In the end it must have been a very disappointed Kildare dressing room. Not only had they lost out in an All Ireland semi-final, not only did they fall one step short in an attempt to contest Junior Camogie’s showpiece event but they must have known that they didn’t really do themselves justice on the day, writes Ronan Flanagan.
All Ireland Junior Camogie Championship Semi Final
Out of the four teams left at this stage in the competition Meath was arguably the worst draw for the Lilywhites. Our nearest but far from dearest neighbours are operating out of Disivion 2 and their ability to execute the basics at a faster pace was the main difference between the sides.
Of course, Kildare will also be in that league next season so there is scope to reach those higher standards. In the opening exchanges there was certainly nothing between the sides as Susie O’Carroll nearly got in with a decent goal chance.
The Celbridge star converted the resulting 45 before Meath’s midfielder Kristina Troy’s free levelled proceedings. Unfortunately for Kildare Meath went on a scoring spree as they hit six unanswered points with Edel Guy, Sinead Hackett with two and Aoife Maguire hitting a great score from the corner.
This spell had shown everyone present at the Naomh Peregrine’s GAA club what the favourites were capable of. Kildare finally responded through a nice point from Susie O’Carroll. She would prove to be her side’s only scorer on a day to forget for Kildare.
Up front the women in white were not getting much change from the opposition rearguard who had Clare Coffey in dominating form. This point seemed to lift Kildare who were making some positional switches in a bid to get their star players on the ball more. With five minutes left in the first half Kildare wasted a couple of chances on a day when every attack needed to count.
A free from O’Carroll left just four in it but this was cancelled out by Jane Dolan who hit her second dead ball between the posts. Meath were finishing strongly but were also guilty of failing to convert. At the interval there were five points in it and still all to play for.
However, it was the Royal County who hit the ground running after the change of ends as Aileen Donnelly got the scoring going before Katie Hackett got in on the scoring. Susie’s fourth from a free kept Kildare in touch but soon Meath started to pull away again.
The lively Aoife Maguire’s second and third points of the day sandwiched two more frees from Jane Dolan as the eventual winners began to get a stranglehold on proceedings.
Kildare were not lacking in effort but they not finding any room up front and the ball was coming back on top of the defence meaning they were under the cosh throughout.
There was now ten points in it and another free from Susie O’Carroll was to be hers and her side’s last of the day as the game entered the final ten minutes. Both managers began to bring in subs and the game was very much in wind down mode.
Still Kildare tried to battle on but with Meath’s strength in depth was evident as their fresh players continued to attack. For Kildare it was not the ending that they would have hoped in terms of what has been an overall good year which promotion to Division 2 was something that will certainly stand to them as more of their players will gain from exposure at the higher level.
Their current stars can very well flourish in the second tier of the league but Meath had done their homework on the day and the likes of O’Carroll and Siobhan Hurley did not get space at the weekend to do the damage they are capable of. At the back Jane O’Donoghue and Aoife Trant fought hard and the fact that Meath did not find the net is testament to this. It’s back to the clubs for the players and then it will all start again next winter as the current crop look to build on a very solid foundation.
Emily Mangan; Holly Geraghty, Clare Coffey, Fiona O’Neill; Aine Keogh, Aoife Thompson, Louise Donoghue 0-1 (45); Ann Marie Fagan, Kristina Troy 0-1 (f); Edel Guy 0-1, Jane Dolan 0-4 (4f), Aileen Donnelly 0-1; Aoife Maguire 0-3, Sinead Hackett 0-2, Katie Hackett 0-1. Subs: Cheyenne O’Brien (53mins), Lizzie Lynch A Maguire (55mins), Lizzie Oakes for K Hackett (55mi
Bríd Byrnes; Niamh Breen, Aoife Trant, Jane O’Donoghue; Fiona Trant, Clodagh Flanagan, Carol Nolan; Louise Keatley, Siobhán Hurley; Angela Lyons, Orla Bambury, Ciara Tallon; Susie O’Carroll 0-5 (3f, 1 45), Cliodhna McSweeney, Roisín O’Connell. Subs: Louise Walsh for O’Connell (43mins), Clodagh Farrell for Tallon (45mins), Elaine McNamara for Keatley (57mins), Niamh Concannon for Breen (57mins), Gillian O’Hurley for F Trant (58mins)
Richard McNicholas - Galway