Ward sisters with the goals as Kilkerrin/Clonberne retain their Connacht title


Kilkerrin/Clonberne (Galway) 3-21

Kilbride (Roscommon) 1-6

By Ivan Smyth

Louise and Nicola Ward struck 3-3 between them as Kilkerrin/Clonberne claimed back-to-back Connacht Senior Club titles with a convincing victory over Kilbride in Enfield.

Kilbride suffered a 40-point defeat when these sides met in last year’s provincial semi-final and they decided to adopt a defensive approach this time round. However, Kilkerrin/Clonberne hit the opening five points of the game, while Lousie Ward’s goal after 15 minutes eased the pressure on the defending champions.

Annette Clarke, Claire Dunleavy, Olivia Divilly, Nicola Ward and Chloe Miskell scored those early points for the Galway champions, before Kilbride responded with a Siobhan Tully point after Eilish Fannon saw her goal effort saved by Lisa Murphy.

That score could have settled the Roscommon side, but instead Kilkerrin/ Clonberne responded immediately when Louise Ward burst through the Kilbride defence before finishing to the net.

The sides then exchanged scores but Nicola Ward latched on to an Olivia Divilly pass to score Kilkerrin/Clonberne’s second goal. The seven in a row Galway champions struck the final three points of the half through and they led by 2-11 to 0-2 at half-time.

Kilbride brought on youngster Aisling Hanley at half-time and she struck the opening score of the half but Kilkerrin/Clonberne responded with points from Louise Ward, Ailish Morrissey and Clarke. Fannon responded for Kilbride as they continued to battle hard despite the deficit.

Olivia Divilly punished any ill-discipline in the Kilbirde defence with her accurate free-taking and she moved Kilkerrin/Clonberne 2-15 to 0-4 ahead after 39 minutes.

Kilbride earned themselves a penalty in the 44th minute but Aisling Hanley’s effort was saved by Lisa Murphy. However, as Taylor sought to gather the rebound, she was dragged down in the square and Kilbride were awarded a second penalty. This time 15-year-old Hanley made no mistake.

Kilkerrin/Clonberne hit back with six of the net seven scores before Nicola Ward added her second goal to seal a 21-point victory and an All-Ireland semi-final place for Kilkerrin/Clonberne.

Scorers – Kilkerrin/Clonberne: N Ward 2-1, O Divilly 0-6 (6f), A Morrissey 0-5, L Ward 1-1, C Miskell 0-2, A Clarke 0-2, L Noone 0-1, C Boyle 0-1, C Dunleavy 0-1, S Divilly 0-1.

Kilbride: A Hanley 1-3 (1-0 pen), T Taylor 0-1 (1f), E Fannon 0-1, C Dunleavy 0-1.

Kilkerrin/Clonberne: L Murphy; S Gormally; A Costello; S Fahy; C Dunleavy; N Ward; H Noone; S Divilly; L Ward; L Noone; O Divilly; C Miskell; E Noone; A Clarke; A Morrissey. Subs: K Mee for Fahy (35); C Boyle for E Noone (35); C Costello for Gormally (40); S Fahy for L Noone (40); C Boyle for H Noone (50).

Kilbride: A Gavigan; C Taylor; Y Creighton; M Lohan; A Feeley; R Mullaney; A  Kelly; A Kelly; N Shanagher; E Fannon; C Gormley; B O’ Beirne; S Clabby; T Taylor; S Tully. Subs: L Connor for Gavigan (half-time), A Hanley for Clabby (half time); F Tully for Lohan (half time); M Tully for Gormley (50); A Tully for Feeley (53).

Referee: Mel Kenny (Mayo).

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