Kildare Ladies Senior Football League Div3:
Robert Emmets 1:06
By Robert Cox @Kilcock GAA http://extratimethesportsreport.blogspot.ie/
Two goals in two minutes right at the death for Kilcock earned them a hard fought victory over a gallant and unlucky Robert Emmets side on Tuesday night, 5th June @ Kilcock GAA. In fact this game only really got going in the last ten minutes of the second half, with Kilcock six points up and seemingly heading for another three points in their quest for a semi-final spot but the visitors from Sallins and Raheens stunned their hosts with a comeback that included a goal from Aisling Dowling. The game looked to be heading for a draw at this stage but Kilcock showed heart and a determination to regain their lead and as the game entered stoppage time, substitute Laura O’Neill palmed the ball to the net to send the home support wild. That knocked the stuffing out of Emmets and allowed Kilcock to go on and add another almost immediately through full forward Emma Robinson to secure the win.
There are many reasons why this game took so long to spark into life and in fairness to all girls on show they were not one of them. The game itself looked like it might never take off as the referee failed to show up, this delayed the game thirty minutes as mentors from both sides tried frantically to secure the services of an official. Luckily they did and credit goes to them for that but that distracts the players, they had to hang around for a half hour and try and stay warm and with the prospect of no match always in the back of their mind. Both sides were clearly affected by this as the opening half was awash with handling errors, fouling and bad passing. When the game finally got underway, it turned out to be a 13-a-side contest as the visitors’ numbers were badly hampered by the losing of girls to the leaving cert. Again this seemed to upset some of the players train of thought and it took a good ten minutes for positions to take pattern. Laura Doyle of Robert Emmets took advantage of any confusion in the Kilcock defence to point for the game’s opening score after five minutes but Grace White responded almost immediately for the girls in green and gold as she won and converted her own free to leave the sides level. Kilcock had to withstand some early pressure from Emmets who looked threatening every time they attacked but the full back line of Aisling O’Connor, Hayley White and Emma Maguire at an average age of fourteen dealt with anything that was thrown at them and showed an experience well beyond their years. Kilcock’s management can thank them for keeping them in the game up until half time. The trios’ job was made all the more difficult as they lost their centre back Paige Byrne due to injury after fifteen minutes. White added her second free soon after before Sheena Byrne scored an excellent individual point from play to leave Kilcock two ahead. Shelly Campbell pulled one back for Emmets before the interval to the leave the minimum between the sides at half time. It was an opening thirty minutes to forget to say the least, with both defences coming out on top but what was to come in the second period would make up for it.
Half Time: Kilcock 0:03 Robert Emmets 0:02
Kilcock had the advantage on the night of been able to run in and out players and keeping things fresh while Emmets had nothing on the line in that way. This difference was visible to all in the first twenty minutes of the second half as the girls in red and white looked lethargic and Kilcock seemed to punish that in this time with substitutes Laura O’Neill and Aoife Divily winning their fair share of ball in the full forward line and setting up players around them for scores. The hard working and impressive Mary Hulgraine did however get the opening score of the half for Emmets to level the score up but that was to be their last score for twenty minutes, a period in which the possession statistics heavily favoured Kilcock who went on to kick six points. The first of those again saw White point from a placed ball before Emma Robinson got the score of the game, now playing in midfield, Robinson caught the ball sixty yards from goal and took off leaving a trail of Emmets players in her wake before splitting the post with a spectacular effort with the outside of the right boot. This point was the turning point and seemed to drive Kilcock on. Sheena Byrne got on the end of a well worked team score involving Shona and Orla Cagney, Divily and O’Neill, to add another point. The impressive O’Neill was at this stage running the Emmets rearguard ragged and won a free that White duly dispatched. White again pointed from a free won by the hard working Sheena Byrne before Noelle Conlon got a fine solo score from play, a score her hard work on the night deserved. At the other end Shanon Byrne was having a fine game at wing back, dealing with any ball that came her way.
That Conlon point put Kilcock six ahead with ten minutes to go but for some reason they started to retract and went into their shell, they lost their shape and in fairness to Emmets they showed great drive to claw their way back into a game that seemed long gone from their grasp. Tara O’Neill started the comeback with a point and Hulgraine reduced the deficit even more with another. At this stage Hulgraine was running the show from midfield as Kilcock laboured to contain her. She sensed a weakness in Kilcock and thrived on it. It was no surprise so that she was involved in the Emmets goal some minutes later when she cut a line through the defence, laid the ball off to Shelly Campbell who in turn found the unmarked Aisling Dowling who finished well to the roof of the net. Their was only one team in it at this stage and again Hulgraine won the kickout, found Laura Doyle who looked the calmest girl on the park as she slotted over the equaliser. The home support, management and players were visibly stunned and some heads were down but it is great credit to this bunch of girls for what they did next. Captain Shona Cagney lead by example and showed so much heart to win the next ball and work it up the field, she fed Sheena Byrne who sent a high, dangerous ball in around the house but the wind caught it and it looked to everyone to be tailing off wide, everyone that is except Laura O’Neill who followed the flight path of the ball, went up bravely with the goalie and palmed the ball to the back of the net. The sense of relief and excitement could be felt all around the pitch, inside and outside the fence. O’Neill had rescued a win, a valueable win for her side and there was still time for Cagney to win the next kick out and set up Robinson who blasted the ball home to the net from close range. Having thrown away a six point lead, Kilcock had incredibly restored it in a dramatic two minute spell.
Credit must go to both teams for their part in such an exciting second half and finish to game that at one stage looked a non-runner. A semi final spot looks all but secured for Kilcock and though Emmets are mathematically not their yet, on this performance and past ones they should have enough in their locker to grab that final place. Eimear Kelly showed her usual safe pair of hands in goals for the winners and as the weeks pass, her confidence seems to be growing. The foundation for this win was set at the back with all five defenders to the fore. Shona Cagney showed great leadership when needed while Hayley White staked a claim on corner back with a fine display. In midfield Sheena Byrne and Orla Cagney never stopped running for the sixty minutes and acted as a great link between the backs and forwards with Byrne chipping in with two points. While the forwards had a poor first half, they more than made up for it in the second with Robinson and Conlon always looking a threat. Grace White showed the importance of an accurate free taker with five kicks from five but it was substitute Laura O’Neill who stole the show, not only with her match winning goal and two assists but with her endless running and cleverness on the ball. For Emmets Sally Anne Hamill was impressive from centre back while Shelly Campbell and Laura Doyle’s fast running caused the home defence trouble at times with the latter also contribuiting two points from play but had it not been for Hulgraine in midfield, Emmets would not have been level going into injury time. She never gave up and gave the management of Kilcock so much to think about throughout with her strong running through the middle of the park. At the end of the day Kilcock had more strength in dept in certain areas but know a massive improvement will have to be made as the league now enters the business end. Both teams will have time to get players back from injury and exams now as the league takes a three week break.
Full Time: Kilcock 2:09 Robert Emmets 1:06
Grace White 0:05 (5f)
Emma Robinson 1:01
Laura O’Neill 1:00
Sheena Byrne 0:02
Noelle Conlon 0:01
Robert Emmets Scorers:
10:Laura O’Neill (statred as sub as Robert Emmets only had 13)
15:Aoife Divily (statred as sub as Robert Emmets only had 13)
Robert Emmets Team: (only 13 players)
Wides: Kilcock (7) Robert Emmets (8)
Frees Won: Kilcock (20) Robert Emmets (21)
Player Of The Game: Laura O’Neill (Kilcock)