Two first-half goals for the home side proved crucial as Offaly exited the Leinster Junior Championship at the hands of Kildare in Clane on Sunday.
Leinster Junior Camogie Championship semi-final
Playing in just their second competitive game of the year, Offaly’s young second team pushed the beaten Division 2 League finalists all the way. Having trailed by as many as six points in the second-half, Offaly got back within three thanks to a goal from Roisin Coughlan.
Unfortunately for Offaly, that was as close as they got as a strong Kildare team held on for the win that secured them a place in the Leinster Final against Laois.
Kildare opened the scoring with a point from Susie O’Carroll from a free but that was quickly cancelled out by a point from Offaly’s top scorer Michelle Davis.
Two more points from O’Carroll left Kildare in front after six minutes but Davis responded in kind for Offaly to leave the sides level again midway through the half.
The first point of the game from play came after 19 minutes when Louise Keatley slotted the ball over for Kildare but again Michelle Davis responded for Offaly with her fourth point, all from frees.
With 22 minutes on the clock, Kildare struck for their first goal when Clodagh Farrell got in behind the defence and dispatched the ball to the back of the net past Shauna Carroll.
Points from Christine Cleary and Michelle Davis got Offaly back within one but Kildare extended their lead to five with a point from distance from Melissa Lyons and a goal from Deirbhile Byrne who finished off from close range despite the brave efforts of Shauna Carroll.
Offaly responded well before the break however and two more points from Michelle Davis, her sixth and seventh of the half, got them back within three at the break at 2-5 to 0-8.
A point apiece from Susie O’Carroll and Mary Molloy early in the second-half maintained the gap at three but Kildare doubled their advantage in the next ten minutes with points from substitute Siobhan Hurley and two from Melissa Lyons. Hurley had a major influence on the game after her introduction as Kildare began to boss the game in their own back line with full-back Aoife Trant the outstanding player on the field.
Offaly were struggling to pass the halfway line but they got back in the game 12 minutes from time when Roisin Coughlan latched onto a lose ball close to goal and drilled it to the back of the net.
That left the gap betwee the sides at three but Kildare responded with points from Susie O’Carroll and Siobhan Hurley to leave five between the sides entering the closing minute of the game.
Offaly showed great battling qualities and points from Michelle Davis and Mary Molloy got them back within three but unfortunately time ran out before they could craft an equalising goal.
Offaly were best served by their all minor half-back line of Lauren Keeneghan, Edel O’Meara and the outstanding Kelly Sammon while the half-forward line of Rosin Coughlan, Michelle Davis and Christine Cleary also performed well.
The Offaly Junior team begin their Junior A Championship campaign away to Dublin on June 23,
Scorers: Susie O’Carroll 0-6 (0-4f); Melissa Lyons 0-3; Clodagh Farrell 1-0; Deirbhile 1-0; Siobhan Hurley 0-2f. Offaly: Michelle Davis 0-8 (0-7f); Roisin Coughlan 1-0; Mary Molloy 0-2; Christine Cleary 0-1
Kildare: Brid Byrnes; Jane O’Donohoe, Aoife Trant, Niamh Concannon; Orla Bambury, Carol Nolan, Angela Lyons; Caroline Forde, Clodagh Flanagan; Deirbhile Byrne, Louise Keatley, Melissa Lyons; Clodagh Farrell, Susie O’Carroll, Elaine McNamara. Subs: Fiona Trant for Carol Nolan (24mins), Roisin O’Connell for Elaine McNamara (27mins), Siobhan Hurley for Angela Lyons (34mins), Niamh Breen for Susie O’Carroll (57mins)
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; Valerie Maher, Rachel Brennan, Rebecca Hoctor. Sub Leanne Mahon for Valerie Maher (50mins)