A below par performance saw Kildare bow out of the All Ireland Minor B Football Ladies Championships in Nenagh on Saturday as five star Clare put four goals past Kildare keeper Aoife Hederman, writes Tara Byrne.
The game began brightly for the Lily Ladies as they hit the front inside the first minute with a pointed free from the brilliant Roisín Byrne. This was backed-up with some strong early pressure from Kildare. Failing to stretch this lead, Clare weathered the storm finally working there way into the game.
In the third minute a quick ball from Aoife O’Gorman to Orla Devitt caused havoc in the Kildare defence, as she headed straight for goal. Kildare’s Ciara Conaty was left with no other option but to foul Devitt as she eyed the goals menacingly. Giving the penalty and taking the yellow, the Kildare defence were in trouble, even at this early stage. The penalty was converted by Clare’s Aisling Torpey.
The Kildare attack still with fight in it’s legs pushed on, with full-forward Orla Gowran winning the ball around the middle of the field and finding Emer Fogerty. Fogerty sold her marker a wonderful dummy to give herself time to point Kildare’s second of the day.
It was clear at this stage that the Kildare defence was at 2’s and 4’s as they tried to come to terms with the Clare forwards testing their resolve.
A 9th minute free awarded to Fogerty was taken by Byrne, she saw her shot come back off Clare keeper Aoife O’Neill and only to corner forward Claire Fox who netted to see Kildare retake the lead.
A minute later Clare came menacingly forward again through Torpey, pulling keeper Hederman out of her area, Torpey struck, and only for the diving feet of captain Aisling Curley on the goal line Torpey would have claimed her second goal of the day.
After this the half continued with both sides hitting point for point right into injury time when Clare’s Niki Kaiser saw her moment to shine. Kaiser slipped the tackle of Michelle Curley to shoot from the 21m line, 10 yards from the sideline. The ball took flight and as it flew across goal and into the top left hand corner of Hederman’s net, all the Kildare back line could do was watch in awe of a goal that would be fitting on any stage.
Half time arrived with the young Lily’s trailing by 5. There defence had no answer for the power of the Clare attack.
Once the second half began Clare were quickest out of the blocks, stretching there lead through Torpey. This point sparked something in Kildare as they began to rally with points from Byrne and Fogerty. Cutting the deficit to 2.
Just as Kildare looked to have gotten to grips with everything Clare were throwing at them, Clare came again.
Mid way through the second half Clare found their shooting boots once again through Roisín Looney, before netting again through Kaiser. As the game entered its final ten minutes, Kildare trailing by 6, attempted to muster another revival, with Fogerty again to the fore. Pointing twice to leave only 4 between the sides with 6 minutes remaining.
Clare were in no mood to relinquish the place in the final.
Devitt stepped up to finalise the result scoring 1-1 around a Kaiser point. Within 60 seconds of Fogerty’s brace Clare were 9 points to the good.
The outstanding Roisín Byrne pushed forward to get Kildare’s last score of the game, as she placed the ball high and above the head of keeper O’Neill to bring her total to 1-4 and Kildare’s to 2-10. A tally that on most days would see a team to victory.
Within a minute Byrne was unlucky not to raise the white flag once more, this time being fouled, only for it to go unnoticed by the referee, her resulting shot cleared from the line by Clare’s Laura Egan.
Three quick point, two from Kaiser and one from Devitt ended Kildare’s dreams of All Ireland glory, holding them to a 9 point defeat.
Aoife Hederman; Rachel Corrigan, Michaela Nolan, Ciara Conaty; Leah Earley, Aisling Curley, Michelle Curley; Eadaoin Connolly 0-1, Grace Clifford; Shannon Doheny 0-1, Trina Duggan, Róisin Byrne 1-4 (2f); Claire Fox 1-0, Orla Gowran, Emer Fogarty 0-4. Subs: Orla Keoghegan for Earley, 30; Jean Miley for Doheny, 49; Niamh Hederman for Conaty, 57.
Aoife O’Neill; Róisin Rouine, Edel McMahon, Rebecca Culligan; Kayleigh McCormack, Shauna Harvey, Ellie O’Gorman; Róisin Looney, Emer Hillery; Alana O’Brien, Róisin Howley, Niki Kaiser 2-2; Aisling Torpey 1-5, (1pen, 2f), Aoife O’Gorman 0-3, Orla Devitt 1-2. Subs: Molly Brannock for O’Brien, 39; Orlaith Lynch for O’Gorman, 62.
Michael Duffy (Tipperary)