As the August bank holiday weekend draws close and the summers final mass exodus beings, Kildare Ladies prepare for their second championship outing of the year, after drawing Laois in the qualifiers series, following their agonising defeat to Dublin in June, writes Tara Byrne.
Just over five weeks ago Kildare ladies took to the field to get their championship season underway against a much fancied Dublin side. Following changes to their back-room team this was a chance to see how far they had come from there league opener against the same opposition.
During the game it became clear that championship forms can never be predicted as they turned a 27 point league defeat into a 7 point championship loss. Even managing to give the Jackie’s a scare along the way.
Following this Kildare entered the All Ireland qualifiers draw, as Dublin moved on to a Leinster semi-final against Laois, Kildare’s opponents this weekend. This was a well anticipated clash as the perennial achievers Dublin took on the 2011 Leinster champions Laois, there league clash 8 weeks previous going to the wire with Dublin coming out 3 point winners.
On this occasion Dublin made home advantage pay for them booking their place in the Leinster final and putting Laois into the qualifiers draw along with Kildare.
Being drawn together in round one of the qualifiers Kildare and Laois will resume their hotly contested local derby. There most recent meeting being that in the league earlier this season. Laois running out 3-13 to 0-08 winners in Ballykelly on this day, yet from their previous championship outing these girls know that history like this is very easily over turned come a summer championship day.
Vice captain Aisling Holton is expecting a though day at the office when they take to the field against Laois “Year in year out Laois are strong, there always there or there about for Leinster. So we will be expecting the same as there league performance, and hopefully we will have improved from the league.”
Yet she is sure that the Kildare team will be a lot better on the day, than there performance in early March “I know we had a very poor league run, at the time we hadn’t got the work done, but we feel like we’ve put in a lot of work in the last couple of months since the league and hopefully we’ll put on a better performance than then.”
Holton is well aware that Laois are bringing plenty of fire-power in their squad and she knows what Kildare need to do to overcome this “Tracey Lawlor would be one that we will defiantly be keeping a firm eye on, and hoping to keep a firm grip on. Girls like Mary Kirwan, the three Kirwan sisters are there as well.”
As a team they know what they need to do “Our work-rate will be huge thing, and being able to more clinical in front of goal, against Dublin we missed 2 goal chances, playing the top teams like Dublin and Laois you can’t afford to miss such chances.”
Rivalry between these team is a certainty and this will again be a big part of the tie come Bank Holiday Monday “Down throughout the years since we went to senior we’ve nearly always played Laois in the championship and league so there is a huge rivalry there, like they beat us last year in the Leinster semi-final by a point, those kind of defeats are hard to take.”
Kildare will be hoping to repay the favour to Laois for there agonising championship defeat last season.
The latest instalment of the Kildare Laois saga will take place in Birr at 2.30pm on August 6th, with both teams hoping to do something special.
The prize for the winner here is a round 2 qualifier tie, which will be drawn following the game.