Kildare Clinch Historic Leinster U14 A Title

This final was played  in great conditions in Kinnegad with great support for both teams. Everyone could feel the tingle of excitement, waiting for this highly anticipated encounter  between these two neighbours.

From the throw in this was a tense affair, continual attacks breaking down with turnover after turnover by both defences. Dublin quickly set out their stall and adopted a dual sweeper system to try and curtail this potent Lilly attack. Fortunately for Kildare they settled the quicker and Aoife Rattigan got the scoring underway with a long range effort over the bar. The Cappagh midfielder was to be a threat all afternoon and added a second soon after when she was fouled. The Kildare attack were finding it hard to find space but Rattigan was to strike again when another free was misjudged by the keeper and found the net.
Dublin rattled, pulled themselves together and drove forward and Amy O’Brien took a well earned point, she was unlucky not to score a goal soon after but for a great save from Eleanor Traynor, the Kildare  netminder.
The Dublin centre forward Hannah Howard was given a yellow card for a personal foul on Rattigan, this was to prove costly for Dublin and the Lillies added 3 more points from Orlaith Sullivan and Rattigan
Dublin replied just before halftime with a point for Amy O Brien, this left the score at 1-5, to 0-2 in favour of Kildare.

The second half started with renewed vigour from Dublin abandoning the sweeper system. Emily Whelan took a great point from range. Indeed Wheelan and the now introduced Grace Dent were to have a huge impact on this game.Dublin had their backs up and on the next attack Dent took a high ball and rattled the Kildare net
From the kickout Mia Doherty made  good ground to find Rattigan in space, she bobbed and weaved her magic and from 35 metres picked her spot and drilled home to the corner of the Dublin net.
Kildare thought the Dublin backbone was broken, how wrong they were to be. Niamh Cummins replied quickly with 2 well worked points and Dent split the Lillies defence and shot low and hard to find her spot at the corner of the net. Kildare rallied and Sally Murphy now moved out to midfield was working hard and scored 2 well earned points to give breathing space between the sides again. Dublin pushed hard and with great skill and determination Emily Whelan got in close only to be taken down for a penalty which she took herself but unfortunately for her and Dublin it  skated wide of the post.
This lifted the Lillies and Ciara Price battled hard through the sea of blue to take a good point. Gillian Wheeler got in on the act and blasted home from close range and followed it up with a point.
Dublin never giving up pushing bodies forward and with great determination Wheelan blasted the ball from 30 metres which bounced around the square like a ping pong ball until Dent got on the end of it and drilled home from close range.Nearly from the kickout Dent again raised the green flag after the Kildare defence failed to deal with loose ball, this was her 4th of the afternoon.
Indeed it could have been worse only Elenor Traynor pulled off a great save from Wheelan that was destined for the top right corner of the net.
Dublin now seemed to be rampant but a moment of brilliance from Gillian Wheeler cut through the Blue sea and found Ruth Birchall unmarked and gladly split the posts.This seemed to break Dublin spirits and 2 more points from Birchall and Rattigan finished proceedings on a scoreline of 3-12 to Kildare and 4-6 to Dublin.

This was a game of high intensity, skill and determination, no quarter given or received, a fantastic game of football for the neutral , enthralling from start to finish.
Commiserations to the Dublin team and management who were gracious in defeat.
Well done to the Kildare girls and management team and a place in the All Ireland Semi Final awaits this highly talented group.

Kildare team.

Kildare scores
Aoife Rattigan 2-4
Sally Murphy 0-2
Gillian Wheeler 1-1
Ciara Price 0-1
Orlaith Sullivan 0-1
Ruth Birchall 0-3

Kildare subs
Maria Kelly for Deirdre Doyle
Sarah Rose Merrick for Katie O Loughlin
Elaine Keogh for Ciara Price

Dublin scores
Grace Dent 4-0
Amy O’Brien 0-2
Caitlin Coffee 0-1
Niamh Cummins 0-2
Emily Whelan 0-1

Dublin subs
Sophie McGlynn for Rachel Fagan
Grace Dent for Sarah O’Leary
Niamh Cummins for Hannah Howard
Aoibhe Walsh for Elyse J Murphy

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