All Ireland Senior Championship Match Report Qualifiers Round 2

All Ireland Senior Championship Match Report Qualifiers Round 2

9th August 2009
Report By: Tom Ryan Kildare PRO

Kildare 5 – 12 Sligo 3 – 6

Score at Half Time: Kildare 3 – 7 Sligo 2 – 3

Kildare certainly avenged their 2008 Championship loss to Sligo in Kiltoom last Sunday and they did it in some style. That game last year was also on the 9th August, a dreadful wet Saturday on a bog like pitch in Mullingar but this time it was fine and dry and the St Brigid’s pitch was a perfect sod. Whether it was the perfect conditions or the 10 changes in personnel or some other reasons the Kildare girls wiped Sligo off the field in the first quarter. A first minute Sligo pointed free from Noelle Gormley, they were not to score a point from play until the last few minutes of the game, stung Kildare into action and when Aishling Jennings point attempt was half blocked the Sligo goals had a narrow escape as Cliona Dowling rose to palm the ball goalwards. The ball somehow stayed out and Cliona reacted quickest to grab the loose ball on the end line and lay it back to Noelle Earley who powered past a posse of defenders at the edge of the square to fire a piledriver to the roof of the Sligo net. Stephanie O’Reilly then availed of a kindly break to solo through for a Sligo goal and full forward Noelle Gormley pointed another free to give Sligo a 2 point lead after 5 minutes. That was as good as it got for Sligo as over the next 10 minutes Kildare tore them apart. With Aisling Holton brilliant at left half back as Brianne Leahy and Louise Keatley had total control of midfield Kildare hit for 5 points. Louise Keatley got two to level the game and Noelle Earley, Cliona Dowling and Aoife Herbert added one each. After her point Aoife Herbert fielded the Sligo kick out and charged up the right wing before finding Noelle Earley coming through the centre and again Noelle crashed home a goal, her second. The next kick out was won by Maria Moolick who found Cliona Dowling with an accurate kick. Cliona wasted no time in offloading to Aoife Herbert who cheekily lobbed the keeper and before the first quarter had ended Kildare were 3 0 5 to 1 – 2 in front, playing into the wind and there was never a way back for Sligo after that blitz. Sligo replaced midfield powerhouse Sinead McTiernan who was being run off her feet and the he sides exchanged points, a Gormley free for Sligo and a Maria Moolick point as the wing back stole up the wing to collect a short free from Aishling Jennings and drive it over from wide out on the right. After a Kildare player was yellow carded, Sligo had an attacking spell, during which Donna Berry and Julie Cunningham displayed their defensive prowess. Sligo eventually got some reward when a 45 was played into the corner and then crossed into the goalmouth. Donna did well to fist it clear but the ball broke to a Sligo player who fisted it over the advancing defenders to Stephanie O’Reilly loitering unmarked on the edge of the square and she fired in Sligo’s second goal. That affront brought the best out of Brianne Leahy who won the kick out, took a return pass and galloped through to loft over just before the half time whistle and at the break Kildare were 3 – 7 to 2 – 3 to the good.

Resuming, still down to 14, Kildare missed a good chance and then a few harsh decisions, a hop ball after Noelle was grounded followed by charging calls on Noelle on Donna gifted Sligo a handy pointed free but normal service was quickly resumed when Aishling Jennings was fouled and drove over the free. Then we had the rare sight of Aishling actually missing a free but when Kildare won the kick out Cliona Dowling had a shot blocked. Aoife Herbert swooped on the break and transferred to Aishling Jennings who cut past 2 defenders and drove a rasper to the top corner. Deirdre Gately then set up a point for Noelle Earley and Brianne did the same for Deirdre. A rare Sligo attack resulted in a penalty which Noelle Gormley scored with a piledriver high into the net but again it was Brianne who responded with a great solo effort for a point. And Aishling Jennings again pointed the free after she was dragged down by Siobhan O’Sullivan but strangely the yellow card was not used even though it was one of a succession of fouls by the former Eadestown player. It was now all too easy now for Kildare and Louise Keatley combined with Aishling Jennings to allow Deirdre Gately to shoot the fifth Kildare goal with 6 minutes left. At this stage Kildare were easing up and bringing on subs and were again hit with a yellow card. Sligo sub Siobhan Melvin kicked 2 late late points while twice from close in frees Sligo tried for goal without success and Kildare were through to a first ever TG 4 All Ireland Quarter Final in convincing style.

This was an excellent all round team performance as the scoring spread shows with the tally shared between 8 players. Not only that but of the Kildare total only 2 points came from place balls with a fantastic 5 – 10 coming from play. The defence also stood up well when asked the questions. Goalkeeper Therese Martin was outstanding in her fielding and use of the ball. Donna Berry, facing a much bigger and bulkier opponent, kept the full forward well under wraps twice making brilliant blocks when scored looked certain and corner backs Kiri Lowry and Julie Cunningham tidied up well in addition to outplaying their opponents. Maria Moolick and Orla O’Shea excelled in the half back line completed by team captain Aisling Holton who was immense. She never allowed her opponent get possession never mind cause any grief while Aisling also found time to assist the midfield. Brianne Leahy and Louise Keatley lorded the centre of the field and both got through for vital points as well as always being willing to help out in defence. Upfront Aoife Herbert and Cliona Dowling were the first to shine on the right flank with Noelle Earley on the 40 working like the proverbial Trojan as did Deirdre Gately at full forward while Aishling Jennings really came to life in the second half and when play she and Gillian Behan did a lot of damage on the left wing.

For Sligo Emma Cullen made some good stops after a shaky start, Angela Doohan only made an impression when moved out field as Marina Kane, Tracey O’Hara and Etna Flanagan defended manfully. Bernice Byrne did some good work at midfield late in the game and Stephanie O’Reilly, Noelle Gormley and Jackie Mulligan fought hard in attack where late sub Siobhan Melvin did cause a few problems.

Kildare Scorers: Noelle Earley 2 – 2, Aishling Jennings 1 – 2 (0-2 Frs)
Aoife Herbert 1 – 1 Deirdre Gately 1 – 1
Louise Keatley 0 – 2 Brianne Leahy 0 – 2
Cliona Dowling 0 – 1 Maria Moolick 0 – 1

Sligo scorers; Noelle Gormley 1 – 4 (1-0 pen, 0-4 Frs.) Stephanie O’Reilly 2 – 0
Siobhan Melvin 0 – 2
Kildare, Therese Martin, Kiri Lowry, Donna Berry, Julie Cunningham Maria Moolick
6 Orla O’Shea Aisling Holton Brianne Leahy Louise Keatley Noelle Earley, Aisling Jennings, Gillian Behan, Aoife Herbert , Deirdre Gately , Cliona Dowling
16 Clodagh Flanagan Balyna for J Cunningham (47 min)
17 Kate Leahy Grangenovlan for O O’Shea (47 min)
19 Tracy Noone Ballinteer St John’s for G Behan (55 min)
25 Christine Newton Leixlip for C Dowling (55 min)

SLIGO; Emma Cullen, Martina Keane, Angela Doohan, Etna Flanagan, Tracy O’Hara
Ruth Goodwin, Elicia Codd, Sinead McTiernan, Bernice Byrne,Siobhan O’Sullivan
Stephanie O’Reilly (2-0), Fiona Maye, Jackie Mulligan, Noelle Gormley (1-4), Elaine O’Reilly
Subs Used
Cammie Kennedy for S McTiernan (15 min)
Aine Gormley for E O’Reilly (34 min)
Siobhan Melvin (0 -2) for E Codd (38 min).
Referee: Derek Byrne (Limerick)

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