THE Kilkenny under-14 girls made it two wins from two in the Leinster football championship when they demolished Carlow on Saturday.
After a hard-fought victory over Longford in round one the Kittens made light of their Carlow’s challenge by giving an exhibition of shooting as they romped to a 3-11 to 0-1 win at Carlow Town GAA grounds.
Although Carlow opened the scoring with a well-taken point a brace of minor scores from Ciara Delaney and Nicole Carter, either side of a cracking Kate Drennan goal, left Kilkenny with a 1-4 to 0-1 lead at the end of the first half.
Carlow had some good attacks but a solid back line marshalled by Neasa Galwey and Aobha O’Gorman dealt with any threat posed while newcomers to the county scene, Andi Snyder and Lucy Power, played like seasoned campaigners. Goalkeeper Laura Tynan dealt with anything that came her way. Her kick-outs to the half-back line were the launchpad of most attacks where Emily McCarthy and Shauna Valentine raided up the wings. Blathnaid Galwey and Saoirse Comerford Liston controlled matters from midfield, Galwey powering through the centre with ease.
Kilkenny upped the tempo in the second half, their forwards giving a fine display of point scoring. Rebecca Nevin and Jennifer O’Keeffe added points after the break before full-forward Kate Drennan made it 1-7 to 0-1 midway through the half.
Jennifer O’Keeffe and Aoife Doyle tacked on more points but Kilkenny were not finished yet. Hannah Scott’s speed and skill helped pick out Nicole Carter close to goal. The Gowran girl showed her attacking instincts when she flicked the ball on in mid-air for Kilkenny’s second goal of the day.
Substitute Doyle kept the scoring run going when she grabbed her second point, then weaved her way through the Carlow defence for a superb individual goal with just five minutes left.
Hannah Kelly displayed the strength and depth of the panel when she rounded off the scoring with a superb point to see Kilkenny claim a well-deserved 3-11 to 0-01 win.
Kilkenny’s mix of experienced players and newcomers will be put to the test when they go on the road to play Louth on Easter Monday, a game which will be followed by the visit of Wexford and a tough away game with Offaly.
Kilkenny under-14s - Laura Tynan, Lucy Power, Neasa Galwey, Andi Snyder, Emily McCarthy, Aobha O’Gorman, Shauna Valentine, Blathnaid Galway, Saoirse Comerford-Liston, Hannah Scott, Jennifer O’Keeffe (0-2), Ciara Delaney (0-2), Rebecca Nevin (0-1), Kate Drennan (1-1), Nicole Carter (1-2), Aoife Doyle (1-2), Rebecca Roche, Beth Behan, Emma Nolan, Laoise Prendiville, Hannah Kelly (0-1), Rachel Kelly, Jane Cass, Sinead Fitzpatrick, Roisin Allen, Eva Hynes, Lizzie Buckley, Kate Dempsey, Eadaoin Murphy.
Owing to the schools All-Ireland camogie final, the Kilkenny under-16 team’s Leinster championship game against Carlow was postponed at the weekend. The girls will now take on their neighbours this Saturday, when they too will be hoping to add to their victory over Longford in round one.
After that game Kilkenny will travel to Louth on Good Friday, a match which will be followed by outings to Westmeath and Wicklow.
Despite outstanding performances by Michaela Reilly, Jennifer Norris, Aine Gannon and Sinead Whelan, a young new-look minor squad were no match for a powerful Westmeath in the opening game of their Leinster championship, which was played in Moate.
The minors face Carlow next week before playing host to Louth on Easter Monday. A win in either fixture will put Kilkenny into a play-off or book a semi-final berth.
Kilkenny minors - Michaela Reilly (Mullinahone), Aisling Foley (Mullinahone), Jennifer Norris (Piltown), Ellie Barcoe (Thomastown), Lauren Dermody (Castlecomer), Aine Gannon (Thomastown), Maeve O’Connor (Thomastown), Sinead Whelan (Thomastown), Emer Fitzpatrick (Thomastown), Lucy Teehan (James Stephens), Jessie Carroll (Thomastown), Eibhlin Walsh (Freshford), Lena Butler (Mullinahone), Katelyn Phelan (Piltown), Becky Leahy (James Stephens), Claire Manning (Muckalee), Laura Walsh (Castlecomer, Enya Foley (Thomastown).