The Kilkenny ladies Gaelic under-16 footballers made a winning start to their Leinster championship, beating neighbours Carlow in a high-scoring clash in Tinryland at the weekend
The weather may have been cold, but the action was white-hot as the Kilkenny under-16 ladies Gaelic footballers edged past neighbours Carlow in an enthralling Roinn C tie in Tinryland.
With 11 goals in total between them, two sin bins for Carlow and a scoreline which was all square with minutes to go this was a match that had the spectators forgetting about the baltic conditions and kept them transfixed on every play right up until referee Gearóid McGrath blew the final whistle.
Carlow were first on the scoreboard with a point after only one minute of play, but Louisa Gilmore of Dunnamaggin responded with a great point from play. Freetaker Gilmore would go on to rack up a tally of 2-4 throughout the game, with one goal from play and a well taken penalty shot.
With a point apiece it was Carlow who claimed the next point to once again take the lead. However it didn’t last for long as Muckalee’s Shona Ruane replied, kicking a powerful goal to put Kilkenny in the lead for the first time in the match 10 minutes in.
The next 15 minutes saw the two sides battle hard, each team taking fine points. Kilkenny’s net was rattled twice by the Carlow offence while two goals from Gilmore and one from Callan’s Rachel Phelan kept Kilkenny to the fore.
Some forceful defending from Carlow with just minutes to go before the break saw two players face the sin bin. This gave Kilkenny an advantage they didn’t pass up on; the Cats led by two scores at half-time and faced into a third quarter knowing they would go up against a depleted Carlow side for the bulk of 10 minutes.
The third quarter was all about the defence for Carlow as they swarmed their goal area in a bid to make up for being two players light. Their plan to limit the damage caused worked to an extent; despite an onslaught of attacks from Kilkenny they only managed three scores in this third quarter. At the second water break Kilkenny led by seven points, but Carlow were back to full strength.
Carlow came out on fire after the second water break - it was clear their tactics had changed from defence to attack as they scored two goals and a point within five minutes with no reply from Kilkenny, levelling the game.
Bláithin Holden was the sixth goal heroine for Kilkenny with seven minutes to go, helping her side to reclaim the lead once again.
However, the advantage was short lived as Carlow found the Kilkenny net and with minutes to go. Once more it all square - it was anybody’s game.
Despite the pressure Kilkenny managed to keep their composure for these final crucial minutes. Gilmore kept her cool too, scoring two points that saw Kilkenny finish winners by two points at the final whistle.
On a night where the team excelled, Kilkenny’s Pia Langton (Clara) and Aoife Shealy (Kilkenny City) put in noteworthy performances in midfield and the back line respectively. Rachel Phelan and Shona Ruane were also deserving of special mentions in the forwards for their stellar efforts.
Well done to all the panel and management team of Conor Gorey, Regina Moran, Martin Patterson and John Gorey on a deserving win. Next up for this squad is Offaly in round two on March 19.
Kilkenny Under-16 panel - Ellie Moran (Dunnamaggin), Aoife Shealy (Kilkenny City), Ava O’Grady (Kilkenny City), Tara Roche (Muckalee), Emily Smith (Kilkenny City), Róisín McElwee (Thomastown), Pia Langton (Clara), Shona Ruane (Muckalee), Lucy Boyd (Clara), Rachel Phelan (John Lockes), Millie Gilsenan (Kilkenny City), Louisa Gilmore (Dunnamaggin), Sinéad Carroll (Kilkenny City), Bláithín Holden (Dunnamaggin), Róisín Menton (Muckalee), Aoife Healy (Dunnamaggin), Ava O’Neill (Dunnamaggin), Ava Kennedy (Thomastown), Joanne Comerford (Muckalee), Emma Clancy (Muckalee), Caoimhe Dunne (Railyard), Katie Grace (Dunnamaggin), Leanne Paterson (Muckalee), Cara Duggan (Kilkenny City), Sophie Long (Piltown), Mia O’Connell (Dunnamaggin), Angela Carroll (Kilkenny City)
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