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2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets

Kerry dazzle under lights

Kerry
Dazzle under Lights

 

Kerry 2-8 Armagh 0-10

A superb gutsy team performance ensured Kerry went through
to the knockout stages of the league as winners of Division
1A as they lowered the colours of high flying Armagh on
Friday night last. Speaking after the game in Crettyard,
Co. Laois manager Robbie Griffin couldn’t hide his delight
at his side’s win: “It was a fabulous performance, the team
showed great character, great attitude and worked their
socks off tonight. In the second half we out worked Armagh
which is what you have to do to beat a Northern team.”

Indeed the Kerry ladies were forced to dig deep against
their Northern rivals on a heavy pitch with a steady drizzle
on a soft evening that marked Kerry’s first ever competitive
match under floodlights. Kerry had the use of the elements
in the opening half and set about their task full of vigour.
Kacey O’Driscoll knocked over their opening point from 35
yards inside the opening minute. The Caherciveen native
was unlucky not to add a goal soon after as she showed her
soccer skills (Kacey is part of the Irish women’s international
squad) to great effect to side-foot past Denise Hannigan
in the Armagh goals only for her 13 yard strike was wrongly
adjudged not to have crossed the line by referee Tony Clarke
despite the umpires reaching for the green flag. A let off
for the All-Ireland finalists who cancelled out a Katie
Kenneally point after nine with two scores from their scorer-in
-chief Aileen Matthews.

There was a terrific battle taking place in the centre of
the field as All Star Caroline O’Hanlon and Alma O’Donnell
had a titantic struggle with Cordal’s Margaret O’Donoghue
and the emerging Nessa Ni Shuilleabhain over the hour. Captain
Sarah O’Connor then struck for a fine point after eleven
minutes when she let fly from 40 yards out. 17 year old
Debra Murphy showed her predatory instincts on 12 minutes
as she gathered a deft ball played into her by Kacey O’Driscoll
and easily goaled from the edge of the square for her second
green flag for Kerry inside six days. Armagh though showed
why they made last year’s all Ireland as they came strongly
back into the game in the second quarter with both midfielders
registering points and corner forward Matthews again on
target. Jenny Johnson averted danger on a couple of occasions
in the Kerry rearguard before a pointed free from Geraldine
O’Se after she had been fouled gave Kerry some respite.
O’Se also scored Kerry’s final score of the half as she
pointed from a neat solo run after Margaret O’Donoghue won
the breaking ball in the middle of the field. That point
left it 1-5 to 0-5 at the end of a whole hearted first period.

Kerry had a point inside the opening five minutes of the
second half as the wind abated and the drizzle of the opening
half also lifted. That score by Geraldine O’Se, her third
of the night put Kerry four clear (1-6 to 0-5) but any notion
that Kerry would saunter home was soon dispelled as the
Orchard County thundered back into the game with points
from Matthews, Shauna O’Hagan and alma O’Donnell to narrow
the gap to the bare minimum at the end of the third quarter.
Sarah O’Connor punished a mistake in the losers defence
to give her side some breathing space (1-7 to 0-8). The
second goal was just around the corner and what a clinching
strike it proved to be. Ballinskelligs dynamo caroline Kelly
picked up a loose ball in her own half back line and took
off on a bustling run. The Southern Gaels player linked
beautifully with Nessa Ni Shuilleabhain and Geraldine O’Se
before releasing to Katie Kenneally. The centre forward
in turn hand passed to Kacey O’Driscoll who coolly played
in Patrice Dennehy and the captain of the previous two years
clinically dispatched low to the net. A cracking goal by
the Killorglin lady, a goal that her neighbour Mike Frank
Russell would have been proud of. With the bit now between
their teeth Dennehy was again on hand to cap off another
flowing attack as she pointed from 40 yards, 1-1 for a player
who started the night as a wing back before been deployed
in the forward department after the break.

Armagh who had four Crossmaglen players in their ranks tacked
on two late points but in truth they had ben out fought
when the game was there to be won. The smiling faces of
the Kerry panel at the full time whistle told the story
of delight at finishing top of Division 1A and with it renewed
self belief that this Kerry side are moving in ther right
direction.

Kerry: Eimear foley, Caroline Kelly, Grainne Ni Fhlartharta,
Jenny Johnson, Cassandra Buckley, Sara Jane Joy, Patrice
Dennehy (1-1), Margaret O’Donoghue, Nessa Ni Shuilleabhain,
Sarah O Connor (capt,0-2), Katie Kenneally (0-1), Amanda
Brosnan, Debra Murphy (1-0), Kacey O’Driscoll (0-1), Geraldine
O’Se(0-3,I free). Subs: Mairead Finnegan for Brosnan, Edel
O’ Connell for Kenneally.

Armagh: Denise Hannigan, Caoimhe Marley, Fiona Quinn, Dervla
Tohill, Rona O’Mahony, Bronnagh O’Donnell, Sinead McCleary,
Alma O’Donnell (0-3), Caroline O’Hanlon (0-1), Mairead Tennyson,
Mags McAllinden, Maeve Moriarty, Maria O’Donnell, Shauan
O’Hagan(0-1), Aileen Matthews(0-4,2 frees). Subs:Orla Murtagh
for McCleary and Sharon Reel for McAllinden.

Referee:Tony Clarke (Lucan Sarsfield- Dublin).

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