Strong Kilkenny drive on into the Leinster semi-finals

By T.J. Mills sport@kilkennypeople.ie @KKPeopleSport

Noelle Maher was the star of the show and helped herself to 2-2 as Kilkenny advanced in the Leinster intermediate camogie championship.

The team began the defence of the provincial title in fine style with a good victory over Westmeath in Cusack Park Mullingar on Sunday.

The Cats are through to the semi-finals against opponents as yet unknown.

Westmeath began the game brightly and opened the scoring in the fourth minute with a point from a free by Dinah Loughlin.

Aine Fahey responded for Kilkenny with a well taken point from 20 metres in the sixth minute.

Katie Heffernan replied to put Westmeath in the lead again with a point from 35 metres in the 10th minute.

Aine Fahey then got in for Kilkenny’s first goal in the 11th minute when she latched on to a Catherine Walsh pass before tapping the sliotar home from 14 metres.

Noelle Maher continued Kilkenny’s good run with a point after latching on to an Angela Kenneally pass in the 17th minute.

Dinah Loughlin responded for Westmeath with a brilliantly taken long range free from 60 metres (1-2 to 0-3).

Kilkenny hit back brilliantly. They grabbed their second goal when Noelle Maher raced on to a Catherine Walsh pass before blasting home from 20 metres.

Westmeath hit back

Aoife Doherty responded for Westmeath with a well taken point from 21 metres in the 27th minute.

Keeva Fennelly closed out the first half scoring with a point from a free from 30 metres in the first minute of injury time to see her side lead at the interval by 2-3 to 0-4.

The Kilkenny management team would have been pleased with the way the team dealt with the early Westmeath onslaught, when they caused headaches for the defence.

The Cats bounced back and the five point lead at the break was the result of some good team play.

The winners began the new half brilliantly. They burst through for their third goal when Aine Fahey latched on to a breaking ball at the edge of the small square.

She powered on and kicked the sliotar home in the 33rd minute.

Mairead McCormack responded for Westmeath with a well taken point from 45 metres in the 35th minute.

Catherine Walsh then pointed for the victors, a well taken effort from 21 metres in the 39th minute.

Greville replied

Pamela Greville replied for Westmeath with a pointed free from 45 metres to narrow the gap to seven points, 3-4 to 0-6.

Unfortunately for the Lake County, that was as good as it got for them in the second half.

Kilkenny simply powered on. They hit back with 2-4 on the spin.

Keeva Fennelly started the run with a well taken point from a free from 45 meters.

Noelle Maher put the game to bed in the 46th minute when she got in for her second and Kilkenny’s fourth goal. She raced on to a breaking ball before blasting home from 21 metres.

Jenny Clifford continued the good Kilkenny run with a point from 21 metres in the 48th minute.

She followed this up with Kilkenny’s fifth goal a minute later. She gathered a breaking ball 21 meters from goal before rifling home the sliotar.

Two frees

Keeva Fennelly then tapped over two frees. The first was an excellent long range free from 60 metres in the 54th minute.

She then added a further free from 40 metres in the 56th minute after Roisin Breen was fouled to make it 5-8 to 0-6.

Great credit must be given to Westmeath. They kept plugging away and hit back for a Katie Heffernan point in the 57th minute.

It was Kilkenny’s day, however. They closed out the scoring by shooting 1-1 on the spin.

Noelle Maher started the run with an excellent point from 50 metres in the 58th minute.

Angela Kenneally rounded off a good afternoon with there sixth goal of the contest in the first minute of injury time. She gathered up a breaking ball on the 20 metre line before shooting home to see Kilkenny through to the Leinster semi-finals.

Kilkenny must wait until next weekend to see who they play in the semis. Their opponents will be either Carlow or Laois who drew (Carlow 2-10 Laois 1-13 after extra time) in the other quarter-final.

The replay is fixed for Camross in Laois at 7.30pm this evening.

SCORERS: Kilkenny - Noelle Maher (2-2); Aine Fahey (2-1); Keeva Fennelly (0-4, frees); Jenny Clifford (1-1); Angela Kenneally (1-0); Catherine Walsh (0-1). Westmeath - Dinah Loughlin (0-2, frees); Katie Heffernan (0-2); Aoife Doherty, Mairead McCormack, Pamela Greville (0-1 each).

Kilkenny - Kirsty Maher, Katie Nolan, Jennifer Norris, Miriam Bambrick, Niamh Leahy, Eilish Regan, Edel Frisby, Keeva Fennelly, Edel Coonan, Marguerite Hoynes, Catherine Walsh, Angela Kenneally, Noelle Maher, Aine Fahey (capt), Jenny Clifford.

Sub - Roisin Breen, Jenny Clifford. Lydia Phelan, Sabrina Walsh, Eimear Corr, Aisling O Farrell, Laura Greene, Niamh Bambrick, Megan Walsh, Ciara Holden, Sarah Walsh, Roisin Phelan, Ciara Phelan.

Westmeath - Fiona Keating, Sarah King, Edel McCormack, Katie Egan, Fiona Leavy, Aoife Higgins, Muireann Scally, Caoimhe McCrossan, Joanne McCormack, Mairead McCormack, Dinah Loughlin, Pamela Greville (capt), Aoife Corcoran, Denise McGrath, Katie Heffernan.

Subs - Kelly Dobson, Aisling Egerton, Louise O’Connor, Roisin Scally, Jade McKeogh, Aoife Doherty, Karen Gaffney, Orla Lynch, Niamh Horan, Aoife Boyle, Aisling Boyhan, Rebecca Croash, Rachael Maloney, Olivia Kelleghan, Julie McLoughlin, Ciara Corcoran.

Referee - Peter Dowd (Meath).