Category Archives: LGFA

Legs at first sight and a weekend full of marriage and matches for Kildare’s Claire O’Sullivan

By Robert Cox November 3rd 2020

First and foremost Claire, congratulations to you and Brian on your marriage. You looked wonderful on the day and I’d like to wish you a long and happy future together. How did you and Brian meet? Was it love at first sight?

C.O’S: “Thanks Robert, I really appreciate that and thank you for all your coverage of the LGFA. How did we meet? *laughs* It’s nothing mad to be honest. I went down to watch the Carbury lads playing a game one day with my friend. And this lad that I hadn’t seen before ran by me and the first thing I noticed were his legs! I commented to my friend that those were a nice pair of legs and asked her who they belonged too. That was it, I pursued him after that and ten years later here we are, the rest is history. You could say it was love at first sight, with his legs”

Robert ETS: With all that has gone in 2020 with Covid and the lockdowns it brought, did you ever consider pushing your wedding day out to 2021 or 22?

C.O’S: “No, we always kept our date. We weren’t going to have a big wedding anyway, we were always going to try our numbers relatively small. We both have big families and both play football so that was always going to be tough. We were at about 140 in terms of guests. But we never wanted to lose sight of why we wanted to get married in the first place. We decided to keep the date and plough ahead with it with regardless of what was happening. Logistically it didn’t make sense for us to try and change things around, with football and everything. We took everything in our stride and kept our original date of October 30th, as it turns out it fell on the same weekend as a big Championship game for me anyway”

Robert ETS: Did you have to make many sacrifices for your dream day to happen?

C.O’S: “To be honest we are two very chilled people. Our lives kind of revolve around football. We picked the 30th of October two years ago because we felt it was the safest day in terms of football. The County Finals in both men’s and ladies football are usually wrapped up by then. We worked everything around that but we didn’t factor in a world pandemic to come about. We just took everything in our stride, we are very relaxed. Neither of us are into making a big fuss about anything. We never once thought, oh our wedding is ruined now. You can get lost in the hustle and bustle of it all but we honestly didn’t want to lose sight why we wanted to get married in the first place. We just wanted to have a nice day with our families, have a nice meal and have a bit of craic and that’s what we did so it worked out perfectly for us”

Robert ETS: Getting married during lockdown must have brought its own challenges, did you get to have the 25 guests with you on the day and how did the venue accommodate you?

C.O’S: “Yeah we were able to have the 25 guests and ourselves so there was 27 of us in total. It was basically just our immediate families and their partners. It was really, really nice. Very intimate. We had it in Rathsallagh House, Wicklow. It’s amazing, it’s a gorgeous place. I’d highly recommend it to anyone planning to get married in the future. The staff were so helpful, not just in the day but in the build up too, evem before Covid came about. They really put us at ease and they followed every guideline. Joe, the owner, was on the phone to us weekly with updates. This is not an easy time for hotels, they were in the dark as much as we were but they came up trumps and I can not speak highly enough of them. We were lucky enough to get a beautiful day weather wise for the wedding and with Rathsallagh been so picturesque, we got some lovely photos around the grounds”

Rathsallagh House

Robert ETS: It’s 2020, anything can happen. Did the build up and everything go to plan with the wedding or do you have any funny stories to tell us?

C.O’S: “Thankfully everything went to plan and their were no funny incidents on the day. I’m not a big drinker myself and on the Thursday before the wedding, I flew into Tesco to pick up a few bits for breakfast. Brian rang me while I was ye there and asked me would I pick him up a box of Heineken for that evening. So I obliged, I literally only brought my card in and when I got up to the checkout they asked me for ID. That was funny, I then had to go all the way back out to my car in the rain and get my drivers licence. Thankfully that’s the only funny thing that happened to me in the build up and as I said the day itself went smoothly”

Robert ETS: Because of lockdown and restrictions, did you have to omit anything that you would have liked to include in the build up or on your special day?

C.O’S: “We didn’t really have to leave anything out. Obviously the whole hair and makeup situation and not been allowed to have anyone to do that was a bit awkward. But I was training on the Wednesday night the week before the wedding and I had a few missed calls from my hairdresser. She was a bit panicked as she had to tell me she wasn’t allowed travel etc. I just got into my car after doing a full training session and I thought you know what, it’s fine. I’m not the worst at doing my own hair so to be honest, it all worked out. There was a few little things like that but other than that it was perfect”

Robert ETS: Had you a honeymoon planned and how has Covid and the restrictions affected those plans?

