Kerry joint-manager Declan Quill says his team have a target on their backs after they booked their place in the NFL Division 1 final thanks to another fantastic win on Saturday.
erry had fallen to a heartbreaking defeat against Meath in last year’s TG4 All-Ireland Senior decider but gained revenge in Brosna, as they dished out a 1-18 to 0-9 defeat to their visitors.
The Kingdom also maintained their perfect start to the season and when they took a 1-7 to 0-5 lead into half-time they looked well on track. Niamh Carmody struck their first half goal and they pushed on in the second half.
“Niamh Carmody’s goal was great and gave us a bit of a cushion at half-time and we really drove it on in the second half. We didn’t really know what way the game was going to go but we drove on and we are delighted with the performance,” said Quill.
“We’re in good shape but we can still go a bit more. There’s one or two things to look at. I don’t want to be nit-picking as there isn’t a whole pile that we’d be too unhappy with.
“We’ve a bit of a target on our back now with teams watching us and maybe realising that maybe we’re quite strong.”
Meath were without two-time TG4 All-Star forward Emma Duggan and while they have another couple of big-name players waiting in the wings, they will have to forfeit their Lidl NFL Division 1 crown this year.
“The players that we were missing obviously doesn’t help. We still have a squad here to play but nobody has done (what Kerry did) to us in the four games so far. I have to say Kerry are in some shape at the moment and they really put us to the sword in the second half,” said Meath manager Davy Nelson.
“We’re going to get stronger, there’s no doubt about that but for now we just have to live with it. Hopefully we can get up and ready for Waterford in three weeks’ time again.”
Elsewhere on Saturday, Dublin had to come from behind to secure a battling 2-11 to 2-7 victory over Mayo at DCU St Clare’s.
Sinéad Walsh scored goals either side of half-time and Mayo looked to be cruising but Dublin rallied and goals from Kate Sullivan and Caoimhe O’Connor sealed a priceless win.
“A really tough game but delighted we got over the line. It was extremely hard work but I suppose this is what the league is for,” said Dublin defender Leah Caffrey.
“It’s great to be getting such tough games in. We were trying to get going there for a while but it didn’t come. Then eventually at the end we got over the line, which is brilliant.”
Galway are also still in the hunt for a place in the final thanks to another inspiring win. They went to Waterford and claimed a 0-10 to 0-5 victory.
“We have to keep steady heads now and just keep pushing on. We are always thinking about the next game and forgetting about what we have just done,” said Galway vice-captain Leanne Coen.
“For us it’s about us continuing to go forward and focusing on a tough game against Mayo next. That’s always tough so we will refocus and go again.”
Cork were the biggest winners of the weekend as Shane Ronayne’s side beat Donegal 5-11 to 0-1 in Mallow. Libby Coppinger scored 2-2 for the winners as their season picks up speed.
“We had to concentrate on ourselves, we played very well in spurts and we are very happy to get game time into more players again,” said Ronayne.
“Young and not so young players making their debuts and one or two coming back from small knocks. The likes of Ellen Twomey who got a point at the end it’s great for her and it’s the first opportunity in the league for some.”
In Division 2, Armagh continued their fine form with a 0-10 to 0-5 victory over Laois, where Aimee Mackin helped herself to 0-4. Clara English was the only goal-scorer as Tipperary defeated Monaghan 1-11 to 0-7.
Meanwhile, Aisling Gilsenan scored the winner for Cavan in a 2-9 to 2-8 win against Roscommon as there were wins for Kildare, Clare, Wexford and Sligo in Division 3.
Ladies National Football League Division 1: Kerry 1-18 Meath 0-9; Dublin 2-11 Mayo 2-7; Cork 5-11 Donegal 0-1; Galway 0-10 Waterford 0-5
National Football League Division 2: Tipperary 1-11 Monaghan 0-7; Cavan 2-9 Roscommon 2-8; Tyrone 2-13 Westmeath 1-12; Armagh 0-10 Laois 0-5
National Football League Division 3: Kildare 3-17 Offaly 2-6; Clare 0-6 Down 0-4; Wexford 2-6 Louth 1-5; Sligo 0-20 Longford 2-9