KILKENNY produced a whirlwind second half performance that blew Kildare away and kept their double dreams alive.
The Noresiders have already bagged a place in the final of the Liberty Insurance Senior Championship and on this performance against last year’s runners-up, look like they will take serious beating in the Intermediate decider.
Having gone in at the break just a point ahead, they reeled off five points in a row and a Keeva Fennelly goal in the 56th minute ended all hope for the Lilywhites, who failed to register a score in the second half.
It was all a far cry from what the early-comers to MacDonagh Park in Nenagh witnessed in the opening period, as the teams traded blow-for-blow.
Áine Fahy opened the scoring from play for Kilkenny but Susie O’Carroll levelled from a free.
Twice more the Stripeywomen edged ahead but Kildare were quick to respond. They never got their noses in front but showed more than enough to suggest that they might, even when a couple of points from leading scorer Ciara Holden pushed their opponents a couple clear.
Points from Louise Keatley and Deirbhile Byrne brought the teams level for a fourth time on the stroke of the half-hour but there was still time for Sarah Walsh to raise a white flag in response and get Kilkenny’s noses in front at the interval, 0-8 to 0-7.
For some reason, Kildare could not maintain their competitiveness after the resumption as Kilkenny moved through the gears.
Holden fired three points and her full-forward line partner Jenny Clifford slotted a brace.
The third member of the inside triumvirate, Fennelly joined in on the action late on finding the Kildare net and adding a couple of points to cement Kilkenny’s place in Croke Park on September 11th.
SCORERS – KILKENNY: C Holden 0-7(4fs, 1 45); K Fennelly 1-3; J Clifford 0-3; A Fahy, S Walsh 0-1 each
KILDARE: S O’Carroll 0-3(2fs); D Byrne 0-2; L Keatley, N Earley 0-1 each
KILKENNY: K Maher, L Phelan, J Norris, N Sweeney, N Leahy, K Nolan, E Frisby, A Kenneally, E Doonan, S Walsh, L Greene, A Fahy, C Holden, J Clifford, K Fennelly
KILDARE: R O’Connell, C Flanagan, C Nolan, F Trant, S Cribbin, A Trant, A Lyons, M Murtagh, E Reilly, N Earley, S Hurley, L Keatley, D Byrne, S Carroll, M Lyons
REFEREE: E Cassidy (Derry)