C.O’S: “We had a rough plan for a honeymoon. We kind of thought B.C (before Covid) we would do a week in Italy. We both thought that would be nice to spend a week there and see a few different places. Obviously that idea was out the window pretty quickly once Covid hit. We had other ideas but didn’t really plan anything. We have relatives and friends in San Francisco and we are big fans of them… and of course San Francisco!!We’ve two really good friends over there and they’ve had a baby recently so we thought we might get to visit them and maybe take in Vegas and Cancoon while we were at it but we had nothing booked thankfully. We’ll definitely get there at some point but we just don’t know when”

Football

Brian & Claire after Carbury’S Kildare LGFA Intermediate Football Championship success in 2019.

Robert ETS: Claire, your decision to play the game the same weekend as your wedding, was it a no brainer or had you any doubts?

C.O’S: “To be honest I was always going to play the game regardless of whether it was on the Saturday or the Sunday. I had been a regular at corner back. I worked hard to get my place and obviously I was one of the vice-captains this year, which is a great honor. Even before that I was always fully committed but with that extra bit of responsibility on my shoulders, I wanted to lead by example and set the tone so for me, the decision to play the game was never in doubt”

Robert ETS: Did you train on the week leading up to your wedding?

C.O’S: “The wedding was on the Friday. In fairness, I didnt train on the Wednesday. I did an extra running session on the Tuesday by myself and posted it into the player’s group just to show that I got my session in. Then I called over to team training on the Wednesday night to support the girls and to look on. Just in case I got a slap in the face or anything! Then I obviously missed the Friday but I think I had a good excuse for that one! That was it, that’s all I missed. It trained right up until full contact the week of. It was grand, one of the girls stood on my foot the previous Friday so I did have a nice green foot for the day. But these things happen, we do that a lot to each other, we are always giving each other little bumps and bruises. Neasa Dooley can vouch for that, I gave her a nice slap on the leg that same week too so she had a nice war wound also”

Robert ETS: Were you not worried abut picking up an injury at all, even in the weeks leading up to the wedding?

C.O’S: No as I said I think the girls were more worried about me picking up an injury than I was. I landed awkwardly on my wrist one of the nights about two weeks before the wedding. I had just called a kick out and as myself and one of the other girls went for the ball we clocked into eachother and fell. I fell down on my wrist and then the other girl fell down on top of me and it drove my wrist into the ground. That really, really hurt and I genuinely did think I had broken it. When that happened the collective sigh from the girls could be heard around the pitch. I think they were more stressed than I was”

Claire in action for Kildare v Clare two days after her wedding day. Photo: Karl Gormley

Robert ETS: Football, Work, Wedding. It must have been an extremely busy few months for you?

C.O’S: “Yeah between the three and everything else it has been a busy time alright. But look you just can’t get overwhelmed by it all. You just have to take a deep breath sometimes and go with the flow. Just try and keep life as normal as possible. That’s all both of us wanted to do. I love football and I love training and thankfully with all that happened in 2020, I still have that. It was the one ray of light that we had to cling onto for the last few weeks”

Robert ETS: You’re one of the more experienced players on the current Kildare panel, when did you make your debut and can you give us a brief history of your time in white?

C.O’S: I was first on the panel when I was 18. Then I stepped away for it for a few years. This was for a number of reasons to be honest. In the main, I wasn’t really enjoying it. I would have been a lot shyer then and probably also taught I was a lot older than I was. But when I look at the girls that are in with us now that are 18, I think God they are so young. I just wouldn’t have been as confident in my football ability then either. I also felt guilty at the time about leaving the club. I remember trying to manage both trainings. I can see now that it’s just not possible. When you get a bit older and wiser you realise that the club understand and that you’re not abandoning them or anything.

I came back to the team in 2014 when John Divilly was manager. I was doing well, training was going good. We were senior then and obviously it was much tougher. My league start came out of the blue actually. It was against Down and I was wing back. It went well as I can remember but I was terrified. I was 21 and wasn’t expecting it. He never gave me a heads up, threw me in at the deep end but it was probably the best way to do it, I had no time to think about it. I guess his thinking was to just throw me in and see how I would react. Sink or swim. Thankully I swam! The more senior girls at the time, were telling me I did very well and to keep it up and I’d keep my place. Unfortunately the following Tuesday I went and played a club game and did my ankle in badly. So that was me gone for a few weeks and with it my chances of starting again for a while.

