Kildare Pushed to the Limit by Sligo

Kildare 3-17
Sligo 2-14


(After extra-time – 1-12 each after 60 minutes).


KILDARE manager Alan Barry expressed his relief after watching his side come through an “epic battle” against Sligo to book their place in the TG4 All-Ireland ladies intermediate football final on September 25.

27 August 2016; Ruth Goodwin of Sligo in action against Noelle Earley of Kildare during the TG4 Ladies Football All-Ireland Intermediate Championship Semi-Final game between Kildare and Sligo at Kingspan Breffni Park in Cavan. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***

Maria Moolick’s extra-time goal proved crucial as Kildare finally managed to see off the dogged challenge of Connacht champions Sligo in a game that saw referee Maggie Farrelly flash eight yellow cards and one red.

Kildare’s Tara Hallinan was dismissed at the death for a second bookable offence but Kildare also had three players sin-binned (including Hallinan) while four Sligo players suffered similar fates.

This game had everything as Sligo forward Katie Walsh scored 2-9 and still finished up on the losing side.

Mikaela McKenna scored a brace of goals for Kildare – one very early on and another in extra-time – while sub Emer Fogarty made a big impact off the bench as she chipped in with four points from play.

Noelle Earley and Ellen Dowling bagged three points from play each for Kildare and Róisín Byrne scored two of her three points from frees as last year’s beaten All-Ireland intermediate finalists toughed it out.

It was tough on Sligo who recovered from a dreadful start to make a real game of it but Kildare finished with six points to spare as they came good in the second period of extra-time.

Moolick’s goal was vital as the sister of Kildare men’s star Tommy was alive to the chance when Hallinan’s shot bounced off the upright and she was on hand to finish emphatically to the roof of the net.

After the first period of extra-time, the sides were level at 2-14 apiece – McKenna and Walsh trading goals – but Kildare scored 1-3 without reply in the second period to claim victory.

The regulation hour couldn’t separate the sides as Byrne’s late free for Kildare brought the sides level at 1-12 apiece.

There was still time for Sligo to win it but Stephanie O’Reilly shot wide and the hooter saved Kildare, who had more in the tank for the extra 20 minutes.

Manager Barry said: “It was always going to be an epic battle and that’s the way it was.

“Sligo are a very progressive team and a very good team. It could have gone either way – we were a bit sloppy with possession at times but we got the win and that’s all that counts.

“When you have heart and a bit of character, it’s always going to stand to you. You can always improve on the technical side.

“Our discipline has been pretty good, I thought, throughout the year but there’s a lot at stake. It’s just the way it worked out.

“It’s just as well there’s four weeks to the next game. It was a gruelling encounter in fairness. Look, Sligo played very well as well. I’m just glad to get out of there with the win.

“Sligo have some good players and they’re a physically strong team. Look, Kildare were at times foolish in possession and at other times, played quite well. “The goal at the start of extra-time gave us a lift but Sligo still came back from it. We’re where we want to be now.”

Kildare will play Tipperary or Clare for the Mary Quinn Memorial Cup on September 25.


Teams and scorers – 2 formats:


Scorers for Kildare: M McKenna 2-2 (0-2f), M Moolick 1-1, E Fogarty 0-4, E Dowling, R Byrne (2f) & N Earley 0-3 each, A Holton 0-1.


Scorers for Sligo: K Walsh 2-9 (0-6f), S O’Reilly 0-2, B Byrne, E O’Reilly & C Gorman 0-1 each.


KILDARE: M Hulgraine; T Duggan, P Keatley, R Cribbin; S Kendrick, A Savage, M Nolan; E Burke, A Holton; R Byrne, M Moolick, É Connolly; M McKenna, N Earley, E Dowling.


Subs: E Fogarty for Keatley (h.t.), T Hallinan for Nolan (h.t.), G Lyons for Dowling (42), R Reidy for Connolly (53), R Corrigan for Reidy (68), N Mulhall for McKenna (70), Keatley for Burke (74).


SLIGO: N Gormley; A.M. Coleman, R Goodwin, E Flanagan; L Boles, E Codd, J Mulligan; B Byrne, S McTiernan; L.A. Laffey, S O’Reilly, D McGrath; K Walsh, E O’Reilly, C Gorman.


Subs: M.A. O’Kennedy for Laffey (34), L Casey for McGrath (52), S Reynolds for O’Kennedy (60), T Doddy for Coleman (60), O’Kennedy for Casey (73), Coleman for Gorman (74), E Kevany for McTiernan (80).


Referee: M Farrelly (Cavan)

By Jackie Cahill at Kingspan Breffni Park, Cavan

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