FOUR WINS in a row has left the Kilkenny under-14 ladies Gaelic footballers sitting proudly at the top of the Division Two table.
The Kittens maintained their 100% record when they got the better of a fancied Wexford side on Saturday. They had to endure a shaky start, but once Eoin Hennessy’s charges showed their claws they made light work of the purple and gold challenge.
The Model County started well with two points in the opening minutes before Ciara Delaney (free) replied for Kilkenny. The visitors put Kilkenny under severe pressure, but some fine defending by Andi Snyder, Neasa Galwey and Shauna Valentine kept Wexford’s threat at bay.
Although Wexford stretched the lead with four points on the trot but Nicole Carter and Hannah Scott kept Kilkenny in the hunt, before Aoife Doyle rattled the Wexford net from close range to leave just a single point between the sides at half-time (0-7 to 1-3).
Kilkenny hit the ground running in the second half, Ciara Delaney converting two frees to push the hosts into the lead by the 40th minute. With Niamh Deely and Blathnaid Galwey pulling the strings at midfield Kilkenny began to dominate, moving even further in front after Kate Drennan punched a loose ball to the net to make it a six-point game (2-7 to 0-7).
The hosts continued to turn the screw, with Hannah Scott, Ciara Delaney (2) and Aoife Doyle capping superb performances with points to make it a 2-10 to 0-8 game. Wexford did grab a consolation goal, but there was no denying Kilkenny a deserved win.
Victory leaves Kilkenny firmly at the top of Division 2 with one game left to play against Offaly. They are guaranteed a spot in the Division 2A final, but are now in a position to play a semi-final against the bottom-placed team in Division 1 and have a chance to contest the Division 1C final, from which the winners will progress to the All-Ireland series.
Kilkenny under-14: Laura Tynan, Andi Snyder, Neasa Galwey, Shauna Valentine, Eadaoin Murphy, Aobha O’Gorman, Emily McCarthy, Niamh Deely, Bláthnaid Galway, Ciara Delaney, Jennifer O’Keeffe, Hannah Scott, Aoife Doyle, Kate Drennan, Nicole Carter. Subs (used:) Beth Behan, Saoirse Comerford-Liston, Lucy Power, Jane Cass, Laoise Prendiville (unused:) Rebecca Roche, Sinead Fitzpatrick, Kate Dempsey, Eva Hynes, Hannah Kelly, Rachel Kelly, Holly Smith, Lizzie Buckley, Emma Nolan, Danielle Morrissey, Rebecca Nevin, Roisin Allen.
Kilkenny’s under-16s made a great start to their Leinster campaign with wins over Longford, Carlow and Louth, but were no match for table toppers Westmeath at Moate on Saturday. A three-goal blitz put Westmeath in command in the opening half and, despite a brave fight back by the Cats, the hosts recorded a 3-14 to 2-5 win.
Kilkenny face an equally tough battle in Wicklow in a fortnight’s time, but a win would see them finish second and earn the chance to contest a semi final against Division One opposition.
Regardless of the Wicklow result Kilkenny have already secured a place in the Division 2B final against Longford or Louth. Having beaten both sides already they can look forward to the final with confidence.
Kilkenny under-16: Niamh Sheehy, Frances Farrell, Enya Foley, Caitlin Skehan, Ellie Barcoe, Jane Walker, Brianna Mallon, Aoife Cantwell, Michelle Teehan, Aoife Naddy, Lucy Teehan, Ria Lawson, Megan Walsh, Ruby Harvey, Ciara Cody, Becky Walsh, Aine Murphy, Lauren Dermody, Laura Walsh, Jenny O’Keeffe, Ally O’Keeffe, Anita Brennan, Lauren Valentine, Sophie Dwyer, Ailis O’Shea.
Seven clubs will contest this year’s under-14 Feile county finals, which will be held in Thomastown on April 21. Kilkenny City, Thomastown, Piltown, Barrow Gaels, Muckalee, Freshford and Castlecomer will battle it out for the right to represent the county at the national finals, which will be held in Derry in June.
The city side will start as favourites - they claimed last year’s Division Three national title and are backboned by many of the current county side. However, they will face tough opposition from Thomastown, who will be keen to make their sixth trip to Feile and add to their All-Ireland success of 2009.
The action gets underway at 10am.
Clara GAA club will host the latest Gaelic4Girls programme from April 18. The eight-week programme, is aimed at encouraging girls aged between 9 and 13 who are not registered with a club to take up the game. The initiative was a huge success in Graignamanagh and Castlecomer last year and saw the founding of the Barrow Gaels and Erin’s Own girls’ football clubs.
The Gaelic4Girls programme, which is a great way to make new friends and learn a new sport, will run every Thursday for eight weeks and will be followed by a mini blitz in Leinster.
Further information on the programme, which costs E8, is available from Caitriona Corr, tel 086-1724044.