Kilkenny claimed the Leinster Senior Championship title after a 1-14 to 0-13 victory over Dublin in UPMC Nowlan Park on Saturday last
Both these teams played at the same stage of the competition last year, the result was comfortable for the stripey women having scored a number of goals in the first half. A few weeks ago the sides met in Parnell Park in the Very National League and Kilkenny also came away with a comfortable win. People would have been forgiven to think that this would be a walk in the park and that the result was inevitable but Dublin came to UPMC Nowlan Park with other ideas.
The hosts had an easy victory over Westmeath in the Semi-Final while the visitors had two games under their belt with a victory over Wexford in the Quarter Final and Meath in the Semi-Final. The Dubs came to town with a game plan and executed it perfectly for long periods. The reigning champions started brilliantly with an early 0-4 to 0-0 lead by the tenth minute, Dublin registered their first score of the game with an Aishling Maher point. The teams traded points right up to the break and the teams went into the break level at 0-7 each.
The visitors took the lead early in the second half through Grace O’Shea but they couldn’t capitalize on it. As the stadium clock approached the 52nd minute the teams were still level until a pivotal moment in the game. A free from Denise Gaule under the Ollie Walsh stand dropped into the square at the O’Loughlin Gales End of the pitch and Julieann Malone put up her hand, took control, fell to the ground, and batted the ball into the Dublin net. The hosts then pushed on and ended up coming away with a four-point win.
After the game manager Brian Dowling spoke with KCLR:-
“Dublin is a good team, last year the scoreline looked like we won handy we got a couple of goals last year and we pushed on, we didn’t get the goals this year it was tit-for-tat for a long time till Julieann got the goal near the end. Dublin is a good team and we know that they are frustrated for long periods, we can learn from that and we play them again in a few weeks and we just have to up our performance”
“There is always stuff to be worked on whether you win or lose, we probably very trained hard this week, we’re kind of using this couple of weeks to ramp up things, in a normal Championship week you wouldn’t be training that hard so maybe the girls were a bit leggy out there. We started off very well, we used the ball very weel we went four points up, and then it dropped off a bit and Dublin dropped a lot of bodies back and frustrated us, we have to learn from that, I said to the girls we didn’t play well but we found a way to win and that’s a good sign of a team but we know we have to improve a lot”
Hydration is important
The weather was very warm in UPMC Nowlan Park on Saturday and players’ hydration was important to keep getting fluids into them.
“Yeah it was extremely hot, we’re not used to it in Ireland playing matches in this kind of conditions, we’re not using that as an excuse it was the same for both teams, Dublin is a brilliant team, and every time we play them they put it up to us. We just have to look at ourselves and try and up it now for the next couple of weeks we play Wexford on June 10th and that’s our focus next”
Kilkenny went into the game as roaring hot favourites and it was put to Dowling if they thought it was going to be an easy victory after Kilkenny had beaten Dublin in the League:
“Absolutely not, we never go into any match thinking that, and the day you go into a game thinking that is the day you’re going to be finished, every match we go out we say to the girls every time any team can beat you if you’re not tuned in, we know that, we’re not naive enough to think any different, some days you try to do the right things and some of the passes were probably going a little bit too high and they weren’t going to hands, a lot of stoppages in play that didn’t suit us, as I said we just have to keep looking at ourselves and up the intensity for the next couple of weeks”
“We trained really hard since the league, the girls have put in a huge effort, with the long evenings were getting plenty of hurling and their fitness is improving all the time. We just have to keep that going for the next couple of weeks and we’ll be ramping up training as we have for the last few and then tailor off coming up to the Wexford game”
“It’s great, thanks to the County Board for getting us in here anytime we get to play here we’re delighted, we played here last year against Limerick and Offaly and the conditions were similar, and was great to see the kids playing at halftime and a decent ground and the Intermediates playing here as well. This is a great stadium and it’s great that the County Board are letting the girls play here I know they don’t have to so anytime we can we love coming in here we just have to make sure our performances are a little bit better the next time we get to come in here”