There was a feast of goals this afternoon in Hawkfield GAA Club in Newbridge as Dublin’s U14 Ladies Footballers faced Kildare in their first round Leinster Championship game.
The last time the sides met at this grade was in the 2016 Leinster Final and it was a highly thrilling encounter with the Lilywhites coming out on top.
Today it was the turn of the girls from the capital to lay down a serious marker for the season ahead with 26 point victory containing a powerful display of inventive attacking football.
The game started off at breakneck speed as both sides endeavored to impose their will on the game. The tricky underfoot conditions and uneven surface were not ideal for free flowing football, but both sides made light of the playing surface to serve up an action packed game full of high quality football.
That lead only lasted a minute as Katie O’Sullivan made a powerful run through the Kildare defence and grabbed her first goal of the game to bring the sides level.
Kildare though looked sharp early on and their running game and quick offloads were causing the Dublin defence some problems. The girls in white restored their lead with two quick points in the space of a minute from Eimear Hanlon and Miah Ryan.
The Dublin defence though soon got to grips with the Kildare tactics and cut off the avenues of attack. This allowed the girls in blue to dominate the possession and they made it count.
The Kildare backs couldn’t handle the constant movement and clever runs of Ciara O’Connor, Ellie Young, Eimear Mangan and Katie O’Sullivan, which were stretching their defensive lines leaving holes for midfielder Ali Griffen and forwards Jennifer Hanrahan and Aishling O’Neill to exploit with incisive runs.
Dublin ran riot hitting 5-03 without reply to all but finish the game as a contest with still just over a half to play.
Aishling O’Neill got the ball rolling with a well taken goal after beating three would be tacklers with a run from deep. Two points thirty seconds apart from the impressive Katie O’Sullivan and Jennifer Hanrahan, put the Dubs four in front.
Kildare were struggling to get out of their own half as Declan Darcy’s charges penned them in. The pressure told as the young Dubs helped themselves to two more goals, the first was a brilliant finish from Aishling O’Neill and the second came from Katie O’Sullivan after a defence splitting run.
The relentless attacking from Dublin continued unabated, Ellie Young scored an excellent point and from the resultant restart Dublin claimed the ball, three passes later and Kildare were forced into a foul in the square and Katie O’Sullivan dispatched the resultant penalty with aplomb.
Finally after a twenty minute barren scoring spell Kildare added to their tally with a point from left half forward Ava McEvoy.
But a devastating two minute spell from the girls in blue ended any real hope for their hosts of a comeback as Dublin made it a total of eight first half goals. Katie O’Sullivan scored her fifth of the contest and Aishling O’Neill brought her total number of goals to three with a clever finish. Jennifer Hanrahan constantly involved in good Dublin build up play, finished another fine passage of play with a well struck point.
In fairness to Kildare they never threw in the towel and battled gamely finishing with the last three points before the break from Eimear Hanlon, the first from a free and two fine efforts from open play to leave her side trailing by nineteen points with the score 8-04 to 1-06 in Dublin’s favour.
With such a big lead Dublin might have been forgiven for easing off the gas a little in the second half, but neither side dropped the frenetic pace of the first period.
Kildare out scored their opponents 0-04 to 0-02 in the opening seven minutes after the break. Dublin opened the scoring with a great point from midfielder Ali Griffen, Kildare responded with a point from Holly Tyrell which was cancelled out with another well struck point this time from the boot of Dublin’s Ciara O’Connor.
The girls in white then enjoyed a purple patch and scored three points in a row, two from play by Holly Tyrell and Eimear Hanlon and an Alice Breen free.
But Dublin always looked the more potent attacking outfit with the bigger goal threat and so it was to prove. A Ciara O’Connor point was quickly followed by two quick fire goals in as many minutes.
The first was a well worked move from their own 45, the ball was worked forward with a couple of pinpoint foot passes, Katie O’Sullivan got in behind the Kildare back line and was picked out with a ball over the top, she turned headed towards goal and placed the ball past the on rushing Kildare keeper.
