Ladies bounce back in Brosna
Lidl NFL Division 1: Kerry 2-14 - Mayo 2-6
The Kerry ladies bounced back in impressive fashion when they comprehensively defeated Mayo by eight points in Round 2 of the league at Brosna last Sunday.
A haul of 1-5 by ace attacker Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh was a huge help to the Kerry cause, but manager Graham Shine will be well pleased with the improvement throughout the team after the disappointing round one defeat to Cork.
Kerry made three changes to their starting personnel from the Cork game, and welcomed back the influential Lorraine Scanlon to their midfield. Newcomer Maeve Barry also put in a very good shift, while Eilis O'Leary had her best outing in a Kerry senior jersey. Along with Ni Mhuircheartaigh, Sarah Houlihan was a real livewire in the Kerry attack and caused the Mayo defence endless problems, as well as contributing five points.
Kerry got off to a great start when Eilish O Leary pointed in the first minute, although she will be disappointed that she didn't goal with only Mayo netminder Niamh Neary to beat.
Further points followed from Sarah Houlihan and two Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh frees, before Mayo's Aileen Gilroy finally got the westerners off the mark with a point in the 15th minute.
The Kerry defence were defending solidly as a group with Aislinn Desmond and Deirdre Kearney in particular, repelling everything that the Mayo attack could throw at them.
Their endeavour was rewarded in the 17th minute when Ni Mhuircheartaigh goaled, after a Houlihan high fielded and laid off.
Kerry did breathe a sigh of relief it the 19th minute when Fiona McHale hit the butt of the upright when a goal looked on, but they attacked straight afterwards and Houlihan scored a good point off her right. Mayo did add a further two points from frees before half-time, but Houlihan and Eilish O'Leary responded once more to see Kerry take a 1-7 to 0-3 lead in at the break.
Whatever hope Mayo had of launching a second half comeback was soon dispelled when Maeve Barry goaled after 30 seconds as her shot for a point dipped in over Neary's head and into the net.
Brid Ryan pointed straight afterwards and Kerry looked out of sight. Credit to Mayo who kept plugging away, and with Fiona McHale showing stout resistance in the middle of the field, Niamh and Grace Kelly added points to reduce the gap to nine points.
Mayo were threatening, and Laura Fitzgerald in the Kerry goal was forced to pull off a super save in the 45th minute. McHale pointed for Mayo, but Kerry were still firmly in control, and Houlihan with two frees and Ní Mhuircheartaigh pulled them further ahead.
Mayo did score two goals near the end of the game when Aileen Gilroy scored a cracker in the 54th minute, and Sinead Cafferkey slotted home a penalty after Tamara O'Connor was brought down.
Kerry were not to be outdone though and after Kate O'Sullivan made a brave block in defence, Ní Mhuircheartaigh put the icing on the cake in the 65th minute after a good interchange of passes with Scanlon.
Next up for the Kerry Ladies is away to Monaghan in Iniskeen next Sunday at 12 noon as part of a double header with the Kerry senior men. Monaghan have lost both of their opening round games to Galway and Cork and will be hoping to bounce back from these defeats.
They will be looking to players like Rosemary and Cora Courtney, Aoife and Ciara McAnespie, and Hannah Kingham to trouble the Kerry girls. They are very much a team in transition however, and Kerry are well capable of going south with the points.
Kerry didn't travel well in the league last year however, and Monaghan on their home patch will be a very difficult proposition.
Kerry: Laura Fitzgerald, Elish Lynch, Aislinn Desmond, Aisling O Connell,Deirdre Kearney Ciara Murphy, Kate O Sullivan, Maeve Barry, Lorraine Scanlon(0-1), Andrea Murphy, Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh (1-5, 2f), Sarah Houlihan (0-5,3f), Brid Ryan (0-1), Eilish O Leary (0-2), Aoife Geaney Subs: Fiadhna Tangney for A Murphy, 40, Amy Foley for B Ryan, 46, Sophie Lynch for A Geaney, 46, Emma Dineen for M Barry, 53, Deirdre Geaney for E O'Leary, 56, Siobhan Goodwin for Ni Mhuircheartaigh, 65, Caoimhe O'Sullivan for K O'Sullivan, 65
Mayo: Niamh Neary, Eilish Ronayne, Sarah Tierney, Sadbh Larkin, Orla Conlon, Marie Corbett, Doirean Hughes, Clodagh McManamon, Fiona McHale (0-1), Sinead Cafferkey (1-1,1pen), Aileen Gilroy (1-0), Sarah Mulvihill, Niamh Kelly (0-2), Rachel Kearns, Grace Kelly (0-2,1f) Subs: Shauna Howley for R Kearns, half-time, Amy Dowling for S Mulvihill, 33, Saoirse Ludden for G Kelly, 51, Tamara O'Connor for C McManamon, 56, Nicola O'Malley for O Conlon (inj), 58
Referee: Keith Delahunty (Tipperary)