50
Wides: v Clane (15)
Wides: v Carbury (8)
Wides: v Kilcullen (11)
Wides: v Naas (5)
Wides: v Carbury (7)
Wides: v Naas (5)
Fress Conceded: v Clane (17)
Fress Won: v Clane (15)
Frees Conceded: v Carbury (39)
Fress Won: v Carbury (37)
Frees Conceded: v Kilcullen (16)
Frees Won: v Kilcullen (10)
Frees Conceded: v Naas (26)
Frees Won: v Naas (10)
Frees Conceded: v Carbury (23)
Frees Won: v Carbury (29)
Frees Conceded: v Naas (22)
Frees Won: v Naas (18)
Player Of Game Awards:
1st Game v Clane (Linda Byrne)
2nd Game v Carbury (Hayley White)
3rd Game v Kilcullen (Shona Cagney)
4th Game v Naas (Emma Maguire)
5th Game v Carbury Semi Final (Emma Hoare)
6th Game v Naas Final (Paige Byrne)
Thank You by Robert Cox:
To all at Kilcock Ladies I must say hard luck to a great bunch of girls who I have worked with over the past few months in training and at all their games in the build up to the showpiece against Naas. For me they are not only a team that I turn up and train twice a week or help get through games at the weekend, they are much more than that and to see them lose in the manner they did against a strong Naas side was a heart breaking experience to endure. I do not only train these girls. I am their selector, their PRO who has reported on every game they contested this year and most importantly their friend. To be involved with a side with such strong character, a side that has only tasted defeat three times this year is an honour for me. I would like to thank their manager Shane Stone who asked me to become involved last year and again halfway through this year, fellow selector Seamus Kane for all his help through the year and Nicky O’Connor. Nicky especially you. You have been my unofficial number 2. Any training that I took I was guaranteed to have you there for support and I could not have done it without you. I also know that the girls really appreciate the efforts of the three men mentioned above. There is always one special lady that a captain mentions at the end of a victory speech and while Shona Cagney did not get to do this on against Naas if she had I am sure that certain special lady Breda Byrne would have got a big thank you from all the girls. On behalf of the whole squad and management team, I would like to thank Breda for all the work she does behind the scenes. Every club needs a Breda Byrne so thank you Breda for washing the jerseys, cleaning the water bottles, bringing the oranges and jaffa cakes for half time and producing two players for the team to use in Linda and Sheena Byrne!! I have written many a report at this stage for the Kilcock Ladies and I will be honest I am found it hard to face into the one you just read above. I reported when we were beaten in last years league final v Ballykelly, I reported on the last two final victories against Kilcullen and Suncroft and I even reported in your 2003 league final win against Moorefield. I will continue to report for you as long as I am able and I am very confident that this time next year I will be sitting here reporting on Kilcock Ladies Junior A Championship success. Remember this is a young panel who have already made a remarkable rise through the ranks and with the underage structure that is currently in place the future is bright.
KILCOCK LADIES 20 YEAR ANNIVERSARY 1992-2012:
As well as Kilcock GAA celebrating its 125 year anniversary, the ladies section too have something special to celebrate this year, 2012 sees the 20th year since our foundation back in 1992. And what a twenty years it has been too, we have had our ups and downs but we have done so much on and off the pitch and in and out of the county to help with what has become the fastest growing sport in the country in that time. We along with Eadstown are the two oldest Ladies’ clubs in the county and our first assembled team won the Kildare Senior Championship in that memorable first year. With more teams joining soon after, we went through a bit of a barren spell in terms of trophies but never failed to field a team and our numbers continued to expand throughout the 90’s with the help of managers such as Martin Kiely and Martin Brennan.
