The Kildare Camogie team faced a potential banana skin as they travelled to meet Roscommon in this second round Premier Junior All Ireland Championship fixture, writes Dermot Breen.
Without the services of players like Clodagh Flanagan, Orla Bambury and Louise Walsh Tom O’Mahoney’s room to manoeuvre were limited but on the day Kildare emerged with a comfortable 2-17 to 2-6 victory to keep their championship aspirations on track.
Kildare got off to the perfect start in the second minute when Louise Keatley broke through the Rossies rearguard only to see her shot stopped by the excellent Rossies goalkeeper Caroline Connaughton but Keatley showed quick wits to dispatch the rebound to the net.
Things got even better for the Lillies four minutes later when Clionadh McSweeney off loaded to Siobhan Hurley who again beat Connaughton in goal. Things were looking good for Kildare but they were quickly brought back to earth when Roscommon grabbed a goal thanks to their full forward Annette McGeeney.
Kildare had to wait until the 12th minute for their next score when Corner back Niamh Breen cleared her lines to Carol Nolan who found Susie O’Carroll who lobbed it over the bar.
Kelly Hopkins added a point to Roscommon’s tally in the 17th minute but this only heralded a purple patch for Kildare who added five points without reply from McSweeney (two), Hurley (two) and O’Carroll to ease into an eight point lead on 23 minutes.
However Roscommon finished the half stronger with two points from Hopkins and a goal from sub Shauna Keenan. Kildare replied with two pointed frees from O’Carroll to leave it 2-8 to 2-3 at half time.
Whether Kildare took their foot off the gas or what but Roscommon had the better of the early exchanges during the first ten minutes of the second half and only good work by the Lillies defence limited the damage to points by Hopkins and McGeeney.
Kildare finally got going again in attack where McSweeney as she had done in the first half was having an outstanding match scoring some fine points herself but also assisting in most of Kildare’s scores.
Again during this period Kildare notched up six points, three from O’Carroll and points each from Keatley and Hurley. Roscommon’s only response was a pointed free from
Hopkins. Mc Sweeney answered this with the best point of the day when she collected out near the corner before dispatching the sliother unerringly over the bar. She followed up with another point before Roisin O’Connell finished the scoring with a point on thirty minutes.
Kildare had many excellent performances in defence where corner back Niamh Breen cleared loads of ball out of her corner, Fiona Trant who was outstanding in the half back line along with Carol Nolan in the centre.
Manager Tom O’Mahoney was relieved to have come away with the two points.
“I was a bit worried coming down here today without the services of three strong players as it limited our options to freshen things up but we managed to come through and we are still on track but with some tough assignments to come, notably Laois on Saturday week. We beat them in the Leinster Championship but they had not contested the League and had only just come back into training so we are expecting a much stronger Laois this time and we will need to be at our best,” said O’Mahoney.
With two rounds completed Kildare sit in second place, a point behind Meath who have won both their matches but it is much too soon to be too definitive at his stage with games coming up against Laois, Armagh and Meath.
Tanya Johnson, Niamh Breen (capt) Aoife Trant, Jane O’Donoghue, Fiona Trant, Carol Nolan, Gillian O Hurley, Clodagh Farrell, Louise Keatley, Ciara Tallon, Angela Lyons, Susie O’Carroll, Cliodhna McSweeney, Siobhan Hurley, Roisin O’Connell, Brid Byrnes, Elaine McNamara, Niamh Concannon.