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It was Kilkenny’s 7th All-Ireland at under-16 level and they completed the magnificent seven in the splendid surroundings of Semple Stadium, Thurles last Saturday. Kilkenny trailed by five points early in the second-half following a well taken goal by Cork full-forward Katie Buckley.

However, the black and amber kittens were made of sterner stuff and they never panicked afterwards.Their defensive unit was resplendent as they restricted Cork to only a solitary point over the closing half-hour

The full-back line of the tight-marking Jane Cullen, the imperious Ruth Jones, and the tigerish Grace Walsh were truly magnificent .

While in front of them, the battling Margaret Simpson, the inspirational Laura Fennelly and the hard-working Davina Tobin yielded little as they completed a formidable defensive unit.

Aisling Dunphy was outstanding during the second-half as she was a constant driving force, while the swashbuckling Niamh Mulhall and the hard-working Niamh Byrne also contributed handsomely during the second-half.Claire Phelan 0-5(0-4 frees) made a valuable contribution while the opportunism of Michelle Farrell, and highly gifted 13-year-old Ciara Holden were often a constant threat as Kilkenny produced a magnificent second-half team performance

A low scoring first-half saw Kilkenny trail narrowly 1-4 to 1-2 at the interval having played against a stiffish breeze.

Team captain Michelle Farrell opened the scoring with a well taken point after just 42 seconds, before Cork responded with points from Miraha Reidy and Katrina Mackey as they led 0-2 to 0-1 after 15 minutes.Cork were awarded a lucky breakthrough when a shot out on the far wing on the sideline by Katie Harrington saw unfortunate Kilkenny goalkeeper Laura Walker attemp to bat the sliothar into an empty net. 1-2 to 0-1.
However, Kilkenny responded in the 20th minute when an attempted delivery by Cira Holden wasn’t dealt with by Cork goalkeeper Tessa Hawkes.

Michelle Maher was on hand, and despite mis-hitting on the first attempt, she obliged to squeeze the faintest of touches over the goal-line. 1-2 to 1-1.

Claire Phelan pointed a free in the 24th minute, before the Mackey sisters wing-backs Pamela and Katriona concluded the first-half scoring with well taken points. 1-4 to 1-2.

Cork appeared to be in the driving seat early in the second-half when an inch-perfect delivery by Joanne Casey found Katie Buckley and she blasted her shot that gave Laura Walker no chance.

2-4 to 1-2. However, Kilkenny responded with an unanswerable 2-5 over the next 20 minutesClaire Phelan pointed a free, before a long delivery from Aisling Dunphy eventually saw Ciara Holden win possession, and she managed to swerve and turn to blast home a rocket blast finish. 2-4 to 2-3.

Claire Phelan equalised moments later with a well taken point from distance as they were dominant in every department.
Ciara Holden pointed to edge Kilkenny ahead in the 45th minute before Phelan converted another free.
The decisive moment though came in the 50th minute when a long range shot from Niamh Byrne saw Cork goalkeeper Tessa Hawkes fumble possession, and Michelle Farrell took advantage to blast home her low shot from close range. 3-6 to 2-4.

Phelan pointed another free, before Cork goal-scorer Katie Buckley set up Aileen O’Donovan and she blasted over the crossbar despite having the goal at her mercy.

Kilkenny though held firm to record 4-in-a-row following a compelling contest.
Kilkenny Panel                
Laura Walker    Windgap               
Jane Cullen     Rower         
Niamh Byrne     Clara         
Siobhan Healy   Dicksboro             
Ruth Jones      Glenmore              
Laura Fennelly  Young Irelands        
Davina Tobin    Emeralds              
Margaret Simpson        Young Irelands        
Aishling Dunphy         St Brigids            
Michelle Maher  St Martins            
Eimear Mulhall  Lisdowney             
Michelle Farrell (Capt)         Thomastown            
Maeve Mansfield         St Martins            
Claire Phelan   Lisdowney             
Claire Aylward  Glenmore              
Aishling Brennan        St Martins            
Sonia Buggy     Dicksboro             
Aishling Carey  Young Irelands        
Emma Comerford  Young Irelands        
Jennifer Cunningham     Danesfort             
Aishling Curtis         Clara         
Niamh Dowling   Tullaroan             
Laura Fennelly  Carrickshock          
Aoife Lyng      Rower         
Noelle Maher    St Lachtains          
Yvone Mc Grath  St Lachtains          
Aoife Murphy    Lisdowney             
Brid Murphy     Clara         
Grace Murphy    Lisdowney             
Laura Wall      Mooncoin              
Grace Walsh     Tullaroan             
Ciara Holden    Mullinavat            
Isobel Robinson         Clara         


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