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Kildare triumphant against Offaly

JULY 2003
TIME 2.30 PM

Kildare continued their progress through the championship
with another facile win over a poor Offaly team. You can
only beat the opponents that field against you, but while
Offaly will bemoan the absence of their two star players,
it is hard to see how Orla Cullen and Treasa McManus even
with their great family names could have made any real difference
had they not gone to the USA for the summer. Offaly managed
only two shots at the Kildare posts during the game, the
first after twelve minutes from Niamh Malone was high and
wide while the second which only came in the last minute
from Catriona Comerford was smothered and cleared by Margaret
McCormack who must have been glad of some “employment” after
fifty nine minutes spectating. Right from the off Kildare
had control and the first point came after thirty three
seconds when Anto Mooney started the move in her own half,
the ball travelled via Brianne Leahy, Kate Leahy, Grainne
Heduan and Noelle Early to Deirdre Gately who shot over
the bar. Deirdre Gately fed Grainne Heduan for the second,
and Brianne Leahy after a brilliant block-down set up Tracy
Noone for number three. Then Brianne steamed through the
Offaly defence and smashed her shot off the cross bar, the
desperation clearance attempt came back out to her and this
time the butt of an upright saved Offaly. By now Offaly
had two of their full forward line operating as auxiliary
defenders and Edel Delaney up from the corned back took
advance, exchanging passes with Tracy Noone and kicking
an excellent point, well she does play centre forward for
Athgarvan. Grainne Heduan then provided Noelle Early with
the opening for her first point and Noelle then turned provider,
Tracy Noone the accurate recipient. After eight minutes
the Offaly cause was buried as the Confey duo of Deirdre
Gately and Grainne Heduan set-up their townie, Leixlip’s
Maria Mollick to smash home Kildare first goal. Kildare
then suffered what in other circumstances might have been
a grievous loss when Brianne Leahy landed awardkely after
contesting a dropping ball and had to leave the field. However
Kim Turner came off the bench and proceeded to play a blinder
while her midfield partner Grainne Heduan and Kate Leahy
were even better. Five more points quickly followed by the
eighteenth minute and then Kildare had nine scoreless minutes
during which Offaly keeper Stacey Egan was lucky to escape
with a yellow card after throwing a punch at Simone Gilabert
and how referee John Lennon managed to award a free out
rather then a penalty was a mystery, but Simone’s nose was
not permanently damaged. A earlier footblock on Maria Mollick
and a similar “tackle” on Tracy Noone in the second half
did not merit even a whistle. A couple of other Offaly players
were also lucky to last the hour. Julie Cunningham had enough
of the nonsense and three minutes form half-time she sped
upfield, placed a great ball through to Tracy Noone, a skip
turn and swing of the sweet left foot saw goal number two
nestle in the corner and Deirdre Gately blasted over a point
to leave Kildare with a half-time tally of 2-12.

Offaly who had introduced the experienced Vera Clavin when
midfielder Niamh Kavanagh suffered a recurrance of an ankle
injury midway through the first half, added more experience
at the interval with Denise Minnock replacing Noreen Devery.
The changes brought no improvement as Kildare added two
points inside three minutes followed them with Tracy Noone’s
second goal, set-up by Grainne Heduan and Aisling Lambe,
now almost another wing forward.Tracy returned the compliment
a minute later enabling Aisling score her point. A long
drive from Grainne Heduan was then grabbed by Maria Mollick
for her second goal and Kildare started to ring the changes.
Emma McCartney replaced Yvonne Murphy and she kicked a brace
as did Kim Turned, both from more than forty yards. Tracy
Noone, Deirdre Gately and Noelle Early also added to their
tally, before John Lennon’s long whistle brought merciful
relief to the beleagured Home team. By then Louise Conlon,
Mairead Whelehan and Nicola Cunningham had also made effective
cameo appearances while all Offaly earned was a serious
finger wagging for Paula Grennan who seemed intent on replicating
the feat of her brother James against Kildare last year.