Claire in action for Kildare LGFA. Photo: Karl Gormley

I went back in at the start of 2015. Well I trialled anyway. When I say trial, I went to one trial game. I just wasn’t really feeling it. I had doubts. Do I want to be here? Am I good enough? Do I have the confidence for this? Ultimately I only went to the one trial game and didn’t go back after that. I just knew at the time if I wasn’t fully committed to it then I didn’t want to be there so I stepped away.

It was 2017 before I came back. And since then I haven’t looked back. I’m in my 4th season in a row now. Obviously I feel I have done well and we have a great group of girls there at the minute”

Robert ETS: Kildare LGFA 2020 and the hopes for the rest of Championship?

C.O’S: As I said we’ve a great group of girls in here at the moment. We’re hoping to push on. We’re only taking it one game at a time as we have always done. We’re hopeful if we keep going and working hard, we will get our just rewards. At the moment, we aren’t looking any further than the Sligo game.

Robert ETS: Having been around Ladies football teams myself and knowing how they generous they are when it comes to one of their own celebrating a special occasion, I can only presume the girls showered you with gifts the week of the wedding?

C.O’S: “Of course. The girls are so thoughtful. They got me a lovely sketch of myself and Brian and our dog Tucker. It’s beautiful, it’s set in the backdrop of Rathsallagh. It’s by Jenny Murphy, she does a lot of LGFA sketches. We love it, she’s really good at what she does. They also got me a nice bottle of champagne, which is sitting here in my press staring at me. We’ll probably open it around Christmas or hopefully if we have something to celebrate with the football.

Robert ETS: Finally, the Clare game. How did that go and was it a bit surreal to be involved in it only two days after your wedding day?

C.O’S: “No, it was fine. I was always going to make myself available for selection. Unfortunately I didn’t start and to be honest it was harder looking on in the first half. When you’re watching on you just feel you’ve no control. That you just can’t help the girls and in the current climate it’s even harder as we (the subs) were far away in the stand and the girls could barely hear us cheering on. It was a bit strange watching and then obviously there was no supporters either. But thankfully I got on in the second half. I felt great, I wasn’t tired. I felt fresh. Basically the management team just asked me to come on and run. Just run. That’s what I like to do so that’s what I did. For me, it wasn’t a bit surreal at all. People did keep saying to me, how do you feel, how do you feel? But I was grand and was delighted to be a part of fantastic victory over Clare. I was delighted at the end of the game to get the win. I think in the video at the end you can just see me jumping up and down in some sort of a bunny hop. I was just ecstatic.

Claire in Leinster Junior Championship action with Carbury against St.Joseph’s of Laois in 2017.

Once we got over the hurt of the league been scrapped when we were in such a good position and had qualified for the final, we just had to focus on Clare. That was our main aim. Obviously it was disappointing the way the league ended but we just had to park that and move on.

Myself and Brian are together ten years this week actually so nothing really changed you know. I felt fine. We bought our first house there three or four years ago so again, nothing really changed apart from the fact that we are now married. Our day to day life hasn’t changed. So for me to go and play a football game, it was just like any other game. The next one is always the most important.

For now I’m just looking forward to a bit of down time, it’s been a hectic time with all the planning. So I’m just going to enjoy the football for now alongside my newly married life and time with Brian”

A family affair – Claire with her Carbury team mates and nieces Orlaith & Cliona and their dad (Claire’s brother) & coach Thomas after they won the Kildare LGFA Intermediate Football Championship in 2019.

Extra Time Sport LGFA Top 20 Teams for 20

1: Dublin
2: Galway
3: Cork
4: Mayo
5: Donegal
6: Tipperary
7: Kerry
8: Waterford
9: Westmeath
10: Meath
11: Armagh
12: Monaghan
13: Cavan
14: Tyrone
15: Kildare
16: Clare
17: Down
18: Laois
19: Wexford
20: Roscommon

Defending All-Ireland Senior Champions Dublin are our number one LGFA team in our first ever Top 20 rankings.

