Kildare Junior Camogie Championship
By Robert Cox at Kilcock GAA
Kilcock Ladies began their quest for junior camogie championship glory with a comprehensive twenty one point win over Nurney at Kilcock GAA on Wednesday July 16th.
The recently crowned winners of the junior camogie league came into this tie in a confident manner, boasting an unbeaten record in the 2014 season under the stewardship of former Meath goalkeeper Mark Gannon, defeating the same opposition in the league decider a few weeks back.
Despite the absence of star forward and the hero from that night in Eire Og Della Murray, the youthful girls in green and gold battled through a tight first half to lead by four points at the break before turning on the afterburners to post 2-11 without reply in a one-sided second period, to get their campaign up and running with little fuss.
With Murray unavailable it gave a chance for a new hero to step out from the shadows and on this occasion it was Jill Browne who stole the show in attack, with the full forward hitting 2-3 from play. And not to be outdone by her mother’s recent heroics, Lorna Murray put in a fine shift at midfield, hitting five fine second half points in the process.
It was Browne who opened the scoring for the hosts with a fine point after six minutes to level proceedings after Nurney had drew first blood with a long range free. The aforementioned Browne barely had time to pull up her socks after her point, when she found herself rattling the back of the visitors’ net with a close range goal.
Dual star Maeve Mulhall followed up three minutes later with her sides’ second three-pointer, creating and scoring the goal herself with some determined and skilful play.
Nurney were bound to have one purple patch in the game and when they hit three points without reply at the end of the first quarter, their period of dominance ended without ever making any real inroads on a dogged Kilcock defence, backed up by the solid Niamh McCarthy between the sticks.
Points from Rhona O’Leary and Ellen Kenehan put Kilcock back on track before Nurney wrapped up their scoring for the night just before the break with a point, to leave the half time score; Kilcock 2-3 Nurney 0-5
Whatever Gannon and his assistant Kevin Morley said to their troops at the interval certainly seemed to work, with the girls beginning the second half with a new found swagger and self belief. Centre forward O’Leary typlified this when she pointed on the run after only two minutes of the restart to extend her sides’ lead to five points.
County minor Lorna Murray hit four points in a blistering eight minute spell for the midfielder personally, with a Browne point sandwiched in between. Mulhall raised a white flag before Browne rounded off her scoring for the night with a goal and a point in another devastating two minute spell.
At this stage Nurney were out on their feet and the younger, fitter legs of Kilcock was visible throughout the pitch. Captain Aoife Divily was well in control in defence alongside Linda Byrne, with the former stretching her legs with a few forays up field towards the end.
Andrea McGrath, who had put in her usual hard working display alongside Murray in the middle of the park, was rewarded for her endeavours when she rattled the back of the Nurney net late on. And there was still time for O’Leary, Murray and centre back Orla Vesey to point before the referee blew for full time, perhaps a couple of minutes early, with no complaints from the visiting bench.
Gannon will me most pleased that all of his sides’ eighteen scores came from play, while at the other end they kept Nurney at bay for the entire second half. He was best served by Orla Vesey and Aoife Divily at the back, Lorna Murray in the middle of the park and Rhona O’Leary and Maeve Mulhall upfront.
But the standout performer in terms of the importance and timing of her scores was full-forward Jill Browne. Browne showed her killer instinct with 2-3 from play. She got five chances in the game and took all five of them. You can’t ask for any better than that. I sometimes question why the player that top scored always gets player of the game, when a team mate out the field may be after putting in a much harder shift but in this case Browne also showed great work rate and plenty of scores came from this for her side.
There is no doubting that Della Murray will once again re-take to the field when injury allows her and there is no doubting she will be welcomed with open arms but in Browne and co the future is bright in Kilcock.
Mark Gannon knows that a lot of hard work lies ahead if his side are to make it back to the showpiece where they went down to Rathcoffey last year. But also knows his team are well equipped to do so.
Kilcock Scorers: Jill Browne (2-3), Lorna Murray (0-5), Maeve Mulhall (1-1), Rhona O’Leary (0-3), Andrea McGrath (1-0), Ellen Kenehan (0-1), Orla Vesey (0-1)
Kilcock Team: Niamh McCarthy, Linda Byrne, Niamh O’Brien, Aoife Divily, Sarah Kenehan, Orla Vesey, Eleanor Lavin, Andrea McGrath, Lorna Murray, Ellen Kenehan, Rhona O’Leary, Jill Browne, Maeve Mulhall SubsKeelan Shiels, Sorcha Shiels, Lauren O’Neill, Lauren Hill.