Match report on first ever Kildare senior championship club game

Competition: Senior Championship
Venue: St. Catherine’s Park
Date: Thursday 01/07/2003
Time: 8 PM
Grangenovlan 2 – 15 Confey 0 – 7
Score at Half Time: 1-9 to 0-4
Score at Full Time: 2-15 to 0-7

Match Report:

The long awaited day when Kildare Ladies Club Football came
of age arrived last Tuesday as, perhaps fittingly, the Counties
two top adult clubs met in the first Championship game designated
as Senior. So it was probably also fitting that the setting
was the new St. Catherine’s Park pitch.

The game itself, lest we forget the main priority, was an
excellent exhibition of top class football with all the
best skills of Ladies “Gaelic” on show and the spectacle
was enhanced by the firm, fair and common-sense refereeing
of Tony Clarke. From the first minute, both sides declared
their intent as Grangenovlan’s Julie Cunningham went on
a lung-bursting run at the Confey Defence, fired low and
hard for the corner and Ellen O’Connor dived full length
to save and Mary Sweeney was on full alert in support of
her goalkeeper to gather and clear to safety. Soon after,
Nicola Cunningham pointed the free which she had won. Then
Confey had two chances with two frees. First Grainne Heduan
saw her effort from far out drop short after Deirdre Gately
had been illegally stopped and one closer in drifted wide
less than a minute later and Grangenovlan made the home
team pay dearly.

With Brianne Leahy playing brilliantly at midfield and Julie
Cunningham and Kate Leahy also on song, the southerners
kicked five in a row. The first was a typical effort as
Kate Leahy, on the charge from her own half, twice exchanged
passes with Julie Cunningham and Nicola Cunningham was available
to finish the job. Ellen O’Connor pulled off a second great
save, this on from a Naomi Treacy pile driver but the respite
lasted exactly one minute. Brianne sent Catherine Bradley
away for point number three and Denise Brophy then sailed
up the middle to get the next. Brianne then made a mistake,
kicking a free wide and when the next free was awarded two
minutes later, Yvonne Murphy took on the place kicking duties
with immaculate effect. Donna Berry then began to show her
paces on the right wing and, while she was foiled twice,
the third run, starting at halfway out on the sideline,
saw her show a clean pair of heels to all pursuers and she
finished accurately, putting Grangenovlan six points ahead.

Lorna Whitson then made the opening for Sinead Dowd to get
Confey’s first point but Yvonne Murphy retaliated with two
points from frees and the Leahy sisters combined to put
Donna Berry away for her second and the team’s ninth point
after twenty nine minutes. Deirdre Gately then showed that
she too could run a defence from the right wing, fed Lorna
Whitson, the best of the home forwards, who coolly pointed
and Confey seemed to getting ready for a good second half.
Brianne Leahy was also clued in and, in the first minute
of stoppage time, she sallied forth from her own half, raced
past midfield, waltzed past a couple of half backs, took
the scenic route around the full back line and blasted an
unstoppable shot to the Confey net. A goal to remember and
one that would bury a lot of teams. Confey buried? No chance
They just got stuck in. In the further three minutes of
first half play, Siobhan Glennon, Emma McCartney, Grainne
Heduan and Deirdre Gately dominated and pressured the away
team’s defence into conceding a couple of frees, the second
made easier for Grainne Heduan, as a defender’s opinion
cost her thirteen metres and Grainne slotted both for a
half time count of 1-9 to 0-4 to Grangenovlan.

Confey made changes at the break. Ciara Gately, who did
not start because of a back injury that restricted her training,
was introduced at corner back with Mary Sweeney moving out
to mark Donna Berry. Deirdre Sweeney went to fifteen and
Sinead Dowd to full forward and the dividend was instant
as, seconds after the restart, Sinead was pushed and Grainne
pointed the resultant free, but it would be the fiftieth
minute before Confey would score again as Grangenovlan reasserted
control. Naomi made another great catch but mis-kicked her
shot for goal and Ellen O’Connor escorted it out for a wide.
Brianne then talked herself to a yellow card and followed
up by racing through and shooting wide but Confey’s luck
ran out soon after as another long, high searching kick
from Julie Cunningham towards their goal was fielded high
in the air by Naomi Treacy who spun past a despairing Therese
Martin and this time the full forward was making no mistake
as she smashed the ball to the net. Two quick-fire points
followed. Yvonne Murphy kicked from forty yards, the ball
bounced on the edge of the square and went over. Julie Cunningham
then made one of her few forward forays and Donna Berry
availed of the pass to kick a fine point. Catherine Bradley
then tried to follow suit but her shot came back off the
post and Nicola Cunningham side footed for the corner from
close range but Ellen O’Connor was again alert, diving low
to save.

Confey took heart from the young goalkeeper’s heroics and
good work from Deirdre Gately and Sinead Dowd sent Lorna
Whitson through only for Carol Keogh to show she could match
Ellen O’Connor as she saved brilliantly.