Going on early season form, Mick Bohan’s side might have been looking over their shoulder as Galway, Cork and Mayo lay ahead of them in Division One of the League when it was cut short after five games due Lockdown Part 1. But the girls in blue showed their class last weekend by beating beating Donegal in the first round of the Senior Championship by 2-13 to 2-10. And with all the top names back in action and seemingly on top of their game, it’s hard to look past them retaining their All-Ireland title come Christmas and thus holding onto number one in our rankings at the end of the year.

Photo from Dublin LGFA Twitter Page.

As of 02/11/20

Kilcock Trio Named On Kildare Championship Panel

Kilcock LGFA trio Grace White, Caoimhe Fagan and Megan O’connor have been named on a 29 strong panel for Kildare Ladies’ upcoming Intermediate Football Championship campaign.

The Lilywhites take on Clare this coming Sunday, November 1st, in the first round of the Intermediate Championship against Clare in Banagher, County Offaly.

Caoimhe Fagan, Megan O’Connor & Grace White after Kildare Ladies victory over Sligo in the League in early 2020.

Life In Lockdown With Grace Clifford

By Robert Cox April 2nd 2020


It’s March 8th and on a wet and windy afternoon in Dr. Hyde Park, the Kildare Ladies Footballers have just eeked out a hard fought win (0-13 to 0-08) over their hosts Roscommon in Division 3 of the league.

The win sees Kildare qualify for the final and extends their 100% record in 2020, with five wins from five under their belt. Things are really beginning to take off for this team, following some barren years since the county won the 2016 All-Ireland Intermediate Championship.

The last thing they need is an obstacle outside of their control been thrown into the mix. The team’s recent run of good form is the culmination of two years hard work under the guidance of Galway man Daniel Moynihan and his management team.

Now in his 3rd year at the helm, Moynihan and his team have unearthed some new talent, who have all added greatly to his panel and played their part alongside experienced campaigners in the shape of Siobhán O’Sullivan, Erica Burke, Róisín Byrne and Mary Hulgraine. To Moynihan’s delight the last three are back in the fold having missed the last few seasons for various reasons. And remember the trio also have All-Ireland medals safely tucked away in their back pockets, this are no ordinary threesome.

Back in Roscommon, the team congratulate each other on their most recent success, high fives all round, (little did they know that in a few weeks they wouldn’t even be able to meet never mind high fives) they know they’ve been in a battle and at the back of their minds they also know this result is a break through. This was game they would have thrown away in previous seasons. But this side have an added steel about them, with leaders around the field, none more so than team Captain Grace Clifford.

Clifford has just put in another monumental performance, driving her team on from midfield, an inspiration to some of the newcomers and a leader to all, just has she has been throughout her Lilywhite career, especially since been named Captain in 2018.

The Eadestown player was also part of that successful All-Ireland winning side of 2016 and now in 2020 she is determined more than ever to get this current side moving in the right direction. She more than anyone will be thrilled at qualifying for the league final and will be already planning for their most likely finalist opponents Down in a few weeks time.

With only the winners gaining promotion to Division 2, Clifford knows it’s time to park the Roscommon success and is already looking forward to putting in a few hard weeks training back at Hawkfield.

They still have two league fixtures to fulfill and given her winning mentality, she will want to win them too and make it a perfect seven from seven. Nothing is going to stop her and her team mates in their quest for glory she thinks as she boards the bus from Roscommon back to Kildare. Their time is now.

Fast forward a few weeks and with the country since in lockdown due to the CoronaVirus, we caught up with Clifford (over the phone of course!) for a chat to see how she was coping with isolation and restriction from seeing her team mates, extended family, friends and to see how she found working and training at home alone.

What was life like for an Inter County Captain during Cov19. Thankfully for the Recruitment Consultant, who resides in Eadestown, her job means she can work from home and as we called it came as no surprise that on her break she was out for some fresh air and exercise, determined to keep up her level of fitness ahead of any possible return to Gaa action in the coming months.

Clifford is not one to rest on her laurels. A lot had happened since that afternoon in Roscommon, with the joy of reaching the league final, turning to disappointment a week later when the powers that be in the LGFA pulled the plug on the remainder of the National League for 2020 (it won’t be finished at any stage) due to the current CoronaVirus pandemic sweeping across the country.

One feels maybe they made the decision rather hastily and could have looked at potentially finishing it in the autumn. All training had been cancelled and as mentioned above the country had more or less gone into full lockdown, with people asked to stay within a 2km radius of their home.

