MEATH LADIES Bord Gáis Energy National Ladies Football League

Division Two; Round 3
Kerry v Meath
20th February @ 12.0
Kilcummin G.F.C., Kerry

Half Time: Meath 0-04; Kerry 0-05
Full Time: Meath 0-08; Kerry 0-10

In weather conditions suitable for only the most hardened ducks, the Ladies Senior teams from Kerry and Meath took to the field for round 3 of the National Football League.
Both teams had a 100% record in this year’s league with Meath accounting for Waterford and Armagh and Kerry defeating Tipperary in round 1 and Cavan in round 2. For Meath this was the first real test under new management and for the majority of the contest they were in touch with Kerry. Behind by a solitary point at half time, Meath were content to pick off their
scores when they could. Missing Elaine Duffy in the forwards and Philomena Sheridan from the backs was a tough blow, but the team as a whole stood up to be counted on such a miserable day.

In the opening half Meath were made work for everything, and it was Kerry who dominated possession, putting two points on the scoreboard on the 3rd and 6th mins respectively. Ashley Leavy intercepted well for Meath on several occasions and wasn’t afraid to get stuck into the opposition. Meath chalked up their first score of the day from Fiona Mahon on 11mins and almost immediately Meath were back on level terms courtesy of a fine point from Jenny Rispin. Kerry added a third on 14mins after what looked like an illegal handpass but was allowed and could have doubled their advantage but for the quick thinking
of Royal goalkeeper Orlagh McLaughlin. Meath were unlucky not to be level once again as a swift attack built up from Geraldine Doherty, Jenny Rispin and Vivienne McCormack (making her first start in the League this season) rebounded off the post. Caitriona O’Shaughnessy (also her first start in a Meath jersey in two years) played determinedly and cleaned up the defense time and again. In the 20th min, Kerry were another point up after O’Shaughnessy fouled and the centre forward, Linda Cronin, duly pointed. On the kickout, Meath were fouled at the other end, this time Katie O’Brien just inside the 21’ and fellow
clubmate Doherty pointed with ease for her first score of the afternoon to be just one point behind the leaders.

Meath strengthened their defence further bringing on Eve Wardick for Maria Kealy in the 22nd min to mark the quick Sarah Houlihan. The game was very much end to end, with both teams battling with the elements. McLaughlin again came to Meath’s rescue as she saved a certain goal. This seemed to re-ignite the Meath team and O’Brien brought the Royals back on level terms on 28 mins. However, the Kingdom had the last say of the half to stay one ahead at the break.

In the second half, Meath dominated possession but could not break down Kerry’s rearguard. Cronin added a 6th point for the Kingdom on 35 mins and Meath seemed to get caught up in possession. Instead of seeking out the simple pass, Royals tried the over elaborate and it didn’t work. Unfortunately for the Royals they lost possession too cheaply, something trainer Dwayne McCarey will be eager to rectify in training.

Fiona Mahon added her second of the afternoon on 40 mins but this was cancelled out by Louise Galvin’s free on 41 mins. On 44 mins Meath were denied a penalty after O’Brien’s shot was foot blocked. Doherty pointed the free that was given, but the Meath supporters that were present were angered by the lack of a penalty. Eileen Rahill, heroic for Meath stopped another Kerry attack but was judged to have fouled her player and this was also pointed for Kerry on 48 mins.

Going into the last ten minutes, Meath needed to up their game. With two points behind, the game still hung on a knife edge. Meath teams of the last few years would have thrown in the towel, but there is something special about this team, and the never say die attitude is back in plentiful amounts. Meath dominated possession in the last ten mins, but just seemed to lose the cutting edge they had had in previous rounds of the league. Mahon made it a one point game on 49 mins converting a free. McLaughlin pulled off another remarkable save on 55 mins, reacting quickly to save and found O’Shaughnessy waiting to put the ball into safety. Gráinne Nulty, Doherty, Allen, and O’Brien all put in a massive effort in the last ten mins but completely against the run of play the Kingdom doubled their advantage on 57 mins. This came as a major blow to the Royals and although Fiona pointed once again on 58 mins from a further free, Kerry had just enough in the tank to pull another point out of the bag right at the death on 60 mins. It finished in Kilcummin G.F.C. with the Kingdom just scraping a win – Kerry 0-10, Meath 0-08.

On another day, with a full team and dry weather this would have been a different match. Meath’s management will be hoping to move on from this match with lots of lessons learned. As the old saying goes, one battle never won a war, and so Royal pursuit of a National League title still remains the aim of the campaign. For Meath, O’Shaughnessy marked her return to the Meath senior team with a superb performance while Aedin Murray, Ashley Leavy and Fiona Mahon also shone for Meath. With no ‘I’ in team, Meath are swiftly learning the value of teamwork and look forward to the next challenge that lays ahead of
them. Meath now have a break next weekend before they head on the road again, heading to tackle Sligo in round 4 of the league on the 6th March at a venue and time still to be confirmed.

The Meath Ladies County Board would like to congratulate Gráinne Nulty who was named as Captain of the Meath Ladies Senior team for 2011 and to Katie O’Brien and Maria Kealy who were named as joint vice-captains.

MEATH TEAM & SCORERS: Orlagh McLaughlin, Maria Kealy, Caitriona O’Shaughnessy, Aedin Murray, Orla Sheridan, Eileen Rahill, Ashley Leavy, Katie O’Brien (0-02), Shauna Bennett, Gráinne Nulty, Kellie Allen, Fiona Mahon (0-03), Geraldine Doherty
(0-02), Jenny Rispin (0-01), Vivienne McCormack. Subs: Eve Wardick for Kealy (22mins), Bridgetta Lynch for Leavy (45 mins). Irene Munnelly, Roisin Nulty, Stephanie Byrne, Shannon McDonagh, Tara Ryan, Lisa Kelly.
Kerry: E. Murphy, A. Lyons, A. Leonard, C. Kelly, D. Hallissey, A. Desmond, D. Murphy, L. Scanlon, B. Breen, C. Reen, L. Cronin, L. Galvin, S. Houlihan, D. Corridan, S. Corkery.

Referee: M.J. O’Keefe (Cork)

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