Carlow 3-9 Kilkenny 5-4

Carlow 3-9 Kilkenny 5-4

Victory by the narrowest of margins seems to be the norm when the Carlow and Kilkenny ladies footballers go head to head, and they did not disappoint in Ballon on Sunday last when Carlow played host to the Kilkenny, in what was a very exciting and tense competitive game.
While Kilkenny were in the driving seat through out the first half, going in at the break with nine points to spare over the floral county (1-3 to 4-3), however with mentor Fran Mullins advice ringing in their ears the Carlow girls put in a brilliant effort in the second half, first, to reduce the Kilkenny forwards to one goal and a single point at one end of the pitch, while their hard working forwards notched up 2-6 at the other end, but the sands of time ran out for the home side and they were unable to get over the winning line on this occasion, Kilkenny held out for an historic win, Leinster President Bill Daly presented
winning captain Eimear Rowantree with the shield trophy and their center back Aine Manning received the player of the match award.
Kilkenny playing with a slight wind were first off the mark with an excellent point in the second minute from their number eleven Edwina Keane. Carlows Lisa Miley hit back in the sixth to level the sides for the first time in the game.
Kilkennys first attempt at a goal was saved by Carlow brave number one Grace Clarke as she dived at the feet of Marie Maher, however Clarkes deflected save was pushed over the goal line by the ever alert Edwina Keane, but before referee Seamus O'Shea had finished logging the score, Carlows pacy number eleven Stephanie Kehoe rifled a daisy cutter of a
shot past Tanala Kehoe in the Kilkenny goals, to draw the sides level for the second time in the game (1-1 to 1-1).
Kilkennys hot shot Marie Dargan opened her account in the eighteenth minute with a well worked goal, and minutes later Dargan rattled the ball off the under side of the Carlow cross bar but the ball bounced out to be cleared only as far as Marie Maher, Maher tapped over to put a goal between the sides (1-2 to 2-2).
With only minutes left before the half time break, the hard working Carlow back line were under extreme pressure as the Kilkenny forwards looked for gaps, and eventually their determination paid off, Dargans accurate pass found Maeve Mansfield in space, and the number fifteen made no mistake slotting the ball past Tanala Kehoe, less than two minutes later Kehoe had to retrieve the ball from the back of her net as Marie Dargan raised the green flag for her second goal of the game.
Kilkennys Sarah Walshe scored the final point to bring the half to an end (1-3 to 4-3).
Three minutes into the third quarter Marie Dargan was on target once, this time the Kilkenny number eight raised the white flag, however for the next twenty minutes Carlow piled on the pressure as they started to click into a higher gear, points from Emma Brennan, Lisa Miley, and a goal and point from the boot of Hilliary Griffin, started to turn the game in favour of the home side.
The Carlow girls had reduced the Kilkenny lead to only three points (2-7 to 4-4) with just twelve minutes left on the clock, when they had a goal disallowed, Stephanie Kehoe lobbed a shot in from the right that was tipped into the Kilkenny net, but the ref deemed that the Carlow player was in the square and the score did not stand.
A bit like the weather on the day the temperature on both sidelines was starting to rise just nicely, as mentors and supporters from both camps encouraged their teams over the winning line. But with clock now showing seven minute remaining Marie Dargan eased the pressure on Kilkenny when she cut through the Carlow defence to fire the low past the Carlow keeper.
The clock was now into the final five minutes, and the visitors looked like they were home and dry with six points in the bag, but Carlow were not finished yet in particular their number eleven Stephanie Kehoe, she scored two points in as many minutes to close the gap to four points with three minute and counting on the clock, Kehoe lobbed a pass into Hilliary Griffin, Griffin tapped the ball past the Kilkenny keeper to put just one point between the sides, Stephanie Kehoe was back in the danger zone seconds later and had her sights locked on the Kilkenny goal posts, would it be a goal or would it be a point…..?, we'll never know as referee Seamus O'Shea brought an end to what was a great game of football by both sides, with
Kilkenny having a one point winning advantage.
Carlow; Tanala Kehoe, Melissa Couhlan, Paula Murphy, Melanie Walker, Leanne Lambert, Maria Kinsella capt, Emma O'Regan, Hilliary Griffin, Deirdre O'Sullivan, Stephanie Fitzgerald, Stephanie Kehoe, Lisa Miley, Audrey Browne, Emma Brennan, Bernie Morrissey. Subs: Tina Kehoe, Ceira Cowman, Thris Byrne.
Kilkenny: Grace Clarke, Sinead Stapleton, Aine Manning, Aisling Brennan, Sarah Hennessey, Eimear Rowantree capt, Briona Fennelly, Marie Dargan, Niamh Whelan, Ruth Bergin, Edwina Keane, Marie Magher, Deirdre Phelan, Sarah Walshe, Maeve Mansfield. Subs: Clodagh Doyle for Ruth bergin, Ann Lannon for sarah Walshe, Mairead Daly, Annette Reddy, Debbie O'Mahoney.
Referee: Seamus O'Shea (Laois). ( Mick Forde leinster PRO )

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