VERY NATIONAL CAMOGIE LEAGUE DIVISION 2A
It’s been a very positive start to the new season for the Kerry camogie team, a share of the spoils first day out has been followed by a tonic victory over Meath on the road on Saturday afternoon. New boss Pat Ryan has every reason to be pleased that’s for sure.
The home side in Trim on Saturday afternoon, however, will be a little disappointed to have been pipped at the post by the visiting Kingdom. With a formidable, and cool, breeze as their ally in the opening half Brendan Skehan’s team led 0-10 to 0-4 at the interval.
Even if the Royals struggled to find any fluency, particularly in attack, in the second-half they still were in pole position as the contest approached the 47th minute.
Then Kerry equalised and pushed on from there. The Kingdom were the more composed team in the closing stages and showed a sharper cutting edge in attack.
That ability to turn possession into scores ultimately proved to be a major factor in securing the win, and making the long journey back home that little bit less arduous.
It certainly made the members of the Kerry management team, who were very animated throughout this physically bruising encounter, very happy at the end. They celebrated with gusto but then why not, they had watched their team dig out a victory the hard way.
Meath’s inability to garner a goal also proved a significant factor and the team will need to be have sharper cutting edge upfront if they are to avoid becoming embroiled in a relegation battle.
With so many players have moved on Meath are undergoing a rebuilding phase and invariably there will be days like they had today.
The problems up front are underlined by some stark statistics. Only one of the six starting forwards, Grace Coleman, managed to score from play. She fired over five points in all with three of those from frees. The two she did manage from play were sweetly taken, as might be expected from this richly talented player.
The fact that the team could muster only two from play will concern Skehan and the other members of his advisory team which includes former Meath star Mike Cole.
Along with Coleman’s contribution the rest of the home team’s tally was supplied by Aoife Minogue who gave a tour de force performance surging forward repeatedly while also clipping over six frees, including one mighty effort from well inside her own half. She also scored from a ’45.
Meath did have a couple of half-chances for goals but they were no more than that. Minogue had a low drive blocked. The indomitable Ellen Burke had a thunderbolt saved by Kerry ‘keeper Ciaran Maloney in the second-half, but the shot had to be unleashed from about 20m out and at an awkward angle. It would have taken something really special to have dispatched the ball to the net.
All the Meath forwards worked ferociously hard and earned frees but they just couldn’t find the time and space needed to garner the scores their team so desperately needed especially in the closing stages.
The only goal of the game was, not surprisingly, scored by Kerry’s marquee player Patrice Diggin who seemed to be everywhere. She was also unerringly accurate when it came to frees. The goal came on 37 minutes when Diggin stepped up to take a free about 10 metres inside here own half.
She lofted the ball towards the Meath posts. Wind assisted, the sliotar still fell just short of going over the bar. Instead it went under the bar and Kerry had the score they so badly needed to inject some zest into their afternoon.
From then on they were the better team. The force was with them. By the 47th minute they had equalised and three minutes later they edged in front – where they stayed. Five of their players got on the score-sheet with Diggin and Jackie Horgan between them contributing 1-9 of their entire tally.
Defensively Meath were strong with players such as Leah Devine, Sophia Payne and Tracy King getting through some good work but Kerry’s sharper cutting edge in attack ultimately proved a major factor.
KERRY: Patrice Diggin 1-5 goal from a free, four frees, one ’45’; Jackie Horgan 0-4 two frees; Kate Lynch 0-1; Ellen O’Donoghue 0-1; Amy O’Sullivan 0-1
MEATH: Aoife Minogue 0-7 six frees, one ’45’; Grace Coleman 0-5 three frees