Clifford for one had to adapt in more than one area of her everyday life, but as usual she was upbeat and positive about the challenge ahead. “Yeah look it’s a crazy time for everyone, Covid19 was something that none of us were prepared for. It’s something that hasn’t happened in our lifetime and please God it will never happen again.

I think what it has shown us is that your health is your wealth. Regardless of our status in life, you are not immune to something like this”

Clifford, who won a Kildare SFC with her local Club Eadestown in 2018, counts herself lucky that she resides in the area, out in the countryside, where she can get out and about without worrying too much about bumping into people;

“I suppose for me I am lucky I live in the countryside in Eadestown so I am able to get out for a good run and walk and thankfully I haven’t really had to go into the towns too much in the last couple of weeks, aside from maybe going to the shops for my mam, so I have found the social distancing part easy enough to adapt too”

As usual Clifford is finding the positives from a bad situation and sees this as a time for people to regroup and take stock of their lives, something she certainly intends to do.;

“I’m a very positive person and am trying to find the positives out of the current situation. Personally for me the last number of years have been go, go, go what with college, training, work, all these things. And like so many I’ve never really had the opportunity to sit back and appreciate the simple things in life. So it’s from that maybe all of us could try and take the positives. To maybe take a step from our busy lives and take stock.

I’ve found that from been at home and been around the family all the time has been nice, though maybe if you ask me that again in a few weeks I could have a different answer!!!

Working from home

Having attended Carlow IT, Clifford now works as a recruitment consultant, where thankfully she can continue her work from home.

“I work as a recruitment consultant so as you can imagine job interviews are probably the last thing that people are thinking of or worrying about at the moment but to be honest we have been pretty lucky and have been relatively busy over the past couple of weeks.

I’m going into week three now working from home and despite initially been unsure how I’d get on with things, I’m actually enjoying it so far. Obviously I miss the company of my work colleagues in the office but I’m content with the change for now.

I’ve actually had a lot of job interviews happening and companies still working, looking to move on ahead. These are companies that are maybe been prepared since the last recession. I think people are utilising the technology we have now days, with the likes of Skype and Zoom to hold interviews, whislt also respecting the governments restrictions.

Overall working from home has been different but it’s nice to have a change every now and then. I’m grateful that I could continue in my role from home as I know so many people have been temporarily laid off. I’m also grateful to my company for doing their bit and for providing that option for me”

Daily Routine

To make it and maintain a career both on and off the field you have to have a good worth ethic, discipline and routine and though we know from the outside looking in that the County Captain possesses all these traits in abundance, she explains to us the importance of sticking to her routine during this difficult time;

“I’m a real stickler for routine. For me I’ve been doing my work and then lunchtime is when I do my workout, so I either do my run or my home gym. That’s really been unbelievable, I find that brilliant.

Then in the evenings after work I always make sure to get out for a good walk as well, while also getting out to the gable end of the house with a football and work on some skills to keep the eye in.

Again keeping this routine has helped me to stay positive and then maybe at the end of the day I would pop into the team’s group chat and send pictures of what work I had done that day. Then seeing what the others girls post too, it helps keep that communication going.

I’m obviously keeping to a very similar routine to my eating habits too, which can be a bit of a challenge at times when you are at home all day”

Keeping in contact, training in groups at a distance and management with Kildare

Going from spending so much time together and working towards a common goal since last November of winning the league has been pulled right from under the noses of Clifford and her Kildare team mates but as she she says they are in plenty of contact, working hard separately and now very much looking forward to Championship when football returns;

“We’ve a really good squad there with Kildare this year, doubled up with a great management and S&C coach, who we’ve been working with in our groups over the last few weeks, putting in amazing work, trying to stay relatively fit. We’ve been given different challenges, runs and home workouts to do.

Everything has been put in place to adapt and respect the guidelines by the HSE and the Government, while still getting out and for our physical fitness. But maybe more importantly, as our management have stressed, to get out for the goodness of our mental health also. In fairness all the girls have been great at keeping spirits up.

Again we were disappointed that the league was cancelled but at the end of the day some things are bigger than football so we’ve taken it on the chin and are looking to moving forward together as a group. As a group we are now looking forward to having a good crack at the championship when football finally does return.

