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Ladies Football with John Holden

Junior Panel in heavy training

The Kildare Ladies Junior football panel who play Leitrim
at home in the Suzuki National Football league on Sunday
February 8th are in heavy training under new manager Sean
Delaney. Training which commenced on Sunday January 4th
has taken place three times a week since and last Sunday
was the seventh session under the former Laois manager.
Most of last years squad have returned to the fold with
2003 All Star nominee Tracy Noone of Athgarvan and Kildare
player of the year Kate Leahy of Grange recently returning
as Delaney prepares his side for their first competitive
game under his management.

Former Monaghan player Aileen Duffy is also now on the panel
while Naomi Treacy of Grange, midfielder in the All Ireland
final in 2001 and the three O’Brien sisters Melissa, Orleen
and Edel of Sarsfields are others who have swelled the panel’s
strength to over 40 players. The fourth O’Brien sister Janice
is also involved in the back room team which includes Nuala
O’ Mahony of Na Fianna and Leixlip’s Brian Byrne.

Training has taken place in a variety of locations in the
county with the management grateful for the help from the
Castlemitchell, Round Towers, Ballykelly, Sarsfields and
Moorefield clubs for the use of their facilities and to
the Kildare County Board for the use of Hawkfield as their
main base.

Sean ‘Goggy’ Delaney who led Laois to glory in 2001 has
told the Kildare girls they will remain unbeaten in competitive
games in 2004 under his management. The action begins on
February 8th at home to Leitrim but tougher games follow
with Donegal who beat Kildare last October in the All Ireland
final next up on February 15th and then they play Galway
away on March 7th.

Kildare lost their opening game in the National Football
League a few weeks after the Donegal defeat in the Junior
final when a very understrength side in which only 11 regular
players turned up were beaten up in Armagh. Kildare will
probably have to win two of their three remaining games
to qualify for the quarter finals.

Fixture Sunday 25 January 11 AM
Under 13 League Feile Semi-Finals
Confey ( Home) v Balyna
Ballykelly (Home) v Leixlip

Under 13 League Shield Semi-Finals
Milltown (Home) v Sarsfields
Carbury (Home) v Naas

Finals Saturday 31 January, League Feile Winners will represent
Kildare at All-Ireland Feile in July Under 16B Football
Championship final

Maynooth 2-4 Sarsfields 0-8
Maynooth held on in a hectic finish to deservedly take the
2003 under 16B championship after a terrific final in Clane.
Maynooth who only began to field underage sides this year
surprised their well known opponents with quality play in
the first half and keeper Niamh Kerin, Edel Curran, captain
Mary Hawkins, Aisling Farrell and Michelle Kearney were
dominant in a tight defence who frustrated the Newbridge
girls on numerous occasions. Scores were at a premium during
this period but Maynooth full forward Ciana Ennis sister
of Kildare star Karl slotted over a tremendous eight minute
point to give the girls in black an early lead. Sarsfields
responded when a long ball by captain Laura Lynch saw Maeve
Anne Loftus and Roisin Donohue combine to touch the ball
to the net but referee Paddy Moore disallowed the effort
and Maynooth maintained their advantage. Midway through
the half Ciana Ennis broke through through in impressive
fashion but Sarsfields keeper Sarah Duignam saved brilliantly.

In the 21st minute Aobhin McBride converted a free for Maynooth
to double their advantage and minutes later she slipped
a pass through to midfielder Eibhlin Carr who found corner
forward Emer Connolly who duly drove the ball over the bar
to push the newcomers into an 0-3 to 0-0 advantage. In the
final moments of the half Maynooth added another point when
crafty corner forward Nicola Hurley made space superby and
tapped over to leave the north Kildare side comfortably
in control 0-4 to 0-0 at the break.