Kate Leahy turned up in the next Grangenovlan attack to
pick off a good point but Grainne Heduan raced to the other
end and a shot that looked all over a goal was somehow kept
out by ever vigilant Carol Keogh. The right wingers then
repeated their first half moves. Donna made a great run
up the right and pointed. From the kickout. Deirdre Gately
did exactly the same at the other end with only the arrival
of County Under 14 player Joanne Cullen as substitute for
Catherine Bradley dividing the swashbuckling moves. After
Ciara Tallon joined the Grangenovlan attack, allowing Naomi
Treacy switch to a more familiar site, well she was even
wearing the number five, Yvonne Murphy knocked over her
fifth point when Donna Berry again danced up the wing. It
was her last run of the evening as Confey were introducing
Wendy Leavy to take on the task of marking her she was leaving
the fray on the other side of the pitch with Orla Brennan
taking her place. Grainne Heduan was not being distracted
by substitutions as she made a great run from midfield,
only to be denied by a post and Deirdre Sweeney suffered
the same fate from the rebound. If proof were needed that
Grainne’s luck was absent without leave were needed, it
came a minute later as she again headed for goal, shot powerfully
but from seemingly nowhere, her County colleague, Ann Hughes,
somehow materialised to get in the block that denied Confey
a consolation goal. Julie Cunningham then rubbed it in by
scoring Grangenovlan’s last point and neatly completing
the “full house” of all six forwards and both midfielders
for Grangenovlan (plus centre half back Kate Leahy, of course,)
putting their names on the score sheet. Confey did score
the last point of the game and, fittingly, it was bright
younger forward Lorna Whitson who got it.

The defeat is a big blow to Confey and while Rachel Dufficy
and Celia Hogan, both badly missed, will be back, a big
improvement will be necessary if they are to get the better
of Athgarvan on July 29th and earn another crack at Grangenovlan
which could come in the County Final on Sunday 10th August.
There are also positives they can take from the game. Ellen
O’Connor is a marvelous young goalkeeper and her presence
releases Caroline Glennon to play in defence. Therese Martin
is a strong defender who will always fight the cause. Mary
Sweeney is back after missing most of last year with a broken
ankle, Siobhan Glennon is effective as defensive pivot or
at midfield, Grainne Heduan is playing better than ever,
Deirdre Gately is always dangerous and Lorna Whitson has
developed into an excellent Senior player and Aisling Jennings
and Sinead Dowd will surely never be as quiet again.

Grangenovlan are a powerful side and, even without Niamh
Cunnane and Sharon Conway, were worthy winners. Carol Keogh
did all that was asked of her including bringing off two
top drawer saves, Emma Quinn and Ann Hughes excelled at
the back, Kate Leahy and Lorraine Doyle stood out in the
half line of defence where Jamie Curtis made a sound return.
Midfield was where Grangenovlan got mastery of this game.
Julie Cunningham, after giving early notice of her attacking
capabilities, played the anchor role to perfection while
Brianne was winning possession and mixing excellent passes
and long deliveries with powerful attacking bursts, a potent
combination. The attack all proved their worth but Donna
Berry’s running and shooting and Yvonne Murphy’s accuracy
were notable, as was Naomi Treacy’s showing at full forward,
where her fielding ability and strength ensured a torrid
time for Therese Martin, and Nicola Cunningham linked the
play admirably.

Even with the Grangenovlan winning margin of fourteen points,
nobody will be writing Confey off and those four smacks
off the woodwork, could, with a little luck, have easily
given the score a very different appearance. Grangenovlan
won’t be counting chickens (or medals) just yet.

Scorers: Grangenovlan Yvonne Murphy 0-5 (0-3 frees),
Donna Berry 0-4, Brianne Leahy 1-0, Naomi Treacy 1-0, Nicola
Cunningham 0-2 (0-1 free), Catherine Bradley 0-1, Denise
Brophy 0-1, Kate Leahy 0-1, Julie Cunningham 0-1
Scorers: Confey Grainne Heduan 0-3 (frees), Lorna
Whitson 0-2, Sinead Dowd 0-1 Deirdre Gately 0-1

Teams Grangenovlan 1 Carol Keogh 2 Emma Quinn 3 Ann
Hughes 4 Carol Cullen 5 Jamie Curtis 6 Kate Leahy 0-1 7
Lorraine Doyle 8 Brianne Leahy 1-0 9 Julie Cunningham 0-1
10 Donna Berry 0-4 11 Denise Brophy 0-1 12 Catherine Bradley
0-1 13 Yvonne Murphy 0-5 14 Naomi Treacy 1-0 15 Nicola Cunningham
Subs Played Joanne Cullen for C. Bradley(49 mins)
Ciara Tallon for C. Cullen(50 mins) Orla Brennan for D.
Berry(57 mins) Sylvia Murphy for Y. Murphy(57 mins) Yvonne
Brennan for J. Cunningham(59 mins)

Confey: 1 Ellen O’Connor 2 Mary Sweeney 3 Therese
Martin 4 Tara Burke 5 Caroline Glennon 6 Siobhan Glennon
7 Deirdre Sweeney 8 Emma McCartney 9 Grainne Heduan 0-3
10 Deirdre Gately 0-1 11 Mary Corscadden 12 Aisling Jennings
13 Lorna Whitson 0-2 14 Catriona Kiernan 15 Sinead Dowd
Subs Used Ciara Gately for C. Kiernan(31 mins) Aine
Foley for T. Burke(46 mins) Wendy Leavy for M. Sweeney(56
mins) Referee: Tony Clarke

Report By: Tom Ryan

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