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Part one of Kilanerin double

Clonee edged out in high-scoring county final thriller




Orlaith Byrne (Clonee) and Anna Hughes (Kilanerin).

Orlaith Byrne (Clonee) and Anna Hughes (Kilanerin).






KILANERIN ‘A’ scored the first leg of a county ladies’ football championship Under-16 double when edging out Clonee in a thrilling Ferrycarrig Tree Care Division 1 Cup decider at St. Patrick’s Park on Monday of last week.

The north county club added the Division 4 silverware some 24 hours after the ‘A’ team had dethroned Clonee, who were technically the defending champions as their 2020 final showdown against Adamstown remains outstanding.

Kilanerin were 14-point winners during the sides’ group meeting. But such a margin was never likely to be repeated as the protagonists enjoyed respective dominant spells either side of half-time to find themselves deadlocked on 3-9 to 4-6.

That was before Kilanerin ended a scoreless fourth quarter with Bébhinn McDonald pointing them in front, and Keeva Steadmond putting the issue beyond doubt when blasting home an injury-time penalty.

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Kilanerin midfielder Anna Hughes was central to Bébhinn McDonald firing to the top corner of the country-end net after five minutes.

And Clonee defender Anna Tomkins effected a superb block before a turnover by team-mate Megan Hayes sparked a surge which saw midfielders Caoimhe Ryan and Orlaith Byrne combine for Byrne to net a tenth-minute equaliser (1-0 each).

Aisling Fitzpatrick pointed Kilanerin back in front before Clonee whipped up a storm between the 13th and 20th minutes to assert by double scores (2-2 to 1-1). Aoife Byrne fed Katie Murphy to goal before outstanding number 11 Orla O’Rourke and Caoimhe Ryan tagged on points.

Kilanerin then seized control as they kicked 2-5 without reply to eventually hit the front at half-time by 3-6 to 2-2.

Béibhinn McDonald pointed twice – the second after Steadmond crashed a free off the crossbar – and Steadmond (free) and Hughes made similar contributions before the second of the McDonald sisters, centre-forward Saoirse, was prominent as Aisling Fitzpatrick and Edie Byrne each netted late majors to help generate a seven-point advantage.

With Sarah Kirwan and Makayla Tobin-Cosgrave sprung from the bench at half-time, Clonee turned up the volume during the third quarter. They were sparked by midfielder Orlaith Byrne producing an inspiring burst direct from the throw-in to net after only 24 seconds, having played a neat one-two with Orla O’Rourke.

The sides traded points before Clonee resumed their crusade as Máire Byrne, substitute Tobin-Cosgrave and Katie Murphy pointed before Tobin-Cosgrave rattled the crossbar and Orla O’Rourke maximised the rebound to transform matters by 4-6 to 3-7 after 42 minutes.

Keeva Steadmond bridged the gap four minutes later with a couple of pointed frees before the floodlights further illuminated matters (3-9 to 4-6).

But there wasn’t a score for twelve minutes before free-taker Steadmond set up Béibhinn McDonald to edge Kilanerin back in front, and Abbie Murray forced a penalty which Steadmond netted off the underside of the crossbar a minute into injury-time (4-10 to 4-6).

A late exchange rounded off a quality duel which left Kilanerin mentors Enda McDonald, Wendy Owley, Anthony Byrne, Tara Fleming and Paddy Bolger beaming with pride over a group backboned by their recent county Féile Peil Division 1 champions.

Kilanerin: Mollie Levingstone; Eva O’Connor, Cliona McCarthy, Caoimhe Fleming; Ríadh Murphy (joint capt.), Róisín McGonigle, Sarah Weekes (joint capt.); Anna Hughes (0-1), Leah Owley-O’Reilly; Bébhinn McDonald (1-4), Saoirse McDonald, Keeva Steadmond (1-5, 0-3 frees, 1-0 pen.); Edie Byrne (1-0), Aisling Fitzpatrick (1-0), Abbie Murray (0-1). Subs. – Rachel Boland for Fleming (40), also Faith O’Connor, Lilly Kenny.

Clonee: Laura Kehoe; Keila Smyth, Sorcha O’Rourke (joint capt.), Anna Tomkins; Niamh Ryan, Mary Byrne, Megan Hayes; Caoimhe Ryan (0-1), Orlaith Byrne (2-0); Eabha Guinan, Orla O’Rourke (1-2), Máire Byrne (0-1); Grace Byrne, Katie Murphy (1-1), Aoife Byrne. Subs. – Makayla Tobin-Cosgrave (0-2) for G. Byrne (HT), Sarah Kirwan for A. Byrne (HT), also Sarah O’Brien, Róisín O’Rourke, Maeve Mimnagh, Áine Sharry, Rebecca Kavanagh (joint capt.).

Referee: Seán Whelan (St. Martin’s).