Kildare Overcome Meath in Crunch Encounter

In front of a sizeable home crowd, Kildare outshone the Royals to ensure their Division Two League status for 2017. Just three points ahead at half time, Kildare dominated the second period to run out fifteen point winners. For the Royals it is back to the drawing board as they prepare to take on Sligo in a relegation play off next Sunday – with the winners securing Division Two league status for 2017.

Blaithnaid Keogh Meath - Mikaela Mc Kenna - Kildare

Despite the windy blustery conditions, it was the Royals who dominated early exchanges with Niamh Gallogly and Niamh O’Sullivan putting early pressure on the Kildare defence. When Bláthnaid Keogh was fouled in the box, referee Des McEnery pointed to the penalty spot but unfortunately Stacey Grimes dragged it agonisingly wide. Bláthnaid Keogh opened the scoring for the Royals on five minutes. This was cancelled out by a Maria Moolick point on 7mins after good work from Trina Duggan and Aisling Holton. An Emer Fogarty free on 8 mins put the Lillies ahead but the Royals got back into contention on ten minutes when Ailbhe McHugh rifled to the net assisted by a well timed Marion Farrelly pass. Kildare’ response was immediate, hitting 3-02 without reply; Roisín Byrne, Mikaela McKenna and a penalty from Trína Duggan all finding the back of Louise Dunne’s net. Farrelly pointed Meath’s second point of the contest on 20 mins to leave eight points between the teams. This seemed to rouse the Royals with Elaine Plunkett and Shauna Ennis finding their feet in the backs. Niamh Gallogly split the posts for the Royals on 25 mins while a Vikki Wall effort fell straight into Kildare keeper, Mary Hulgraine’s arms. With Meath dominating possession, a high effort into the box from Wall was saved by the keeper, McHugh dispossessed Hulgraine and buried it in the back of the net for Royal goal number two on 28 mins. A foul on Niamh Gallogly gave Wall the opportunity to split the posts from a free and reduce the gap to three points on 28 minutes. The teams traded scores just before the half time whistle with Wall converting a free deep into injury time to leave three between the sides at half time.


Half Time; Meath 2-05, Kildare 3-05


Five unanswered points in the opening ten minutes of the second half gave Kildare an eight point advantage over the visitors. Grimes pointed for the Royals on 43 mins but Kildare’s response was emphatic, hitting goal number four a minute later. Despite this scoreline, Meath continued to attack and Wall hit her third point of the contest on 48 mins. Meath were looking for goals but the Kildare defence stood solid. As Eoin Hennessy rang in the changes, Meath continued to chase and hurry with Síofra Cleary and Emma Troy running at the Kildare defence. Kildare hit on the counter attack and Maria Moolick netted for goal number five on 51 mins to seal the contest. Kildare were to finish with 14 players when Roisín Byrne saw yellow for a foul on Bláthnaid Keogh. Moolick and Ellen Dowling pointed for the home side on 56 and 57 mins. Royal pressure was rewarded with Wall’s fourth point on 58 mins and substitute Caitríona Keogan forced Kildare keeper Hulgraine into a full stretch save a minute later, to deny the Skryne player her first Senior Inter County goal. Last year’s u16 Captain, Aoibhín Cleary, making her Senior inter county debut, marked it with a fine point on the stroke of full time. Moolick and Dowling pointed once more for the Lillies before the full time whistle rang out to the relief of the Meath supporters present.


Full Time; Meath 2-09, Kildare 5-15.


This will be a day the Royals will want to banish from their minds quickly. While gleaning positives from today’s fixture is a difficult one, Meath supporters should remember this is a young Royal side with plenty of individually talented players. Time and patience is what’s needed for Eoin Hennessy’s side as well as a good dose of self-confidence and self-belief. Meath players have resilience in abundance and undoubtedly will come out guns blazing next Sunday for the crucial decider against Sligo.


Both sides observed a minute’s silence prior to throw in, in memory of Ciara Ryan from Wexford. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dilís.


Meath Team & Scorers; Louise Dunne, Elaine Plunkett, Paula Dunne (C), Hannah Heskin, Orla Byrne, Shauna Ennis, Síofra Cleary, Vikki Wall (0-04, 2f), Bláthnaid Keogh 0-01), Niamh Gallogly (0-01), Niamh O’Sullivan, Stacey Grimes (0-01), Ailbhe McHugh (2-00), Marion Farrelly (0-01), Shelly Melia.

Subs; Emma Troy for Plunkett, Caitríona Keogan for McHugh, Niamh Lister for Byrne, Aoibhín Cleary (0-01) for Melia.


Kildare Team & Scorers; Mary Hulgraine, Tara Hallinan, Erica Burke, Rachel Cribbin, Shauna Kendrick, Aisling Savage, Rachel Reidy, Aisling Curley, Aisling Holton (C), Roisín Byrne (1-03, 1f), Mikaela McKenna (1-00), Trina Duggan (1-01), Eadaoin Connolly (1-01), Maria Moolick (1-04), Emer Fogarty (0-04)

Subs; Michaela Nolan for Reidy, Ellen Dowling (0-02) for Fogarty.


Referee; Des McEnery (Westmeath)


Upcoming County Fixtures:


Friday 15th April

Leinster U-14 Championship Round 5; Meath v Laois – Dunganny, Centre of Excellence at 7pm.


Saturday 16th April

Leinster Minor B Championship Quarter Final; Meath v Offaly, Meath Venue & Time TBC


Sunday 17th April

Lidl NFL Division 2 Relegation Play-Off; Meath v Sligo – Neutral Venue & Time TBC



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