Everyone is linking in and been there for one another. Personally the girls have helped me stay motivated and as a group we are taking one day at a time, knowing every day is one day closer to returning. I think at this stage all the girls will even be relishing to returning to do some pre season runs”

League Cancellation

As supporters of the LGFA, we were obviously disappointed with the cancellation of the league for 2020, especially for teams like Meath and Kildare, who were in excellent positions in their respective divisions but as Clifford explains (despite her own disappointment) that sometimes football has to take a back seat in the greater scheme of things; ”

The news of the league’s cancellation was obviously devestating for us at Kildare. From a footballing perspective we’ve been building towards this with Daniel and his team for a couple of years now and not only since last November. It’s been a work in progress that was beginning to bear fruit.

Our goal was promotion and everything had been going so well. Who would have thought that something like this would be the reason we wouldn’t be getting to play. 2020 has been a bit crazy, first all the storms and now this.

People might say that it’s very trivial to be worrying about sport at a time like this and I agree 100% but this is such a big part of our lives. It was a bit dis heartening to see that the league had been cancelled so quickly, particularly as the Gaa and Camogie Associations came out and said they would reassess the situation in April, when we all might have more of an idea where we are at with this.

But I guess more importantly we are respecting the guidelines and pulling together as a country to try and flatten the curve and that’s the main aim right now.

Again in the grand scheme of things football isn’t that important but naturally enough when you are training together for so long and it is such a big part of your life, you just want to be successful.

The fact that we now know that the league won’t go ahead, any glimmer of hope or motivation for that success is gone given the finality of the decision, though some people may disagree and argue that you are better off knowing your faith from the outset.

As I said above, we are a positive group and we have already turned our attentions to the championship, whenever that may be”

Post Covid19

Been a Manchester United, Clifford is ever the optimist and knows that the LGFA championship will go ahead in 2020, without knowing what structure it will undertake yet. You can be guaranteed she will with have both herself and her team well prepared;

“I’m been sure that there will be some sort of championship that will go ahead and we’ll continue to train for that in a positive way. We are all doing our bit for our communities and we all want to get back to normality as soon as possible.

Obviously our main focus as a group was promotion in the league, we weren’t even thinking about championship but that has changed now and all focus is on the championship to pick up where we left off and continue that winning streak right throughout the year and see where it takes us.

We’ve a really good group there and I feel we deserve to win some silverware after the work we put in.

On the club front with Eadestown, look it’s always competitive winning at any grade in Kildare, especially at Senior, any side can do well on any given year. I’d be hopeful that we’ll have a successful year. The girls are working extremely hard under new management and like everyone the girls just want to play football.

Honestly I just cannot wait to get back on the field and training with everyone, it’s the commerardery and banter that you miss most. When we return we will all definitely appreciate it more”

One thing is for sure if anyone can help this Kildare side through these difficult few months and help them repeat days like that afternoon in Roscommon at the start of March, then their inspirational Captain Grace Clifford can.

She’s proven that it be at home or at Hawkfield, behind the phone or in the centre of the huddle, things stay the same. Routine, hard work, leadership and most of all positivity makes her the leader she is. And Kidlare is all the better for her.

Photos with thanks to Karl Gormley

Joe Breen honoured at Meath LGFA awards night

The late Joe Breen from Blackhall Gaels Gaa club was posthumously inducted into the Meath LGFA Hall of Fame at the county’s annual awards night at Newgrange Hotel on Saturday night, November 2nd.

Joe was instrumental in helping set up Ladies Football in Blackhall Gaels, going on to manage them for a number of years, during a successful period for the club, including reaching a Meath SFC Final.

Sadly Joe passed away earlier this year and though he is a massive loss to his family, friends and everyone at the club, they will take solace from this lovely gesture from the County Board that will make sure Joe’s legacy lives on.

As well as been awarded the Hall of Fame, which his wife Theresa and her family collected on the night, Meath LGFA announced that as of from 2020 Senior clubs in the county will now compete for The Joe Breen Cup when they take part in the Meath Senior Football Championship.

A lovely gesture and fair play to Meath LGFA, I know the family will cherish this greatly.

KILCOCK SEAL LEINSTER FINAL SPOT WITH TREMENDOUS SECOND-HALF DISPLAY

October 26th 2019

Kilcock 3-11 Grattans (Longford) 2-11

Report by Mark Durkan and Robert Cox

A tremendous second-half performance sealed Kilcock’s place in the Leinster Junior Final next week as the eventual winners came from five points down, twice, to seal a win in Kilcock Gaa last Saturday, October 26th.

