Written by Darren Gallagher
Another trip to South Kildare in consecutive weeks for the Senior Ladies, and although not quite the Baltic conditions that faced the team in Castlemitchell in round one, the wet conditions proved challenging, but with the desire, effort & teamwork of the Celbridge girls, it proved critical to the outcome of this game. Johnny made a number of positional and personnel changes from that used against Castlemitchell, which is a testament to the depth & talent in the squad and was great to see the competition for places in the team and the commitment demonstrated that we had a dozen or so substitutes available to provide challenge to first team starters (not to mention performing admirably when called upon during the game).
From the whistle, our defence were solid with full back line of Joy, Robyn & Niamh marshalling their opponents, Abby formidable in goal and ultimately managing to hold Ballykelly scoreless in the first half. They had great support from the half backs with Kellie, Sinead & newly positioned Grace getting forward when opportunities arose (managing to get on scoresheet too!), and Alex, Chanice & Maeve providing great cover to midfield and blocking off the threat posed by many of the opposition attacks. Orla’s move into full forward position provided a suitable outlet & key target for defence splitting passes, coupled with off the ball running from Nicole & Ailbhe.
There were some fantastic scores in the first half with Orla getting two great points from long range, a fine point from Niamh Flynn, but the key to building a big lead coming into second half came in the form of goal from Chanice and 1-1 from Nicole (excellent team goal with great build up play & finish). Great teamwork with girls fighting for each other, tracking back and pleasure to see newcomers to Senior squad integrating seamlessly (with notable excellent defensive display from Joy, displaying great energy & determination) resulting in a half time score of :-
Ballykelly 0-0 : Celbridge 2-5
Although Ballykelly fought back in the second half, the resilience, teamwork & support didn’t wane with whole team fighting for every ball, chasing back when needed and always looking to burst forward (special mention of Niamh Plunkett for lung bursting runs to support half backs & midfield resulting in numerous scoring opportunities). Leah Earley & Niamh Flynn led from the front and with the continued encouragement to teammates kept the scoreboard ticking over and maintaining a significant lead at all times. Abby pulled off a point blank save and although continued pressure came from Ballykelly attacks, the defence challenged and thwarted many of these opportunities. There were a number of substitutes introduced in the second half with Gemma returning to full forward line and scoring a crucial point as Ballykelly had knocked over quite a few to reduce lead. Orla scored another great point with Maeve & Leah finishing out the scoring for Celbridge in second half.
Overall, this was a fine team performance and credit must go to whole squad as great teams are built on strong squads, which was clearly demonstrated in second half when fresh legs were required to see out the game. Let’s keep up the hard work on the training pitch and continue building momentum that will help deliver another successful league campaign.
Great to get points on the board, increase fitness levels and get further games under the belt & well done to the Mulligan boys, Hillary and the Senior Ladies squad …..
Final score Ballykelly 1-6 : Celbridge 2-9