Gallant Kildare lose out in extra time

go out to All-Ireland Champions


Ladies National Football League Division 1 Playoff
Kerry 5-16 Kildare 3-17 By Alan Bell

A year after winning division 2, the 2005 league
campaign came to a close for the Kildare ladies,
following some bruising and learned experiences.
This one started at lightening pace with Simone
Gilbert opening the scoring after 2 minutes. Kildare
were completely dominating the game, but failed
to put points on the board, kicking four wides
in the next 5 minutes. Kerry levelled through
Patrice Dennehy on 8 minutes and straight from
the kick out an Aisling Holton found Kildare forward
Gillian Behan who in turn picked out Gilbert again
and the Maynooth woman put Kildare 2 points to
1 ahead. The Kildare dominance continued the and
3 points in 3 minutes from Tracy Noone (2) and
Melissa O’Brien to leave Kildare 4 points to 1
ahead after 15 minutes. Geraldine O’Shea and Elaine
Dillon swapped free’s and a Deirdre Corridon score
brought it back to 5-4 for the lilies. At this
point Brianne Leahy was giving a master class
at centre field and fielded brilliantly on her
own 45 soloed the length of the pitch and picked
out Stacy Cannon who lashed the ball into the
top right hand corner of the Kerry net to make
it 1-5 to 4 points for Kildare. This seemed to
stun Kerry into life with Geraldine O’Shea tacking
on 2 points and Deirdre Corridon scoring a vital
goal. Kildare might well look back on that brief
period as the straw that broke the camel’s back
having controlled the game and lead for 27 minutes
before allowing Kerry to get three scores and
go into the half time break 1-7 to 1-6 ahead.

captain Katie Gleeson (left) and Kildare’s
captain for the day Stacy Cannon (right)
before Sunday’s Div. 1 playoff game at Nenagh.

sides swapped points on 3 and 4 minutes through
Elaine Dillon and Geraldine O’Shea. And Brianne
Leahy made another of those surging runs into
the Kerry half to level matters 2 minutes later.
Kildare were not dominating the play as they had
been in the first half, but still looked dangerous
when in possession and Simone Gilbert’s pace was
causing some discomfort for the Kingdom defenders.
It was one of her darting runs and a neat lay
off to Noelle Earley saw the Sarsfields woman
put Kildare a point ahead with 7 minutes gone
in the half. But again Kerry came back with points
from Gráinne ni Flaharta, Edel O’Connell and wonderfully
constructed goal from Catherine Sexton. The game
was fast developing into all we expected it to
be with excellent passing, moving and strong tackling
by both sides, it certainly wasn’t a game for
the faint hearted. Kerry used every bit of their
strength and experience and at times looked as
if they would leave the lily ladies behind them.
But that never say die spirit in the Kildare team
refused to give in and back they came with a brace
of points from Tracy Noone (2) and Brianne Leahy.
2-10 to 1-10 for Kerry with 15 minutes to go.
Again Kerry hit a purple patch scoring 1-2 in
3 minutes and I’m sure the traveling Kildare supporters
feared the worst. But back came Kildare again
with Melissa O’Brien latching onto an Elaine Dillon
free kick and slotting it past the Kerry keeper.
Dillon and Leahy tacked on points for Kildare
to make it 2-12 to 3-11. There were tired and
aching legs all over the pitch as we entered the
final 10 minutes of the game and a surging run
by the Kerry full forward Catherine Sexton saw
her get away from Kildare’s Carol Bergin who in
her attempt to stay with her hauled her down for
a Kerry penalty. Geraldine O’Shea gave Cathriona
Dolan no chance with the spot kick sending it
to the bottom corner of the net. Kildare responded
with points from Noone and Gilbert. As the referee
was looking at his watch Brianne Leahy won the
resulting kick out and picked out Tracy Noone
with what must have been a 30 meter pass, Noone
flicked the ball into Emma Hannon who was in a
world of space and stayed calm to smash the ball
into the Kerry net to make it Kerry 4-11 Kildare
3-14 and bring the game to extra time.

It was in this extra time that Kerry drew on all
their experience taking clinical scores and dictating
the pace with at least 3 former all-stars on show
really stepping up when it counted. Kildare did
get some fine scores from Simone Gilbert (2) and
Tracy Noone. But the kingdom scored 1-5 in extra
time to secure their Division 1 status for 2006
after a fierce tussle.

The harsh reality is, that every single mistake
was punished on the day and Kerry it has to be
said really came into their own in extra time.
Kildare can hold their heads up and be proud and
can certainly look forward to their first senior
championship campaign with anticipation. Kildare
had huge performances from Simone Gilbert, Aisling
Lambe and particularly Brianne Leahy. While best
for Kerry were Catherine Sexton, Katie Kenneally
and of course Geraldine O’Se.




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