Rower Inistoige 2-9 – Kilmaley 1-5 at Nowlan Park, Kilkenny
It just turned out to be one of those days for Kilmaley on Sunday. The sort of luckless occasion that the harder you try, the more things just seem to go against you. Unfortunately, for the Clare and Munster champions, their most disappointing display of the campaign was to come in what was also arguably the biggest game of the club’s history. The long trip to Kilkenny allied to a three month gap in competitive action appeared to be major contributing factors, particularly in the opening half when Kilmaley struggled to find their previously outstanding form against the strong wintery conditions.
Aside from a superb individual display from Niamh O’Dea, Kilmaley seemed to be stuck to the ground in that first period but even at that, showed enough character early on to restrict their opponents to frees that Kilkenny senior Kelly Hamilton lapped up with unerring accuracy.
By the end of the opening quarter, four such placed balls had pushed the home side into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead, with Kilmaley’s only reply coming from a Claire McMahon 45 metre free.
However, what was to ultimately break the Blues’ spirit was the rapid concession of two goals in as many minutes, both of which could have been easily avoided. There was also a large element of fortune to the goals as well as the first stemmed from a Lizzie Lyng effort for a point from 45 metres that dropped short, and after goalkeeper Edel Griffey parried the shot, it fell perfectly for Aoife Lyng to flick to the net in the 22nd minute.
Kilmaley were still reeling when a second opportunity presented itself for the corner-forward who found herself in enough space to strike for a point which again fell short and nestled into the back of the Kilmaley net to double her goal tally.
It was a real hammer blow to Kilmaley’s chances but despite conceding another three unanswered points by the interval at 2-7 to 0-1, Kilmaley could at least point to the wind advantage to come for the second period.
The early signs of a recovery were encouraging as Kilmaley dominated possession but the aforementioned fortune that had benefitted Rower Inistioge in the opening half wasn’t so kind for the Clare champions on the turnover as they found out to their cost.
That was proven beyond doubt when Claire McMahon’s 20 metre free in the 34th minute rifled off the crossbar, Shonagh Enright’s rebound struck the post while a second effort deflected off a defender and drifted out for a ’45 that McMahon duly converted.
Kilmaley’s persistency was to pay off as they finally breached the Rower Inisitoge goal-line in the 41st minute when another McMahon free from distance broke to Emma O’Driscoll to scramble the ball over the line. However, try as they might, Kilmaley were unable to add another to really ignite their challenge.
They did pile on the pressure and added placed balls from McMahon and Denise Lynch (2) who also had a goal attempt tipped over with one of those late efforts. But without a flurry of goals, their brave challenge was to ultimately fall on stoney ground despite battling displays from O’Dea, Lynch, Katie Cahill, Enright and captain Claire McMahon.
Emma Kavanagh; Jane Cullen, Eimear Lyng, Becky Dempsey; Emma Hynes, Kelly Hamilton (0-7 6f, 1’45), Ciara Lyng; Áine Gannon, Briona Langton; Sarah O’Mahoney, Lizzie Lyng (0-1), Bridín White; Christine Lyng, Catriona Ryan (0-1), Aoife Lyng (2-0) Sub Tara Kennedy for A. Lyng (40 mins)
Edel Griffey; Lisa Kennedy, Denise Lynch (0-2 1f, 1’45), Sinead O’Halloran; Niamh Cahill, Katie Cahill, Eimear Considine; Aida Griffey, Niamh O’Dea; Shonagh Enright, Emma O’Driscoll (1-0), Helen McMahon; Aishling O’Halloran, Claire McMahon (0-3 2f, 1’45), Ailish Considine Subs Lorna Higgins for S. O’Halloran (HT), Sinead O’Keeffe for H. McMahon (HT), Aishling Darcy for N. Cahill (52 mins)
Player of the Game
Niamh O’Dea (Kilmaley)
Referee Mike O’Kelly (Cork)
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