Kilkenny v Dublin
Kilkenny 3-14 Dublin 0-8
Despite the result Dublin have reached the quarter finals of the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland championship. E xpectations of victory over Kilkenny maybe were not that high but the task of the champions was made all the easier at the super Tom Ryall Park in Kimanagh – home club of Graigue-Ballycallan – by three basic errors in the Dublin defence that were clinically punished by the Cats.
The absence of Aisling Carolan who has been superb for Dublin at No. 6 was sorely felt. But even minus her services Dublin will be disappointed to see Kilkenny capitalise on opportunities that should never have turned into goal chances. No. 2 arose when one of the Dublin backs raised the ball only for a Kilkenny player to snap it from her grasp; another goal came of a failed clearance and the third was also the result of a failed clearance when the odds favoured the Dublin defender.
By the 17 th minute, Kilkenny had raced into a 2-5 to 0-1 lead and they were in no mood to hand back the initiative. They were simply superb in this period and throughout the game their ability to lay the ball off to a better placed player was telling. Showing the benefit of being being there or thereabouts for the past 3-4 years, Kilkenny won most of the rucks and their understanding was top notch.
Despite that it wasn’t all doom and gloom from a Dublin perspective. This was a learning experience that will stand to the team and the encouraging thing was the way the players who had untypically erred grew into the game and emerged with credit from the encounter by the time the final whistle was blown.
Kilkenny were determined not to allow Dublin any early morale boosting scores and an effort from Miriam Walsh was cleared from sneaking under the cross-bar by Alison Maguire after only 2 minutes. A 45 was sent sailing between the posts by Denise Gaule to open the scoring in the 4th minute but from a free over 45m from the posts and on the sideline Aisling Maher levelled with ease. On the day Aisling was the best of the Dublin forwards but most of her possessions were far from the danger zone so as a result Dublin never created a goal chance in the game.
By the 14 th minute defensive errors were punished by Miriam Walsh and Danielle Morrissey each of whom palmed to the net. Katie Power was in storming form and sent over two great points with Denise Gaule and Anna Farrell also putting their name on the scoresheet. Dublin were using Miriam Twomey as the sweeper and as always she never shirked her duties and put in a number of fine interceptions.
From these clearances Dublin managed to earn a few frees which Aisling Maher nailed impressively – she scored all of Dublin’s first half tally of 0-5. But the Kilkenny half-backline of Claire Phelan, Anne Dalton and Grace Walsh had the measure of the Dublin forwards. Hardly a ball went in the direction of the full-forward line and as a consequence there was little they could do to test the Cats last line of defence.
A third palmed goal by Miriam Walsh gave Faye McCarthy no chance in the 29th minute and Kilkenny went to the break 3-8 to 0-5 to the good.
In fairness, the result was known at this stage but to Dublin’s credit they turned in a much better second half. The errors of the first half were eliminated and they played much more of the game in the Kilkenny half. No more goals were conceded and the likes of Eimear McCarthy, Hannah Hegarty, Eva Marie Elliott, Arleen Cushen and Eve O’Brien became more prominent. But Dublin still could find no chink of light in the Kilkenny defence.
In the 34th minute Faye McCarthy pointed a free from 65m and following great pressure by the Dublin forwards, the ball was turned over and Ali Twomey scored a great point from play – Dublin’s only score from this facet in the game.
At no stage did they throw in the towel but from the 34th to the 60th minute they could only add one more point – a free from Faye McCarthy. Kilkenny on the other hand added points from Danielle Morrissey (0-2), Meighan Farrell, Miriam Walsh (0-2), and Julieann Malone.
Next up Wexford and there’s no reason why Dublin cannot rise to the occasion.
Dublin – Aisling Maher (0-5), Faye McCarthy (0-2), Ali Twomey
Kilkenny – Miriam Walsh (2-2), Danielle Morrissey (1-3), Katie Power (0-2), Meighan Farrell (0-2), Denise Gaule (0-2), Anna Farrell, Aisling Dunphy, Jenny Reddy (0-1 each),
Referee: Owen Elliott