Full forward Grace White put in a spectacular performance scoring 2-06, but it was Kilcock’s sheer determination and spirit to keep fighting that was most impressive in this excellent win.

A couple of the girls had to rearrange their holidays last minute to play the game and even this level of commitment alone showed that there is something special about this Kilcock team.

Grattans started the strongest of the two sides and were unlucky not to have had a goal inside the opening five minutes, with Kilcock goalie Eimear Kelly pulling off two top class saves.

The Longford Intermediate Champions did manage to get the first score of the game when their midfielder Caoimhe Lohan kicked a point. The continued to show some great movement in the first half and this was evident by their wing-back Sophie Hogan who burst up the pitch for a goal.

Midfielder and Grattans free-taker Úna Clarke put five points between the sides with only 10 mins gone before Grace White got Kilcock’s first score after 14 minutes from a free.

Grattans went straight up the pitch and chipped in with their third point of the game. Kilcock captain Caoimhe Fagan showed some of her leadership qualities when she kicked a point from thirty meters and Grace White added a second free to bring a goal between the teams.

Grattans added a further two points with frees from Úna Clarke before a super Caoimhe Fagan point had the sides going in at the break on a scoreline of Grattans 1-5 Kilcock 0-4.

Grattans were the deserved leaders at half-time and Kilcock were not performing up to their usual standards. It was going to have to take a massive performance in the second half against the breeze to overcome the Longford side.

It was Kilcock’s full-forward Grace White who got Kilcock’s first score of the second half when she pointed from play and soon after birthday girl Sarah Lavin gave herself the perfect birthday present when she goaled for Kilcock and the sides were level once more.

The goal gave great hope to the Kilcock supporters but this was short-lived when Grattans replied with a goal of their own right away. An Úna Clarke free and Laura Valentine point put five between the sides once again.

Kilcock were not going to give up however and they kept battling and were rewarded when midfielder Megan O’Connor made a great run up the pitch and passed the ball to Grace White who rifled the ball into the top corner of the net. White added another free immediately after to leave a point between the sides.

Grattans put the foot on the pedal once more and added three points without reply and it looked like Kilcock’s excellent year was coming to an end. Two Úna Clarke frees and a Clodagh Lohan point put four points between the sides.

It was hard to see Kilcock coming back from this deficit, but you can never say never with this Kilcock team as they have shown us on many occasions throughout the year.

The game was swinging into the final quarter when corner-forward Emma Robinson kicked her first score of the day with a well taken point, before Grace White added two frees to bring a point between the sides once again.

Kilcock took the lead for the first time in the game just inside the last 10 minutes, when, a great solo effort from Grace White meant that she found space for herself and her shot bounced across the goal-line, bringing the large home support into raptures.

Úna Clarke kicked over another free for Grattans to bring it back to the minimum once more and though the visitors had a couple of scoring chances towards the end, they were unable to take them.

It was Megan O’Connor and Emma Robinson who finished off the scoring for Kilcock, with both of them kicking over points just before the ref blew his fill time whistle.

It was an unbelievable win for this Kilcock side who showed tremendous fighting spirit and a never say die attitude. They have now sealed their place in Sunday’s Leinster Junior Championship Final where they will play Navan O’Mahony’s of Meath.

Kilcock Scorers: Grace White 2-06 (5f), Sarah Lavin 1-0, Caoimhe Fagan 0-02, Aisling O’Connor 0-02, Megan O’Connor 0-01

Grattans Scorers:

Kilcock Team: Eimear Kelly, Mary Tighe, Andrea McGrath, Therese Macken, Paige Byrne, Emma Maguire, Laura Gibbons, Megan O’Connor, Caoimhe Fagan, Sarah Lavin, Ashling O’Connor, Sheena Byrne, Emma Robinson, Grace White, Lorna Murray.

Subs: Sadbh Mullarkey for Paige Byrne, Sarah Gill for Sheena Byrne, Caytie McLysaght for Sarah Lavin & Bernie Durkan for Therese Macken.

Grattans Team: Clare McCarrick, Emma McCord, Claire Shaw, Katie Devlin, Sophie Hogan, Róisín Leen, Rebecca O’Kane, Caoimhe Lohan, Una Clarke, Melissa O’Kane, Eve Nerney, Molly Mulvihill, Petrina Carrigy, Laura Valentine, Clodagh Lohan