Railyard did not have lady luck on their side when they lost out to Kiloe of Longford in what was a tough and competitive VHI Leinster club championship final. While Railyard will reflect on what could have been, if only lady luck and given an odd glance in their direction, especially in the second half.
The story of the Intermediate final unfolded in Geraldine Park, Athy, on Sunday last, and like most tales it had a start, a middle and an end, unfortunately for the Kilkenny girls it was not to have a fairy tale ending as the Longford side held out to claim the VHI Leinster Intermediate club title for 2008.
Railyard went in at the break with a four point advantage (1-6 to 1-2), and within two minutes of the restart Miriam O’Keeffe tapped over a point to widen the gap to five.
however five minutes into the second half a mix up in the Railyard defence gave the Longford side the break they had been searching for, when a Railyard defender mistakenly tipped the ball over her keeper into the back of the net, to put just two points between the sides (1-7 to 2-2).
Minutes later the Kilkenny club side lost the services of their top scorer and important play maker Marie Dargan, Dargan was sin-bined for ten minutes along with Kiloe’s number ten Sharon Treacy, and ten minutes from the end Railyard were dealt another body blow as their number eleven Catriona Corr was escorted to the sin-bin for a misdemeanour. Leaving the Railyard midfield area with out one of their most experienced players.
Kiloe took full advantage on both occasions converting two points at the end of the third quarter to draw the sides level for the first time in the game. Infact Kiloe added a total of five points, before Dargan re-entered the fray to convert Railyard final score of the game and to bring her personal tally to one goal and five point for the match.
Kiloe, who regraded from senior to Intermediate this season came into this game as the bookies favourites, however in Kilkenny the betting slips displayed only one name, that of Railyard, and the girls got off to a dream start when Catriona Corr split the posts in the fifth minute, and before Kiloe could regroup Marie Dargan raised the white flag in the sixth and seventh minute to give her side a three point opening lead.
Dargan added a goal to her tally, when referee Des McEnery awarded Railyard a penalty, Dargan despatched the ball to the right of Louise Clarke in the Kiloe goals, followed by a point minutes later.
Despite playing with a slight wind advantage Kiloe struggle to find the target in the first quarter as a number of clear cut chances were driven wide by the Kiloe forwards, Railyard keeper Noelle Curran was also called into action in the same period, pulling off a number of good saves to keep her side in the driving seat.
Curran was ably protected by her hard working full and half back line of Aisling Corrigan, April Purcell, and Jo Roche along with Noreen O’Keeffe, Grainne Daly and Aoife Dunne.
Kiloe’s response came from their Captain Elizabeth Brady in the sixteenth minute, Brady notched up two points within a minute to open Kiloe’s account, quickly followed by a goal, to pare Railyard lead back to a single point (1-3 to 1-2).
Unphased, Railyard pushed on and tagged on a further three points before referee McEnery called for the ball, with the score board at half time reading 1-6 to 1-2 in Railyard favour.
Railyard manager Martin Buggy was well aware that a four point lead counted for nothing against an experienced side like Kiloe, and the Longford club side did not disappoint as they added a goal and six points in the second half, courtesy of Orlaith Doherty, Sabrina Hackett (2), Edel Quinn, AnnMarie Bratten and Sharon Treacy, and despite Railyard best efforts they could only manage to convert two points, one apiece from Miriam O’Keeffe and Marie Dargan in the same period. For the Railyard club it was a case of, so near and yet so far as the referee signalled for full time, and while the Kiloe team celebrated their victory, the Railyard girls were very disappointed to leave the field with nothing, but disappointment is part of building a successful team and the Railyard club can be very proud of their achievement this season, and there is no doubt that they will be back in contention for trophies at the highest level again next season.
Railyard: Noelle Curran, Aisling Corrigan, Aprli Purcell, Jo Roche, Noreen O’Keeffe, Grainne daly, Aoife Dunne, Kelly Roache, Andrea Murphy, Marie Dargan (1-5 (3f), Catriona Corr (0-1), Miriam O’Keeffe (0-1), Alice Farrell, Edwina Keane (0-1), Breda Roche, Sub: Laurena Murphy for Noreen O’Keeffe.
Referee: Des McEnery (Westmeath).

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