Ladies: First-half goals steer Kildare past Tyrone to Division 2 title

April 07, 2024

Tyrone's Joanne Barrett tackles Roisin Byrne of Kildare ©INPHO/Leah Scholes

Kildare 2-9 
Tyrone 0-12 

by Daire Walsh 

First-half goals from Claire Sullivan and Neasa Dooley were crucial at Croke Park on Sunday afternoon as Kildare defeated Tyrone to claim their first Lidl National Football League Division 2 crown since 2004. 

After Roisin Byrne had opened the scoring with a second-minute point, Emma Conroy responded with a brace at the opposite end to edge Tyrone in front. 

However, Kildare, appearing at GAA HQ for the first time since winning last year’s TG4 All-Ireland intermediate championship title, were already showing considerable attacking intent and bagged their first goal on six minutes when Byrne fed the raiding Sullivan for a low finish to the net. 

Dead-ball specialists Byrne and Maria Canavan  — an extended member of that famous Tyrone family — went on to trade points at either end of the pitch, but with sunshine making way for driving rain in north Dublin, this showpiece suddenly became less free-flowing in nature. 

Nevertheless, a two-point salvo by Canavan got Tyrone back on level terms in the 18th-minute and they then squeezed into the ascendancy again when Sasha Byrne found the target from close-range. 

Yet Byrne added a brace of her own just as the conditions started to brighten up again and thanks to Dooley’s superb three-pointer on 27 minutes, Kildare brought a 2-4 to 0-6 cushion into the interval. 

Tyrone, who drew with Kildare during the Division 2 group stages, were still in contention on the restart, however, and another clinically-executed Canavan free got them back up and running. Captain Aoibhinn McHugh also burst through from midfield for a point that shook the woodwork on its way over, before Kildare finally opened their second half account on 41 minutes with a white flag contribution from Trina Duggan. 

The ever-dependable Canavan and Lilywhites substitute Lara Curran cancelled each other out with points as the third-quarter drew to a close, only for the Tyrone sharpshooter to once again chip in with a placed ball effort. 

Niamh Farrelly later joined Curran in registering a point off the Kildare bench and this was followed by a majestic Ellen Dowling score from out towards the left-wing. While Canavan brought her personal tally up to 0-8 in the closing moments, a Dooley point ensured that Diane O’Hora’s Lilies had three points to spare in the end. 

Scorers - Kildare: N Dooley 1-1, R Byrne 0-4 (2f), C Sullivan 1-0, T Duggan, E Dowling, L Curran, N Farrelly 0-1 each.Tyrone: M Canavan 0-8 (7f), E Conroy 0-2, A McHugh, S Byrne 0-1 each. 

KILDARE: M Hulgraine; F Troute, A Clifford, M Doherty; L Murtagh, R Sargent, L Gilbert; G Clifford, H McLoughlin; T Duggan, E Dowling, C Sullivan; N Dooley, R Byrne, A Rattigan. Subs: N Farrelly for Rattigan (25), E O’Toole for McLoughlin (40), L Curran for Murtagh (43), H Tyrrell for Dowling (53), S Munnelly for Duggan (54).  

TYRONE: C Donnelly; J Lyons, J Barrett, E Quinn; C Campbell, E Mulgrew, M Corrigan; A McHugh, M Mallon; EJ Gervin, E Conroy, A Horisk; M Canavan, Z Loughran, S Byrne. Subs: A Daly for Horisk (19-22), E McCanny for Byrne (45), C Daly for Barrett (48), A Grimes for Conroy (50), A Daly for Horisk (53), KR Muldoon for Corrigan (60). 

Referee: Shane Curley (Galway). 

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