18 May 2022

Kilkenny have too much firepower for spirited Offaly

Kilkenny have too much firepower for spirited Offaly

Offaly went down to Kilkenny in the Leinster Camogie semi-final

KILKENNY advanced to the Leinster senior camogie final when they defeated a spirited Offaly side in an entertaining Leinster semi-final at St Brendan's Park, Birr on Saturday.

Leinster Senior Camogie Semi-Final


Kilkenny found the net inside the first 20 seconds of the game and never looked in danger of losing the game but Offaly showed a lot of spirit and determination and kept battling away right to the final whistle and they can take a lot of encouragement from this performance.

Kilkenny are among the elite of the game, along with Galway, Cork and Tipperary at this time, and the remaining counties are battling to come up to that level. Offaly have a number of younger players, some of whom won All-Ireland minor B medals this year, and this experience will serve them well.

Kilkenny could call on the experience of players like Denise Gaule, Miriam Walsh and Grace Walsh, with a strong support cast of players who have featured in All-Ireland and league finals, and it was many of those players who put them in the driving seat in this game.

Offaly got the worst possible start when Denise Gaule sent in a long ball from midfield and Eleanor Clendennen seemed to lose it looking into the sun, and the ball dipped under the crossbar into the net. Offaly did rally and won an 8th minute penalty but Mairead Teehan's effort to deflected out for a '45' and a great chance for Offaly was gone. Two goals from Miriam Walsh put Kilkenny firmly in control and they led by 3-8 to 0-5 at half time.

Offaly battled much better in the second half and actually outscored Kilkenny in that 30 minutes without ever seriously threatening to cut the deficit significantly. But you would have to admire their effort in that half and the way they kept trying.

The biggest concern from an Offaly point of view was the lack of scores from play. Mairead Teehan contributed 10 points from placed balls, and showed great accuracy, but a total of 1-2 from play isn't sufficient. They had a couple of chances of goals in the first half but didn't take them and against opposition of a higher standard, they will have to make the most of those chances.

There were positive performances from Grace Teehan, Aisling Brennan, Roisin Egan, Mairead Teehan, Louise Mannion and Christine Cleary and now they must turn their focus to performing well in the championship.

Kilkenny got a goal in their first attack when Denise Gaule's shot from midfield dipped under the crossbar with Eleanor Clendennen losing the ball in the sun. Mairead Teehan replied with a free but Denise Gaule (free) and Miriam Walsh pointed for Kilkenny before Offaly won a penalty when Clodagh Leahy was fouled. Mairead Teehan's effort was low but was deflected out for a '45' which she pointed.

Denise Gaule (free) and Miriam Walsh responded with Kilkenny points and in the 12th minute a free from Gaule broke and Walsh gathered and fired to the net. Christine Cleary got Offaly's first point from play a minute later but Kilkenny hit back again with points from Mary O'Connell and Denise Gaule ('45') and a 19th minute goal from Miriam Walsh. Denise Gaule pushed the lead out to 13 points from a free but Mairead Teehan pointed a free and a '45' with Julieanne Malone responding for Kilkenny to leave it 3-8 to 0-5 at half time.

Katie Power, Katie Nolan and Mary O'Connell had early points for Kilkenny after the break before Mairead Teehan replied with an Offaly free. She added two more from a free and '45' after Aoife Prendergast had pointed for Kilkenny and then Grace Teehan added a great long range effort. Julieanne Malone and Mairead Teehan (free) exchanged further points before Kilkenny netted a fourth goal with 10 minutes left. Lydia Fitzpatrick's long ball broke in the goalmouth and Katie Nolan pulled first time to the net. Aoife Doyle added a further point.

Offaly hit back and when Mairead Teehan's long ball was batted down by Emma Kavanagh, Faye Mulrooney was on hand to finish the ball to the net. Mairead Teehan added two further frees and at the final whistle Kilkenny had 11 points to spare.



KILKENNY: Emma Kavanagh; Michelle Teehan, Tiffany Fitzgerald, Grace Walsh; Steffi Fitzgerald, Ciara Phelan, Niamh Deely; Denise Gaule, Katie Power; Julieanne Malone, Aoife Prendergast; Aoife Doyle; Katie Nolan, Miriam Walsh, Mary O'Connell. Subs. Lydia Fitzpatrick (for Grace Teehan, 42 mins), Ciara Phelan (for Michelle Teehan, 42 mins), Moya O'Brien (for Katie Power, 45 mins), Asha McHardy (for Miriam Walsh, 48 mins), Sophie Dwyer (for Mary O'Connell, 51 mins).

OFFALY: Eleanor Clendennen (Kinnitty); Sarah Guinan (Kilcormac/Killoughey), Siobhan Killeen (St Cillian's), Orla Gorman (Tullamore); Grace Teehan (Naomh Brid), Aisling Brennan (St Cillian's), Sarah Walsh (Tullamore); Roisin Egan (St Rynagh's), Edwina King (Moneygall); Louise Mannion (St Rynagh's), Mairead Teehan (Moneygall), Christine Cleary (Shinrone); Siobhan Flannery (St Rynagh's), Sarah Harding (Birr), Clodagh Leahy (Drumcullen). Subs. Orlagh Phelan (Naomh Brid) (for Edwina King, 22 mins), Aisling Feeney (Tullamore) (for Siobhan Killeen, 25 mins), Faye Mulrooney (Birr) (for Sarah Walsh, 41 mins), Sharon Shanahan (Shinrone) (for Sarah Guinan), Jane Lowry (Kilcormac/Killoughey) (for Sarah Harding, 57 mins).


Full forward Miriam Walsh did most of the damage for Kilkenny when the game was still up for grabs. She scored 2-2 in that first half and troubled the Offaly defence whenever she got near the ball.


With Kilkenny netting inside the first minute, Offaly were always fighting an uphill battle but they got an early chance to get right back into the game in the 8th minute when awarded a penalty that would have brought them back within a point of their opponents, but Mairead Teehan's shot was deflected outside the post for a '45' and the chance was gone.


Kilkenny are operating on a higher level than Offaly and the depth of their squad was clear to see on Saturday. However Offaly kept battling away and showed a lot of spirit throughout the game and with a number of younger playes in their squad they can take encouragement from this display ahead of the start of the championship in a few weeks time.


Kilkenny progress to a Leinster Final meeting with Dublin next weekend, while Offaly now look forward to taking on Antrim in the opening round of the All-Ireland championship in a couple of weeks time.


On a lovely sunny day, St Brendan's Park looked in lovely condition but there was a relatively small crowd present for the game.


Wides; Kilkenny 4 (1 in first half) Offaly 2 (1 in first half)

Yellow Cards: Kilkenny 0 Offaly 2 (Siobhan Killeen, Aisling Brennan)

Red Cards: None


Kilkenny; Miriam Walsh (2-2), Denise Gaule (1-4, 0-3 frees, 0-1 '45'), Katie Nolan (1-1), Mary O'Connell and Julieanne Malone (0-2 each), Katie Power, Aoife Prendergast, Aoife Doyle (0-1 each).

Offaly; Mairead Teehan (0-10, 0-7 frees, 0-3 '45s'), Faye Mulrooney (1-0), Christine Cleary and Grace Teehan (0-1 each).

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