Kildare qualified for a Leinster Junior Camogie Final place with a narrow 2-11 to 1-11 victory over a spirited Offaly challenge in Clane on Sunday. The first half quickly developed into a free taking shoot out between Kildare’s Susie O Carroll and Offaly’s Michelle Davis, each slotting over three points from placed balls. Louise Keatley got Kildare’s first point from play in the nineteenth minute before Davis pulled it back to parity with another point from a free.
Kildare had the first of their majors a minute later when Clodagh Farrell took an offload from O Carroll to finish to the Offaly net. Christine Cleary quickly replied with a nice point from play for Offaly in the twenty second minute. Davis edged Offaly closer with another pointed free which was equalised by a Melissa Lyons point from play. A minute later Kildare’s Deirbhile Byrne took possession in just enough space to finish it to the Offally net to seemingly send her team into a match winning lead. However Offaly stuck in and two more points from Davis from frees kept her team in it on a half-time score of Kildare 2-5 , Offaly 0-8.
O Carroll and Davis traded points in the early minutes of the second half before a Siobhan Hurley from a free and Melissa Lyons from play in the thirteenth minute seemed to have set Kildare on the way to victory. Offaly, however were not lying down and continued to press forward but Kildare’s defence, where full back Aoife Trant was supreme held firm until a miss hit free from the otherwise excellent Davis dropped into the Kildare square, creating a scramble from which Roisin Coughlan was on hand to give her team a lifeline by sending the ball to the back of the Kildare net in the eighteenth minute.
It was level pegging from there until the end as Offaly’s defence led by their half back line of Lauren Keenaghan, Kelly Salmon and Edel O Meara soaked up a lot of Kildare pressure to keep their team within touching distance right to the end. Two more points from frees by O'Carroll and Hurley gave Kildare a five point lead going into the final minutes but points from Davis and Mary Molloy reduced the lead to a single goal to ensure a close finish but Kildare had done enough and emerged one goal winners at full time.
Kildare now move on to meet neighbours Laois in the Leinster Final on Sunday June 9th.
Kildare: Brid Byrnes, Jane O Donoghue, Aoife Trant, Niamh Concannon, Orla Bambury, Carol Nolan, Angela Lyons, Caroline Forde, Clodagh Flanagan, Deirbhile Byrne (1-0), Louise Keatley(0-1), Melissa Lyons(0-3), Clodagh Farrell(1-0), Susie O Carroll(0-5, 4F), Elaine McNamara, Tanya Johnson, Siobhan Hurley(0-2 1f)(for Lyons),Roisin O Connell (McNamara), Niamh Breen, (for O Carroll), Fiona Trant(for Nolan), Emer Hurley, Hazel Mulligan, Louise Walsh, Maeve Walsh Chanice Corcoran
Offaly: Shauna Carroll, Claire Ryan, Kate Ahearne, Aine Whelan, Lauren Keenaghan, Kelly Sammon, Edel O’Meara,Mary Molloy, Catherine Kenna,Roisin Coughlan,Michelle Davis, Christine Cleary,Valarie Maher, Rachel Brennan, Rebecca Hoctor, Orla Murray, Sharon Doyle, Grace Clendennan, Tracy McDonald, Leanne Mahon (for Maher), Deirdre Cashin, Laura Hogan, Claire Camon, Ann Digan, Ciara Ryan.