Bord Gais Energy NFL Round 5
Kildare hit the ground running in the superb facilities of Donaghmore Ashbourne with Maria Moolick pointing three times in the opening eight minutes in this Bord Gais Energy NFL round five game. Meath defence was slack and misplaced passes aided Kildare’s opening dominance in the early phase.
An early chance for Stephanie Byrne was well dealt with by Kildare ‘keeper Mary Hulgraine. Meath opened their scoring in the ninth minute with a more determined attack.
Captain Katie O’Brien led by example and got Meath’s first point. Indeed the Meath Captain got nine out of Meath’s thirteen points and is surely reveling in her role as captain this year.
A foul on Vivienne McCormack in the tenth minute led to referee Pat Kehoe pointing to the penalty spot. McCormack, having converted a penalty the previous week, stepped up to take it, but scuffed the shot and sent the ball narrowly wide. Grace Clifford opened her account for Kildare on eleven minutes, while Moolick and full forward Siobhan Hurley also raised white flags in subsequent minutes. O’Brien pulled one back for the Royals with a free on 16 minutes.
Kildare’s unrelenting pressure in the opening half was rewarded on twenty minutes as Roisin Byrne found a way past Meath’s netminder Monica McGuirk. This was followed up by a Maria Moolick point a moment later. The teams traded scores twice in the remaining third of the half.
Katie O’Brien converted a free on 23 mins but this was cancelled out at the other end by Moolick. Kildare had time for one more attack, McGuirk justified her selection in the goals as she made a terrific save just on the cusp of half time and it rebounded kindly for Clifford who made no mistake with the second attempt and raised a white flag.
At half time, it seemed as if Kildare were comfortable with an impressive lead. Half time score –Kildare 1-9 Meath 0-4.
When the second half began, a statement of intent was required from the Meath team. Two points from Kellie Allen and Katie O’Brien put Meath on their way for a comeback. The teams traded scores on 37 and 38 mintes.
uMoolick added Kildare’s tenth point, but this was nulled by a fine O’Brien effort at the other end. Substitute Emma Troy gave O’Brien an inch perfect pass to send her through and give the St. Ultans player enough room to get the shot away on her right.
Meath were dominating the second half and slowly erasing the deficit. O’Brien pointed from a free on 40 mins, while Mary Sheridan kicked her point of the contest a moment later. With just minutes left on the clock Meath were still two points behind the Lilywhites, who were defending in packs.
A foul on Vivienne McCormack 30 yards out allowed O’Brien to add her eighth point of the contest. Late chances to win the match were spurned, although Meath were awarded their second penalty of the match when Bridgetta Lynch was fouled in the parallelogram.
Katie O’Brien took the penalty and sensibly leveled the match by placing the ball over the bar. A late Kildare free in was well handled by the Meath defence, this saw Pat Kehoe blow the full time whistle.
Mary Hulgraine, Kiri Lowry, Aisling Savage, Niamh Quinn, Kate Leahy, Donna Berry, Denise Tierney, Aoife Herbert, Aisling Holton, Roisin Byrne (1-0), Maria Moolick (0-7, 2F), Grace Clifford (0-2), Erica Burke, Siobhan Hurley (0-1), Michelle Carey. Sub: Dearbhail Kelly for Clifford.