Written by Darren Gallagher
Following two away trips to South Kildare to kick off life in Division 3, Celbridge Senior Ladies Football team welcomed Kill for their first home game of the season in what was to become a very competitive and enthralling game. There were a small number of personnel changes to the starting line-up from the Ballykelly game with Laura O’Flynn coming in at right half back and Gemma Kilduff at right full forward and a couple of positional switches in the forwards. Again, just like at the training sessions, full squad available on the night with a very strong bench ready to fight for the cause, provide challenge & keeping pressure on those in the starting team. Although a cold night, it stayed dry and generally decent conditions for the game.
Although this was Kill’s first outing of the League, they began the game with some fantastic passing, movement and finishing with a couple of early goals to open up a big lead before Celbridge got into the rhythm & intensity of the game. They produced defence splitting passes and slick and composed finishing, so no signs of rustiness in kicking off their campaign. However, Celbridge began to find their feet, winning battles, great support with off the shoulder running which culminated in some great points for Chanice, Maeve, Orla & Gemma, but most importantly, a great goal from Alex Casey that left Celbridge trailing by just a goal coming close to half time. The Celbridge defence & midfield dominated in the middle part of the first half, but Kill pushed on again and finished strongly kicking another two points to leave half time scoreline at :-
Celbridge 1-4 : Kill 3-3
No doubt the half-time team talk brought some choice words, highlighting areas for improvement, but ultimately encouragement that resulted in an invigorated Celbridge side taking the field with the drive, effort & enthusiasm that was missing from parts of the first half. Our captain Leah Earley lead by example, tracking back, getting up to support forwards and an inspiration to the whole team. Her partner in midfield, Chanice Corcoran displayed great fielding ability, making powerful runs forward, with one culminating in an excellent goal for Chanice. Niamh Flynn provided additional cover in midfield and provided some excellent distribution of the ball to the other forwards.
While our forwards continued to add to the scores, Sinead was tenacious as ever in the tackle and won numerous 50/50 battles, ably assisted by Laura & Grace at half backs who provided great cover & support to the full back line and drove forward at every opportunity. The strength and solidity of Abby, Joy, Robyn & Niamh (& Aimee later) restricted number of scoring chances, resulting in a total of only 1-2 for Kill in the second half. This was as a result of tighter marking, more aggressive challenging, coupled with the effort and teamwork throughout the field.
There were a number of substitutes introduced in the second half with Nicole returning to full forward line and scoring a crucial goal (inspired substitution by Johnny!) and Aimee Bolger replacing Niamh Plunkett following her injury. Orla demonstrated her versatility occupying the full forward position, involved in most of the link up play, & scoring a match winning 1-2 in the second half with Ailbhe & Nicole providing alternative outlets and challenging for every ball. This was truly a pulsating game, with end to end action throughout, & with more composure in front of goal at the latter stages, Celbridge could have had a more comfortable win. The passion, skill, commitment, team spirit and resilience demonstrated by the girls delighted the management team & supporters alike. Great credit has to be given to the Kill team who played in a very competitive and sporting manner and with only a kick off a ball in the result, it could have gone either way at the end.
Let’s build on the momentum created from last two games, keep up great work at training/challenge games & well done again to the Mulligan boys, Gavin, Hillary and the Senior Ladies squad …..
Final score Celbridge 4-6 : Kill 4-5