NATIONAL League champs Cork were the visitors to Ballykelly on a beautiful sunny day for Kildare Ladies second game in the Bord Gais Energy NFL Division 1 game on Sunday last.Following The Lilies impressive display against Laois in their opening game, expectations were high but nevertheless taking on Cork (whose opening game was postponed due to a flooded pitch) was always going to prove a big challenge.
It was the visitors who opened the scoring with Juliet Murphy knocking over a point. However early drama ensued when Kildare keeper, Lily Ray from Sarsfields was sent to the sin bin after up-ending Orla Farmer as she advanced on goal. Indeed Ray could count herself lucky that it was not a straight red. Sub keeper Janice O’Brien was immediately introduced but her first piece of action was to take the ball out of her net as Valerie Mulcahy made no mistake from the resultant penalty.
Down a player and 1-1 to no score in arrears Kildare tried their utmost to get back into the game but a few frees were missed before Tracy Noone finally knocked one over after Noelle Earley had been fouled.
Cork extended their lead with the impressive Orla Farmer saw her blistering shot blast off the crossbar and over for a point.
Maria Moolick knocked over a point for the home side while Cork keeper, Elaine Harte came to her side’s rescue with a brilliant block on Mary Hulgraine.
Cork stretched their lead with two points from Noelle Cleary before Mary Hulgraine made no mistake from a free to leave it 1-4 to 0-3 after some 23 minutes.
Noelle Earley was certainly causing the Cork defence plenty of bother with her direct running and she knocked over her first point of the game, quickly followed by another from Mary Hulgraine to leave just two between the sides.
Noelle Cleary added another for the visitors before Kildare finished the half with a flourish with points from Catherine O’Malley and Aishling Holton leaving just one separating the sides at the break, Cork leding 1-5 to 0-7.
Orla Farmer opened for Cork on the resumption but Joanna Timmons cancelled that out with a brilliant left footed effort.
The experienced Valerie Mulcahy extened the lead to two but Kildare, showing lots of courage and determination soon equalised with points from Mary Hulgraine and Catherine O’Malley.
Sensing danger Cork immediately upped dthe ante and a fine move involving Amy O’Shea, Juliet Mulcahy ended with Val Mulachy finding the Kildare net to leave her side leading 2-7 to 0-10.
Catherine O’Malley raised a white flag as Kildare refused to lie down and roll over, however it was Mulcahy who extended the lead again to a comfortable three points.
Points from O’Malley (free) and Noelle Earley gave the home side hope but once again a move involving Val Mulcahy and Noelle Cleary ended with the latter finding the net.
Noelle Earley reduced the deficit but a Julie Mulcahy free and another from Val Mulcahy saw the lead increasse to 3-10 to 0-15.
Kildare did not score again but Cork were not done with yet and finished in style with Valerie Mulcahy getting her third goal of the game with Orla Farmer getting the final point before her team mate, Ann Marie Walsh was sin binned well into time added on.
And so the final whistle arrived with Cork deserving winners on a scoreline of 4-11 to 0-15.
The scoreline may be somewhat harsh but not for the first time Kildare have learned that conceding goals can prove very costly indeed and so it was once again here.
Cork had some top class players and none more so than Valerie Mulcahy while Breege Corkery, Juliet Murphy, Noelle Clarry, Orla Farmer also caught the eye.
For Kildare no one tried harder than full back, Aishling Savage from Leixlip and she got fine assistance from Aisling Holton, Maria Moolick, Joanna Timmins, Noelle Earley, Catherine O’Malley and the very impressive Mary Mulgraine from Sallins.
Kildare’s next opponents are Galway this weekend in Ballykelly.
Scorers: Cork, Valerie Mulcahy 3-3 (penalty, 2 frees); Noelle Cleary 1-3, orla Farmer 0-3, Juliet Murphy 0-2 (2 frees).
Kidare: Mary Mulgraine 0-5 (2 frees); Catherine O’Malley 0-4 (3 frees), Noelle Earley 0-3, Aisling Holton 0-1, Maria Moolick 0-1, Tracy Noone 0-1 (free).
Lily Ray, Patricia Delahunt, Aishling Savage, Donna Berry (Capt), Aisling Holton, Kate Leahy, Brianne Leahy, Maria Moolick, Joanna Timmins, Deirdre Gately, Tracy Noone, Stacey Cannon, Mary Hulgraine, Noelle Earley, Catherine O’Malley. Subs: Aine Gately for Cannon, Janice O’ Brien for A Gately, Angela Lyons for Berry, Aoife Jacob for Noone, Cliona Dowling for Leahy.
Elaine Harte; carmel mccarthy, Deirdre O’Reilly, Ashling Bennett, Anne Marie Walsh, Breege Corkery, Aine Sheehan; Juliet Murphy, Anne Walsh; Noelle Cleary, Orla Farmer, Elaine Aherne; Valerie Mulcahy, Grace Kearney; Amanda O’Shea. Subs, Mairead Kelly, Jessie O’Shea, Laura Cronin, Jenny Cuddy, Roisin O’Sullivan.