Ladies: Goals key as Meath book Leinster final spot at Kildare's expense

April 28, 2024

Meath's Katie Newe with Lauren Murtagh Kildare during the leinster SFC round 2 clash at Pairc Tailteann

Meath 2-11
Kildare 0-12

by Aisling Clery

First half goals from Emma Duggan and Niamh Gallogly proved crucial as Meath defeated Kildare and booked their place in the 2024 TG4 Leinster Senior Football final on May 12th in Croke Park. Duggan and Gallogly hit 2-4 between them in a game where they had to fight all the way to the finish.

Kildare were 2-7 to 0-5 adrift at the break and a much improved third quarter brought the deficit back to three points. However, they failed to land the killer blow and Meath reassembled and tagged on points through Meadhbh Byrne, Megan Thynne and Gallogly to ensure the win.

Emma Duggan took the opening score of the game when she turned her marker and finished off with her right boot on two minutes. Kildare responded immediately with Niamh Farrelly converting a free at the other end.

Aoife Rattigan found Hazel McLoughlin in an inch of space and McLoughlin’s long range effort bounced off the bar before going over for Kildare to take the lead on 6 minutes.

However, the lead didn’t last long as Meath responded quickly with Aoibhín Cleary and Máire O’Shaughnessy each pointing from distance inside sixty seconds to retake the lead. Meath extended their lead to two points when Ciara Smyth hit her first point of the game on 11 minutes.

A mistake in the Kildare defence saw Emma Duggan latch onto possession and she sent the ball to Shelly Melia who popped it over the bar. Duggan added a converted free on thirteen minutes as Meath started to open up a gap.  Ciara Smyth and Gallogly worked hard to feed the Kildare attack while Mia Doherty and Aoife Rattigan worked earnestly for the Royals.

Kildare were finding it difficult to win their kickout and were punished when Meath put daylight between the sides on eighteen minutes, Emma Duggan fired past Mary Hulgraine.

Kildare pulled one back on twenty-two minutes when Ellen Dowling converted a free and while Kildare were attacking the Meath defence dealt well with Lilywhite attacks. However, a sweeping team move was finished brilliantly by Ruth Sargent.

Meath nabbed goal number two right before the break. Ciara Smyth collected the ball and delivered a timely pass to Gallogly who finished low and hard to the net. Farrelly converted her second free for Kildare and it was Meath who led 2-7 to 0-5 at the break.

Kildare brought the deficit back to seven points on thirty-four minutes when Ellen Dowling pointed her second of the game. However, early second half pressure from Kildare yielded little in the way of changing the scoreboard.

Hulgraine relinquished possession and the Meath attack had to settle for a Marion Farrelly point but two Niamh Farrelly frees brought Kildare back to within six points on forty-three minutes.

Substitute Erin Brereton Foley brought the game back to five points before Neasa Dooley hit two scores to make it a three point game.

That’s as close as Kildare got as Meath closed out the game. Meadhbh Byrne hit Meath’s second point of the second half to restore a four point cushion while a quick free set Megan Thynne through and she added a point of her own.

Kildare did threaten Meath’s goals in the final moments but McGuirk saved brilliantly and while Sarah Munnelly added a long range score, Meath hung on for victory.

SCORERS: Meath: E Duggan 1-3 (2f), N Gallogly 1-1, M O’Shaughnessy 0-1, A Cleary 0-1, M Thynne 0-1, S Melia 0-1, C Smyth 0-1, M Farrelly 0-1, M Byrne 0-1.

Kildare: N Farrelly 0-4 (4f), N Dooley 0-2, E Dowling 0-2 (1f), R Sargent 0-1, H McLoughlin 0-1, E Brereton Foley 0-1, S Munnelly 0-1.

MEATH: M McGuirk (C), Á Sheridan, MK Lynch, N Troy, N Gallogly, L Young, K Newe, M O’Shaughnessy, A Cleary, M Thynne, S Melia, C Smyth, E Moyles, M Farrelly, E Duggan.

Subs: C Lawlor for Sheridan (’15), M Byrne for Farrelly (’40), A McCabe for Cleary (’59)

KILDARE: M Hulgraine, F Troute, E O’Toole, M Doherty, L Murtagh, R Sargent, L Gilbert, G Clifford (C), H McLoughlin, T Duggan, E Dowling, C Sullivan, N Dooley, N Farrelly, A Rattigan.

Subs: L Lenehan for O’Toole (‘15), L Doran for McLoughlin (’20), E Brereton Foley for Rattigan (’41), S Munnelly for Doherty (’56), H Tyrrell for G Clifford (‘57)

Referee: Paul McCaughey (Westmeath).

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