A minute later Aishling O’Neill after some good approach play, cut in from the right wing and hit a stunning shot into the top left hand corner of the net for her fourth and Dublin’s tenth goal of the game.
With twenty minutes to go Hayley Wiltshire stopped the one way scoring traffic with a good point. But Dublin were just so much on top at this stage it hardly registered as the girls in blue went on another scoring rampage grabbing another 1-04 without reply.
Points came via Eimear Mangan (2), Emma Kane and Jennifer Hanrahan and Katie O’Sullivan made it an incredible seven goals to her name with another cool finish. It could have been even worse for Kildare as just like the first half, Dublin hit the crossbar and also the post with two goal attempts.
Both sides rang the changes with a multitude of substitutes for both sides. The changes seemed to ignite Kildare for one last push and they outscored Dublin 0-05 to 0-01 in the closing minutes.
Kildare points coming from Miah Ryan, Aaliyah O’Toole (2), Niamh Mortell and Hayley Wiltshire and Dublin solitary reply scored by Sinead Flannery.
There was still time for some late drama before the final whistle. Dublin’s substitute goalkeeper Molly Cassidy was only on the pitch a matter of minutes when she was adjudged to have commuted a foul in the square that she received a yellow card for and was sent to the sin bin and Kildare were awarded a penalty.
With no keeper on the field of play another second half sub Eabha Mooney playing at full back assumed the goalkeeping duties and pulled of a fine save to deny Kildare a consolation goal.
Katie O’Sullivan 7-01 (1-00, Pen 1f)
Aishling O’Neill 4-00
Jennifer Hanrahan 0-03
Ciara O’Connor 0-02 (1f)
Eimear Mangan 0-02
Ellie Young 0-01
Ali Griffen 0-01
Emma Kane 0-01
Sinead Flannery 0-01
1. Corla Nallen
2. Aoife Murphy
3. Aisling Archbold
4. Rebecca Corcoran
5. Rachel McKeogh
6. Emma Scully
7. Aaliyah O’Toole
8. Ciara Dunne
9. Sara Carroll
10. Hayley Wiltshire
11. Eimear Hanlon
12. Ava McEvoy
13. Miah Ryan
14. Alice Breen
15. Holly Tyrrell
17. Muireann Ures for 4. Rebecca Corcoran
18. Niamh Mortell for 12. Ava McEvoy
19. Fiadh Whiteley for 14. Alice Breen
20. Jenna Pembroke for 2. Aoife Murphy
21. Zoe Harris for 13. Miah Ryan
22. Emma McAleenan for 8. Ciara Dunne
23. Ella Hayes for 3. Aisling Archbold
25. Eabha Devenney for 5. Rachel McKeogh
26. Elena Prendergast for 6. Emma Scully
30. Faye O’Loughlin for 9. Sarah Carroll
1. Rugile Auskalnyte
2. Erin Christy
3. Aoife O’Sullivan
4. Sophia Nyhan
5. Roisin Quigley
6. Lucy Crowe
7. Aoife Coppinger
8. Ali Griffen
27. Aoibhinn McCarthy
10. Ciara O’Connor
11. Ellie Young
12. Jennifer Hanrahan
13. Eimear Mangan
14. Katie O’Sullivan
15. Aishling O’Neill
16. Molly Cassidy for 1. Rugile Auskalnyte
17. Ali McCarthy for 4. Sohpian Nyham
18. Katie Quinlivan for 6. Lucy Crowe
19. Eva Ahern for 7. Aoife Coppinger
20. Ella Darcy for 10. Ciara O’Connor
21. Emma Kane for 11. Ellie Young
22. Sinead Flannery for 13. Eimear Mangan
23. Ava Corcoran for 12. Jennifer Hanrahan
24. Amelia Ryan for 15. Aishling O’Neill
25. Eabha Mooney for 3. Aoife O’Sullivan
26. Hollie Bolger for 8. Ali Griffen
28. Sarah Willis for 27. Aoibhinn McCarthy
29. Emer Crowley for 14. Katie O’Sullivan
30. Teegan Comber for 5. Roisin Quigley