BY NIALL SHERRY
Stripey women defeated in home clash with Galway
Very Camogie League
UPMC Nowlan Park
It’s back to the drawing board for our senior camog’s after they fell to their second successive defeat in division 1A of the Very Camogie League at UPMC Nowlan Park. On this occasion it was the visitors from Galway that took the points as Brian Dowling’s panel failed to recover from the surprise opening round defeat to Clare a week earlier.
There were a number of changes to the Kilkenny side ahead of throw-in, with All-Star and Player of the Year Miriam Walsh arriving at the ground on crutches. Walsh was replaced by Dicksoro’s Asha McHardy, while Laura Murphy started ahead of Sophie O’Dwyer. Goalkeeper Aoife Norris had a watching brief as Rower Inistioge’s Emma Kavanagh was in between the sticks. The final change was Ciara O’Keefe starting in place of James Stephens Michelle Teehan.
The visitors took the lead within the first minute of the play, thanks to a fine point from Ailish O’Reilly. Cathal Murray’s charges doubled the lead soon after thanks to a point from Carrie Dolan. The home side got off the mark in the 6th minute with a fine effort from Julianne Malone. The first placed ball converted on the day came from Carrie Dolan on eight minutes.
Mullinavat’s Malone got her second point of the game with a lovely effort from out on the left. The Tribeswomen then hit three on the bounce, with points from Carrie Dolan (2) and one from midfielder Aoife Donohoe to leave the visitors 4 points ahead halfway through the opening period.
Windgap’s Denise Gaule then struck over a lovely point, but Galway responded with one of their own from Aine Keane. Brian Dowling’s side then asserted their authority between the 21st and 30th minutes, with four home scores courtesy of Asha McHardy, Gaule, Michaela Kenneally and Katie Power and one from the westerners Sabina Rabbitte to leave the home side just one point behind. The final two scores of the opening period came from Cathal Murray’s team, via the impressive Ailish O’Reilly and the accurate Carrie Dolan. When ref Any Larkin sounded the short whistle, Kilkenny were trailing their opponents 0-7 to 0-10.
As the teams took to the pitch for the second half, the Stripey women would have been hoping for a fast start, but the exact opposite happened. From the throw-in Galway went on the attack. Kilkenny initially dealt with the attack, but the visitors recycled the ball well and a surging run from Aoife Donohue saw the sliotar rifled to the net by Ailish O’Reilly.
A response was needed, and Denise Gaule slotted over a placed ball to try and settle her team. Dicksboro’s Asha McHardy popped over a fine point before Carrie Dolan replied with a free of her own to give Galway a five-point lead. Two points on the bounce from Dicksboro players got the Cats back into, a well struck point from corner forward Jenny Clifford followed by another score for Miriam Walsh’s replacement, Asha McHardy.
Denise Gaule struck another free before what the home side thought would be a defining score came with 14 minutes of the second half played. Steffi Fitzgerald emerged from a ruck and passed to Niamh Deely who surged through the centre of the park before finding Jenny Clifford. The nippy forward beat her marker before had passing to Juliann Malone who made no mistake in firing past Galway keeper, Fiona Ryan. The Noresiders were now up by one.
Galway didn’t panic. The next four scores would come from the Tribeswomen. Three of those would come from the hurl of Carrie Dolan, who was putting on a fine display of free taking. The very impressive Ailish O’Reilly tagged on a point to turn the tie in favour of the visitors. Denise Gaule struck another to keep matters tight, but two further scores in the final few minutes of play from Niamh Hanniffy and a free from Carrie Dolan saw the visitors triumph at UPMC Nolan Park on a scoreline of Kilkenny 1-13, Galway 1-17.
>> SHERRY SAYS…
A second defeat for our senior camogs in this season’s league. Galway took the spoils at UPMC Nowlan Park last weekend, and they probably just about deserved the victory.
Kilkenny made some changes following the defeat to Clare, one enforced, with Miriam Walsh arriving at the ground on crutches. Hopefully Miriam’s injury is not serious as she brings so much to the Stripey women line-up. Dicksboro’s Asha McHardy replaced Walsh and acquitted herself quite well, taking a couple of lovely scores.
Denise Gaule was heavily involved across all areas of the pitch and delivered some quality scores as well.
With the new league format this season, it’s only the top two that go through, meaning its highly unlikely that our senior ladies will be contesting a league final this year. We just need to regroup and secure 1st division one status, then concentrate on championship preparation.
Our intermediate ladies secured a fantastic win over Galway in Clara earlier in the day. Conahy’s Danielle Morrissey in impressive form. She had good support in the shape of Slieverue’s Caroline Kennedy, Thomastown’s Therese Donnelly and O’Loughlin’s Danielle Quigley.
Next up for our seniors is a trip to the capital to take on the Dubs, while Hannah Scott will captain the intermediate side against away to Tipperary.
*Congratulations to Grace Walsh who was named Gaelic Writer’s Association Camogie Personality of the Year at a recent awards ceremony in the Iveagh Garden Hotel in Dublin.