[caption id="attachment_71226" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Sligo's Cathal Brennan in the county's recent clash with Roscommon. "][/caption]
The Ladies served up a very entertaining and competitive game at Gaelic Park on Saturday evening. There was some drama at the final whistle as the general consensus was that the game was a draw. Indeed the subdued responses by both teams would seem to reinforce that
conclusion. However the referee's tally had Kerry/ Donegal winning by a point, much to the delight of the eventual victors and the disappointment of the losers.
The press and the scoreboard also had it as a draw. However upon reflection it was determined that the referee had the correct score and the perceived discrepancy resulted from the umpire failing to give clear signaling, in fact there was no signal about a particular shot whether it was wide or a score. The referee was in a good position to award the point, but he was the only one aware that it was a score. It definitely would have behooved him to stop the game and correct the score board. However it was unfortunate that the score board remained in error in such a close game, especially for the players and their mentors.
Meanwhile. Fermanagh were first to raise a flag as a good run by Saoirse Finnegan set up Loretta Cunningham for a score. They were looking impressive early on as Johanna Levine, Meabh Redmond and Cunningham were running strongly at the Kerry/Donegal rearguard, but they failed to capitalize fully on their opportunities.
Kelly Roche finally got Kerry/ Donegal motoring with a fine long range effort. Indeed the industrious midfielder was the perfect link player as she set up chances as well as hitting the target frequently herself. They now had the momentum as veteran Denise Dunnion pounced on a wayward clearance to blast over but it could also have been a major score.
The post denied the combo outfit another score but Roche landed another fine effort from distance. However Fermanagh were soon back in front as Redmond was grounded in the penalty area with Cunningham blasting the spot kick to the net. A few former GAA stalwarts questioned the legitimacy of the score as the taker had buried the rebound from the crossbar.
Ah they were just displaying their vintage more rather than their knowledge of the rules of Gaelic football. Even those from the Kingdom nation have to stay up to date. Kerry/Donegal responded with a point and stepped up their performance markedly for the remainder of the half as Michelle McVann and Kelly Roche held sway in the middle and Jennifer Moran and Amanda McGovern made telling runs from the back. With a goal from
Niamh Britton, Kerry/Donegal looked to be heading in with a lead at the break but Fermanagh's Caitlin McGuigan blasted in a goal, after the first attempt was well saved by keeper Power to level the game on the cusp of the short whistle.
Fermanagh started impressively on the resumption adding two quick points, courtesy of a free from Levine after she was fouled and the
other from Redmond, but for the next quarter Kerry/Donegal dictated matters as they appeared much fitter and their support play was more effective. With goals, one from Britton and the other from Dunnion, plus a trio of points, the combo were ahead by seven with ten minutes left.
Fermanagh then struck back with a vengeance as they pinned Kerry/Donegal back in their own half and produced their best and most productive period. Saoirse Finnegan began the comeback rally with a powerful shot to the corner of the net. Soon alarm bells were ringing in the Kerry/
Donegal defense as the ever dangerous Cunningham and the reenergized Finnegan hit a brace.
Levine went goal poaching but a goal bound shot was well blocked on the line. A minute later Levine appeared to be the savior as she worked her way in from the wing to land a fine score and apparently tie the game. As time ticked away Fermanagh thought that they had at least a share
of the spoils, but the harsh reality was that they were still a point adrift in the referee's jotter. It certainly was an exhilarating finish, but better communication among all involved would eliminate the unnecessary agitation and aggravation at the end. Overall Kerry/Donegal just about
deserved the victory as they were more consistent over the hour.
Kerry/Donegal: Maeve Power, Aoife Gibson, Louise Lilly, Kerilyn O'Keefe, Noelle Brophy, Jennifer Moran, Amanda McGovern, Michelle McVann, Kellie Roche(0-3), Anita McKenna, Niamh Britton(2-0), Claire McCourt(0-2), Denise Dunnion(1-3), Michelle Dowd, Janette Dalton .Subs .Ciara Healy, Maebh McDaid, Sinead Leavy, Lauren McMahon, Shannon Walsh.
Fermanagh: Asling Clarke, June Martin, Annemarie Kelly, Dearbhla Crowe, Kerry McGinley, Tracey Ann McCullough, Katie Power, Roisin Toner, Caitlin Slattery, Maebh Redmond(0-2), Johanna Levine(0-2), Saoirse Finnegan(1-1), Loretta Cunningham(1-2), Caitlin McGuigan(1-0), Andrea McGlade. Subs. Claire McElroy, Donna Traynor, Marie Dunleavy, L Mulhern, S Meaney, A Fitzpatrick, C O'Reilly. Referee Dean O'Connor, Player of the Match
NEW YORK PREPARATIONS
With just less than less than two weeks to the Connacht championship game against Sligo, word from the Big Apple camp is that preparations are going well. Competitive challenges matches have always being an issue with preparing a team. To date the New York squad has played various combinations of club teams in an effort to see how the team is progressing. They looked impressive in recent games against Cavan and Cork, especially their fitness levels. There have been some new additions to the panel, which will help offset the unavailability of a number of regular New York players. The panel gets a good boost from the Kildare trio, namely Sean Kinahan, Eoghan Carew and Mike Kennedy. In addition the former
Limerick forward Eoin Hogan and the return of Paddy Smith will add a bit more bit to the attack.
A number of players form the successful New York collegiate team, particularly CJ Molloy, Donnacha O'Dwyer and the Hogan brothers, Conor and Shane, will be in serious contention for positions. Evidently the clash with Sligo will be a daunting task for the New York squad, but the
manager Connie Molloy and trainer Mickey Coleman and the rest of the backroom team have stuck diligently to the task.