Offaly were very poor and without the handful of brilliant
saves by Stacy Egan who could meet less sympathetic referees,
the hard work of Elaine Brasil and Amy O’Grady in the full
back line and both at midfield for the second half, Michelle
Claffey and Dolores Collins tried hard in an over run half
back line, Orla Daly made an occasional burst midfield and
through Bronagh O’Sullivan, Niamh Malone and Cathriona Comerford
tried in attack they were never a real threat, especially
on their limited rations.

On the Kildare team, Goal keeper Margaret McCormack was
virtually unemployed, Ann Hughes and Antoinette Mooney stayed
home and minded house in the full back line no matter what
switching, swapping or combination Offaly tried, Edel Delaney
following Paula Connolly out to midfield, wiped out her
opponent and her more aggressive replacement and enjoyed
her auxiliary midfield role. Kate Leahy and Julie Cunningham
did the holding job at half back and both joined the score
sheet as Kate was terrific while Aisling Lambe did any defending
needed and played a forward playmaker role for much of the
second half. Brianne Leahy and Grainne Heduan gave Kildare
a midfield strangle hold from the start and even after Brianne’s
early departure the pattern was unchanged as Grainne bossed
the middle and Kim Turner was a more than an able Lieutenant.
Up front Tracy Noone with 2-5 in fifty minutes was the leading
light but Deirdre Gately and Noelle Early were the free
running unselfish providers, Simone Gilbert spelled trouble
every time she got possession and Maria Mollick paid her
way and her dues on the edge of the Offaly square while
Yvonne Murphy did not enjoy the move to the left corner
and Emma McCartney revelled in it for the last twenty minutes
while fellow sub Louise Conlon was strong confident and
assured at the back late on but Mairead Whelehan and Nicole
Cunningham did not have enough time to make a big impression.

Scorers: Tracy Noone 2 – 5 (0-1 Fr) Maria Moolick
2 – 1 Deirdre Gately 0 – 3 (0-1 Fr) Grainne Heduan 0 -2
Noelle Earley 0 – 2 Kim Turner 0 – 2 ( 0-1 Fr) Emma McCartney
0 – 2 Edel Delaney 0 – 1 Simone Gilabert 0 – 1 Kate Leahy
0 – 1 Julie Cunningham 0 -1 Aisling Lambe 0 – 1

Teams: Kildare Margaret McCormack Edel Delaney 0
– 1 Ann Hughes Antoinette Mooney Aisling Lambe 0 – 1 Kate
Leahy 0 – 1 Julie Cunningham 0 – 1 Brianne Leahy Grainne
Heduan 0 – 2 Simone Gilabert 0 – 1 Noelle Earley 0 – 2 Deirdre
Gately 0 – 3 (0-1 Fr) Tracy Noone 2 – 5 (0-1 Fr) Maria Moolick
2 – 1 Yvonne Murphy
Subs Used: Kim Turner 0 – 2 ( 0-1 Fr) for B Leahy
Inj (9 Mins) Emma McCartney 0 – 2 for Yvonne Murphy (38
Mins) Louise Conlon for Ann Hughes (49 Mins) Mairead Whelehan
for T Noone (51 Mins) Nicola Cunningham for S Gilabert (53
Mins) Offaly Stacey Egan Clodagh O’Sullivan Elaine Brasil
Amy O’Grady Michelle Claffey Dolores Collins Sabrina Carroll
Niamh Kavanagh Orla Daly Bronagh O’Sullivan Paula Grennan
Niamh Malone Catriona Comerford Paula Connolly Noreen Devery
Subs Used Vera Clavin for N Kavanagh inj (17 Mins) Denise
Minnock for N Devery H.T. Patrice Stapleton for P Connolly
(43 Mins)
Referee: John Lennon (Westmeath)
Report by: Tom Ryan

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