Sarsfields as expected came out more determined in the second
half but were stung immeaditely when from the throw in Fiona
Bradley fed Aobhin McBride and she picked out Nicola Hurley
who slipped through a bewildered Sarsfields defence to drive
past Duignam in the Sarsfields goal to move Maynooth 1-4
ahead and looking smug with Elaine McAuliffe, Alison Murphy
and the brilliant McBride looking to continue their solid
work from the first half. Sarsfields made a number of astute
switches and combined with brilliant work by the hard working
Laura Burke, Emer Dempsey, Elaine O’Donnell, Olivia Hickey,
Jenny Lacey, Roisin Donohue and Shauna O’Rourke they began
to get a foothold on the game and corner forward Ciara Dinneny
hit a point with the goal at her mercy after a superb through
pass from the dangerous Maeve Anne Loftus. Sarsfields kept
up the pressure but Maynooth are a spirited bunch and they
stung the Sash when Emer Connolly fielded a long ball from
Sally Anne O’Reilly and blasted home to the net for the
games second goal and a handsome 2-4 to 0-1 lead for the
Anto Mooney and Simone Gilabert managed Maynooth girls.

Sarsfields now threw caution to the wind and produced a
comeback of heroic proportion that just failed to reel in
the winners. The comeback commenced when Laura Lynch pointed
after a superb attack from the Sash and substitute Linda
Bennett made an immediate impact with a quick point in the
43rd minute to give Sarsfields hope as the game reached
the last quarter. The gap was reduced to just two goals
when captain Laura Lynch now leading by example from all
areas of the pitch angled over a tremendous point after
a pass from tireless midfielder Nicola Leavy. Maynooth in
a rare attack at this stage were unlucky when Sarah Hogarty
and Mary Hawkins combined to set up Elaine McAuliffe who
looked sure of a certain score only for Sarsfields Jenny
Lacey to make a tremendous block and from her pass forward
Maeve Anne Loftus made a long run through the Maynooth defence
and fired over a brilliant individual point to reduce the
gap to 2-4 to 0-5 in Maynooth’s favour. The game was now
being played at an intense pace and clashes were inevitable
with Eibhlin Carr of Maynooth and Nicola Leavy of Sarsfields
receiving yellow cards for over zealous play while Maynooth
skipper Mary Hawkins also found her way in the refs book
after a very strong challenge on dangerous Sarsfields substitute
Suzie Coffey. Sarsfields kept up the comeback however and
Maeve Anne Loftus whose pace was a constant threat to Maynooth
hit over her second score in a row to reduce the gap to
four points with nine minutes to play.

The Sash came forward looking for a vital goal but two superb
saves in a row from brilliant Maynooth keeper Niamh Kerin
after a piledriver from Emer Dempsey and then removing the
ball from the toe of Ciara Dinneny as she shaped up to shoot
saw Maynooth maintain their advantage. Sarsfields were not
finished yet however and late frees from Maeve Anne Loftus
and Laura Lynch saw them just two points in arrears with
some injury time to play.

A pitch incursion from an over enthusiastic Sarsfields mentor
who was booked by referee Farrell added more time and although
Sarsfields had a number of late chances from Suzie Coffey,
Jessica Whelehan, Emer Dempsey and Ciara Dinneny they couldn’t
penetrate the Maynooth rearguard for that elusive goal and
Maynooth deservedly held on to take a historic title with
their first underage cup proudly accepted by captain Mary
Hawkins from new county chairman Seamus McCabe at his first
final in his new role.

Maynooth: Niamh Kerin, Karen Lynch, Edel Curran,
Michelle Kearney, Aisling Farrell, Mary Hawkins (Capt),
Sally Anne O’Reilly, Fiona Bradley, Eibhlin Carr, Elaine
McAuliffe, Aobhin McBride 0-1, Alison Murphy, Nicola Hurley
1-1, Ciana Ennis 0-1, Emer Connolly 1-1. Sarah Hogarty.

Sarsfields: Sarah Duignam, Elaine O’Donnell, Cliona
Ni Ghogain, Jenny Lacey, Olivia Hickey, Shauna O’Rourke,
Olivia Whyte, Laura Lynch (Capt) 0-3, Nicola Leavy, Emer
Dempsey, Laura Burke, Mary Connolly, Ciara Dinneny 0-1,
Maeve Anne Loftus 0-3, Roisin Donohue. Subs: Linda Benett
0-1, Jessica Whelehan, Suzie Coffey.

Referee: Paddy Moore (Clane).

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