Paddy's Ladies reach new heights

Ladies TG4 All Ireland Senior Championship Qualifier Round 2

Paddy’s Ladies reach new heights

Sligo 3 – 9 Kildare 2 – 8

Martin Seery (St Loman’s Park, Mullingar)

In the beginning their was 16 – 4 from the West – counties that could claim the Brendan Martin Cup, before a ball was kicked it was down to 15 as Lovely Leitrim bit the dust. At teatime on Saturday evening last it was down to 8 with rights to the title. One of those still happens to be the Yeats County of Sligo, this following this 4 point victory over Kildare on Saturday afternoon last in St Loman’s Park, Mullingar.
Back in 2004 the Lily Whites defeated Sligo to claim the All Ireland Junior Title, so it’s fair to say the Yeats County have been waiting 4 years to gain their revenge. Since then the Counties locked horns twice in the NFL with Kildare also claiming the spoils. On this occasion they were however to play second fiddle as Sligo set about their task in hand.
Only once did Kildare lead, that for a grim 30 seconds from the 8th minute, the sides were level on three occasions but once Noelle Gormley crashed the ball to the net in the 22nd minute, Kildare were to get no closer than 3 points of the winners. That Gormley goal arrived following a move that involved midfield pair Bernice Byrne & Sinead Mc Tiernan, Stephanie O’Reilly, Elicia Codd & Therese Marren ended up with the St Nathy’s player applying the appropriate finish.
The opening exchanges were fairly even as points from Gormley, Marren and Louise Brett had the winners three on the scoreboard by the 14th minute. A brace from Elaine Dillon and one from Simone Gilabert had Kildare likewise by the 15th minute. From there on things were to change a little, ironically prior to the arrival of the Gormley goal both sides had chances of goals. Firstly Louise Brett cracked a thunder rocket of the crossbar and from the resulting clearance Katrina Connolly provided a timely reminder just why she is one of the best goalkeepers in the Country with a super save.
From the time of the Gormley goal until the break, Sligo would out score Kildare by 4 point to one with all the Winners scores coming from the boot of the goal scorer with Gillian Behan providing the losers score. Seven minutes into the second half and even a monkey that would have escaped from the zoo for the afternoon would have wanted to make his escape from this encounter as the winners coasted into a twelve point lead at 3 – 8 to 0 – 5. Early in that second half points were exchanged by Therese Marren and Brianne Leahy. This was soon followed by a double goal blast from the winners as first Siobhan O’Sullivan and then Elicia Codd both found the net. A stroke of luck may have been the order of the day with regards to O’Sullivan’s goal as the keeper made a hash of her point effort that dipped but Codd’s goal was of the training ground theory. After a number of passes involving almost half their team Therese Marren sent in a cross with Codd drifting away from her marker and in behind the Kildare cover pushing the ball to the net with the keeper stranded.
The winners appeared to go out of the game after this and a full 23 minutes would pass before their next score would arrive but how important the score would be to ease Sligo nerves as the game ticked into injury time or the seconds counted down. In between Kildare chipped away at the Sligo lead until they reached three down when O’Sullivan broke their hearts.
Elaine Dillon set the fire in motion when converting in the 10th minute. Noelle Earley proved to be a chip of the old block as she powered through from midfield to find the net in the 12th. A full 10 minutes were to pass before the next score would arrive, once again to Kildare, again a major this time from Elaine Dillon as she powered a free kick to the net despite a crowded Sligo goalmouth. It was a free had Sligo watched themselves should never have been awarded. A Kildare forward shot went wide from distance but as she kicked the ball she was fouled by Sligo with the free been awarded on the 20 meter line.
Dillon and Simone Gilabert added points to narrow the gap back to a single score by the 29th minute, thus setting up a classic finish that was until Siobhan O’Sullivan came to Sligo’s rescue with that late final. For Sligo its Monaghan next up on Saturday next in the Quarter Finals, as for Kildare their race is run for another year.
Scorers Sligo: Noelle Gormley 1 – 5, Siobhan O’Sullivan 1 – 1, Elicia Codd 1 – 0, Therese Marren 0 – 2, Louise Brett 0 – 1.
Scorers Kildare: Elaine Dillon 1 – 4, Noelle Earley 1 – 0, Simone Gilabert 0 – 2, Gillian Behan 0 – 1, Brianne Leahy 0 – 1.
Sligo: Katrina Connolly, Martina Keane, Grainne O’Gara, Ruth Goodwin, Tracey O’Hara, Angela Doohan, Fiona Maye, Bernice Byrne, Sinead Mc Tiernan, Siobhan O’Sullivan, Noelle Gormley, Stephanie O’Reilly, Louise Brett, Therese Marren, Elicia Codd. Subs used: Louise Smith for S McTiernan, Siobhan Melvin for E Codd, Ciara Doyle for T Marren, Karen Lily for S O’Sullivan.
Kildare: Catrina Dolan, Donna Berry, Melissa O’Brien, Aileen Duffy, Brianne Leahy, Kate Leahy, Louise Keatley, Noelle Earley, Elaine Dillon, Hazel Mulligan, Stacey Cannon, Gillian Behan, Aodhin McBride, Simone Gilabert, Lisa Higgins. Sub used: Dervla Duffy for A McBride.
Referee: Keith Delahunty (Tipperary)
Player of the Match: On a day when Sligo had a number of stars from Goalkeeper Katrina Connolly out, it was difficult to single one out but on the Day wingback Ruth Goodwin put in an hour of running, blocking, setting up attacks, breaking up attacks and going on one twos and deservingly the player of the Match. Kildare too had their stars most notably their midfield duo of Noelle Early and Elaine Dillon but Goodwin deserves her moment to savor.

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