Kildare Ladies Junior A Championship: Round 3
By Robert Cox @Kilcullen
Kilcock Ladies maintained their 100% record in the Junior A Championship with a comprehensive thirteen point win over their hosts Kilcullen on Saturday last, the 25th of August. Kilcock, who came to Kilcullen with their biggest panel of the year so far, (23 in total) scored a goal and eight points in the opening eighteen minutes to virtually end the game as a contest before their opponents known locally as ‘The Ragettes’ registered their first score of the game. Theses two sides have had a good battle over the past few years in both league and championship, with both teams having their fair share of success but this result on Saturday night shows that maybe now Kilcock have moved onto another level but in saying that, manager Shane Stone will be keen for his girls to keep their feet firmly on the ground as he knows more than anyone that no medals were handed out in Kilcullen on Saturday night and that tougher tasks lay ahead. Stone will be pleased that he had a near full panel to pick from for the first time this year (apart from county minor Caoimhe Fagan and Therese Macken) but his plans were a small bit disrupted as he could only field fourteen players to match Kilcullen who could not make up the maximum on the night. Louise Keane was the unlucky player to miss out on the start as Laura O’Neiill joined Emma Robinson in a two-pronged full forward line. For Kilcullen the dangerous Jayne Peacock started at full forward despite rumours circulating in the press in midweek of the former suffering a bad ankle injury but she was subsequently kept quiet throughout by Kilcock’s full back Linda Byrne.
When referee Garryowen McMahon got the game underway Kilcock set down the tone right from the off and attacked in droves and though the first couple of forays into Kilcullen’s half did not bear any fruit, two points on three minutes got them up and running and seemed to settle the nerves of the forward line. The first of those points came from the boot of wing forward Grace White while captain Shona Cagney added the second with a fine point taken on the run. Next came the visitor’s only goal of the night and again it was White who would take the plaudits but a mention must go to full forward Emma Robinson who won the long ball played into her before feeding White who buried the ball from an acute angle, low and hard and to the back of the net giving Kicullen net minder Aoife Molyneaux no chance. It was White’s third goal in three championship games this year and she and her fellow forwards Laura O’Neill and Emma Robinson could have had more had it not been for the heroics of Molyneaux early on. Though White was getting the scores, other players around her were working hard, not least Sheena Byrne and Emma Hoare while Fiona Campion was playing her role sweeping up in front of the full back line with aplomb. White added the third point after receiving a pass from Sheena Byrne before Robinson got the first of her six points from play on ten minutes, with Laura O’Neill to thank for her hard work in creating the opportunity. Kilcock were feeding their forwards with a fast, accurate, long ball and it was one of these from Shona Cagney to White that lead to the next score, a White point. Robinson (2) and White added three more before Kilcullen finally broke down the other end and pointed through midfielder Claire Kelly. Kelly, who was a constant threat to Kilcock all game, will give Stone food for thought over the coming weeks as he will be worried the way she made his defence look very porous at times as she ran through the middle. After going through a bit of a scoring drought that lasted ‘four’ minutes, Kilcock showed that they were not going to let Kilcullen back into the game as defender Fiona Campion capped off a rare visit to the forward line with a fine point from twenty five yards. Jayne Peacock replied two minutes later at the other end but it was fitting that the last score of the half deservedly went to the hard working Laura O’Neill of Kilcock as she raised the white flag from the right hand side to leave her side going into their half time huddle eleven points to the good on a scoreline of
Kilcullen 0:02 Kilcock 1:10
Looking back on it now Kilcock could have done without the half time break as it seemed to upset their rhythm and have the opposite effect on Kilcullen. The break was cut short as the light was fading quickly and referee McMahon was keen to get both sets of players back out onto the pitch ASAP. Only one team seemed to come back out for the first five minutes and that was Kilcullen as the girls in black and white, obviously fresh from a stern half time scolding, kicked four points without reply. Three from the influential Kelly and one from Peacock to leave seven points between the teams and to give the home support some hope. Stone and his management team were quick to make changes though as centre back Paige Byrne was replaced because of injury by Emma Maguire and this seemed to have an effect as Grace White was up to her old tricks again on thirty seven minutes with a point that had parity restored. Four more points in a row followed for the girls in green and gold as Sheena Byrne, Emma Hoare and Aisling O’Connor all got their names on the score sheet before Robinson fisted her effort over from close range. Sheena Byrne then became the second player to be withdrawn through injury as she was replaced by Noelle Conlon, who herself could not start the game because of a flu. Peacock found a rare bit of space from Linda Byrne at the other end but when she did she hit the point of the game from the left hand side on her left foot. Substitute Conlon pointed a fine solo effort soon after and captain Shona Cagney who was covering every blade of grass on the field for the cause, kicked her second point to put the game beyond any doubt. Again while most of the credit will go to the forwards for putting up such an impressive score, Kilcock’s defence put in a good shift, with Orla Cagney and Shanon Byrne impressive on the wings. Stone and his team are becoming almost perfectionist like and and when they analyze this game during the week, the concession of a soft goal from Claire Kelly will be on the top of his ‘fix it’ list!! Kelly once again got through the middle far to easy and gave Eimear Kelly in goal no chance as she blasted the ball to the back of the net. On the other hand Stone will be impressed the way his team reacted to this fifty second minute goal as they tagged on four more points without reply from O’connor, Conlon and Robinson (2). Kelly did kick the last score of the day, a consolation point for a frustrated Kilcullen side. Amazingly all of Kilcock’s scores came from play and all bar one of Kilcullen’s likewise but on this evidence only one of these sides will be still interested come the business end of the championship. Again Kilcock will say job done, lets move on but again they know that tougher tasks await as they bid to win back to back championships.
Best for a well beaten home side were Katy Miley, Sinead Maher and the impressive Claire Kelly who came away with personal tally of 1:05. Best for Kilcock were Linda Byrne, Fiona Campion, Orla Cagney and Shanon Byrne in defence while Aisling O’Connor put in a good shift beside player of the game Shona Cagney in midfield. Upfront Sheena Byrne had a good imapct in the first half before been withdrawen through injury but it was the Emma Robinson and Grace White show on the night as the amounted for 1:11 between them and all from play. Kilcock who were already through the semi finals, now play for positions and for Kilcullen they will battle on knowing they are far from out of it yet.
Final Score: Kilcullen 1:08 Kilcock 1:21
Grace White 1:05
Emma Robinson 0:06
Aisling O’Connor 0:02
Noelle Conlon 0:02
Shona Cagney 0:02
Laura O’Neill 0:01
Emma Hoare 0:01
Fiona Campion 0:01
Sheena Byrne 0:01
Claire Kelly 1:05 (1f)
Jayne Peacock 0:03
9:Shona Cagney (c)
15:Louise Keane (did not start due to Kilcullen only having 14 players)
Laura Ward for Hayley White
Andrea McGrath for Emma Hoare
Noelle Conlon for Sheena Byrne (inj)
Emma Maguire for Paige Byrne (inj)
Louise Keane for Laura O’Neill
Eve Powderly for Emma Robinson
Aoife Divily for Grace White
Mary Tighe for Fiona Campion
Wides: Kilcock (11) Kilcullen (2)
Frees Conceded: Kilcock (16) Kilcullen (10)
Player Of The Game: Shona Cagney (Kilcock) Covered every blade of grass for the full sixty minutes and acted as a great link between her defence and attack. Showing a different side to her game by popping up with two points for the second game in a row as she revels in her new midfield role.