It was not until the turn of the century that the we started to kick on again, thanks mainly with the help of a large number of younger girls starting to take a keen interest in the sport. Names such as Sheena and Linda Byrne, Bernie Durkan, Fiona Campion and Therese Macken were all involved when the we lost narrowly to Carbury in the 2001 Junior B Championship Final under the guidance of Shane Stone. And those names above must be given great credit as they all still pull on the green and gold at the top level to this day and Stone himself is back at the helm for his second stint in charge. 2003 again brought with it final appearances, this time two. And though the Junior B Championship final saw us lose to Na Fianna, there was some solace found in defeating Moorefield in the Division 3 League Final, with Eileen Collins in charge. With the league trophy following the 1992 silverware into the trophy cabinet, it had not been a bad first ten years or so and though the team was young, some members of that team took it upon themselves to ensure the future of the club would be safe and took the most important step in our young club’s history. They set up our underage section of the Kilcock Ladies in 2004. One can not imagine how important this has been to us, a club who at times struggled to find fifteen girls to don the jersey in years past. And where as now days there is a constant conveyor belt of girls as young as fourteen for the senior team to pick from, past managers such as Eugene Kearney in 2005 and Robert cox in 06, 07 08 and part of 09 must be admired for their work done with such limited resources. The setting up of the underage began to bear fruit after only a year, when senior players Linda Byrne and Grainne Gormley guided an u-15 side to final success in 2005.That successful side was captained by current senior player Shanon Byrne. Manager Sheena Byrne took her u-11 and u-12 teams to consecutive finals but unfortunately they were beaten in both. 2008 brought the start of what has been a great last few years, with then senior manager Robert Cox along with Linda Byrne winning at minor level for the first time, in a championship final against Athy, they were fortunate enough to manage a very talented side that included names such as Shona and Orla Cagney, Aoife Divily, Noelle Conlon and Emma Robinson. An u-16 runner up spot had to suffice in 2009, with the minor class of 2010 suffering the same fate, with Athy gaining some revenge for times past. At this stage you might be saying to yourself that there is a bit of a trend starting to appear with so many teams just falling short and with the u-15 side of 2011 been added to that list you have a right too but all the hard work at underage level has recently just paid off with Shane Stone leading his minor side of 2012 to a well earned victory last month in the minor shield. For many of this side it was long overdue, as for all their work over the years, they just seemed to fall at the final hurdle.
So with Robert Cox stepping down in the middle of 2009, John Mulligan took over the reigns at senior level for remainder of that year and 2010 and can be happy with his time here as he led the ladies to a championship final v Carbury in 2010, only to be beaten by a single point. A league runner-up spot was also gained in that year.
2011 saw Stone back with Cox as selector alongside David Hynes and Seamus Kane and finally things started to click in all departments as the ladies bounced back from a league final loss to Ballykelly, to beat Kilcullen in The Junior B Championship final. It was long overdue after so much heartache in the previous twenty years. The introduction of the underage has to be put down as the pivotal moment in that time and has insured that the current crop of girls can fear nobody, both this year at Junior A level and in the future. Alan Hansen once said ”you win nothing with kids”. Try telling that to those of us who now reap the benefits of having kids that compete on all underage teams as well as the senior team. Such examples are our current county players at u-12 Tara Devine and Saoirse Shannon, at u-14 Aisling O’Connor and at minor Caoimhe Fagan.
Last year also saw another landmark for the Ladies of the club when the Gaelic For Mothers team was set up and trained by Calvin Murphy. They hosted and took part in a Gaelic For Mothers Blitz late last year. As with all of the ladies teams within the club, new players and members are always welcome. There are too many people to thank for getting us to where we are today, so if you have helped us in anyway over the past twenty years, we thank you very much.
The players of Kilcock Ladies would like to thank Shane, Robert, Seamus and Nicky for all their hard work and commitment to them throughout the year at both games and training and for been there for us both on and off the pitch. To Breda we thank you for all your work behind the scenes in preparing our jerseys and half time ”pick me ups” and to Gerry Long in getting us right before we go out for action. The hard work and long ques you had to get through in the build up to the semi final and final did not go unnoticed so a big thank you Gerry. We would also like to thank Eva ‘Maa’ Sheridan for sponsoring us for jackets before the championship final. We would like to thank the management and players of all the other teams for your continued cooperation regarding the sharing of the pitches. And to anyone else who has helped in any way in making our year an enjoyable, successful one, we thank you and look forward to your continued support in 2013. Finally Merry Christmas to all at Kilcock GAA and a happy New Year.