Houlihan hits form in Kerry cakewalk
KERRY and Clare completed the quarter-final line-up for the 2010 TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC with comfortable round-two qualifier victories yesterday.
Kerry followed up their notable win against Mayo last Monday by accounting for beaten Ulster finalists Armagh on a 1-19 to 2-7 scoreline at Pairc Chiarain, Athlone.
Sarah Houlihan notched 1-5 for the Kerry girls and Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh added 0-5 as the Kingdom booked their place in the last eight.
At half-time, Kerry were well in control and led by 1-12 to 2-2.
Maria O'Donnell scored two first-half goals for the Orchard County, but Kerry had a good spread of scorers as Houlihan bagged 1-1 before half-time as Ni Mhuircheartaigh helped herself to five points.
Ni Mhuircheartaigh was sin-binned in the second half, but Armagh couldn't take advantage of the extra player and Kerry cruised to a comfortable win.
At Claughaun, Clare produced a strong second-half performance to see off Tipperary.
Rachel Lenihan's first-half goal helped Clare to lead by 1-7 to 0-7 at the break, before the Banner County pulled away in the second period, helped by 1-1 from Eimear Considine.
Tipp lost their way in the second half and Clare, inspired by the outstanding Niamh O'Dea, were much more economical in front of goal as they clinched a 12-point win.
On Saturday, Tyrone and Laois proved far too good for Sligo and Kildare respectively in a double-header at Cusack Park, Mullingar.
A six-day turnaround proved too much for beaten Connacht finalists Sligo as they were hammered by a rejuvenated Tyrone on a 5-20 to 2-7 scoreline. Sarah Connolly helped herself to a hat-trick of goals, including two in the first half as Tyrone went on to lead by 3-12 to 0-4 at the break.
Aisling O'Kane hit Tyrone's other first-half goal before player-of-the-match Gemma Begley -- from the penalty spot -- and Connolly raised the green flags in the second half.
Laois, beaten by Dublin in the Leinster decider, hit back with a 3-13 to 1-11 victory against provincial rivals Kildare. Player-of-the-match Tracy Lawlor scored 2-4 to help Laois, managed by former county star Joe Higgins, on their way to a nine-point success against Kildare.
The crucial score was Lawlor's first goal in the final minute of the first half as the midfielder's free bounced off the unfortunate Aisling Savage and ended up in the back of the net.
Some confusion surrounded the first-half tally racked up by Laois, but it was finally confirmed as 1-9, while Kildare had responded with 0-4 by the midway point.
Kildare hit back with a Tracy Noone goal early in the second half, but Laois were back in firm control of the game when Aisling Kehoe netted a superb 44th-minute goal to hand the winners a 2-11 to 1-5 lead. Lawlor added a second goal late in the game, but it was another fortuitous effort as Kildare goalkeeper Aisling O'Donovan could only parry a long-range free into her own net.