Sports

Offalyís late flourish not enough to overhaul Kilkenny

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Offalyís late flourish not enough to overhaul Kilkenny thumbnailSenior Referee Gavin Donegan Dublin with Senior Captains Arlene Watkins Offaly and Shelly Farrell Kilkenny before the Leinster Camogie Senior Championship Final at St Brendan's Park, Birr. Picture Credit: iLivephotos.com

A LATE Offaly flourish was not enough to capture an elusive first Leinster Senior Camogie title as they came up just short against Kilkenny in the final played at St Brendanís Park, Birr on Saturday last.
Playing catch-up from inside the first minute when they conceded a goal, Offaly were always chasing the game but they never gave up the fight. However, their rally came too late to overturn the Cats, who had been reduced to 14 players 10 minutes into the second half.
Kilkenny showed a greater sharpness and seemed to be able to pick off their scores a bit easier than Offaly. Offaly struggled to get scores from play, and their attack found it difficult to break down a tight Kilkenny defence. It wasnít until those final minutes that they began to get their reward and the only pity from their point of view was that their comeback didnít begin a little sooner as they may have really rattled Kilkenny then.
Offaly got a terrible start and conceded a goal after just 26 seconds. Offaly had the benefit of the wind in the first half but they werenít able to make full use of it. Kilkenny dropped one of their forwards back as a third midfielder and they were able to cut off the supply to the Offaly attack, making it difficult for Offaly to make real headway.
Offaly worked hard to get back into the game and after falling seven points down managed to get the deficit down to four points at half time, 1-7 to 0-6. Offaly had come more into the game but their passing wasnít as crisp as Kilkennyís and too often the final pass put the player under pressure. Kilkenny were a bit more clinical and three points in three minutes from Katie Power early in the second quarter were a prime example of this.
A point early in the second half left Offaly just a goal behind but they were unable to build on that and Kilkenny got the next five points and the game had entered the final 10 minutes before Offaly scored again. They did outscore Kilkenny by 1-5 to 0-2 in the remaining minutes but ultimately they ran out of time.
Despite this defeat this was a good test for Offaly ahead of their All-Ireland championship opener away to Dublin the weekend after next. They showed a bit of character and had some good performances. Fiona Stephens, Grace Teehan and Triona McDonald did well in defence, Siobhan Flannery came into her own in the final quarter but they will need to get more scores from their attack where Arlene Watkins, Michaela Morkan and Grainne Dolan worked hard.
Kilkenny have now added the Leinster title to their national league crown and will be a feature in the All-Ireland series again. Anne Dalton, Catherine Foley and Davina Tobin did well in defence. Denise Gaule was accurate from placed balls and Katie Power, Michelle Quilty and Shelly Farrell were always a threat in attack.
Kilkenny got the ideal start when Anna Farrell linked up with Michelle Quilty and the latter kicked to the net after just 26 seconds. Denise Gaule added a free and a ë45í and Offaly were already chasing the game. Arlene Watkins got them off the mark after seven minutes but another Gaule free and a fine individual point from Anne Dalton stretched Kilkennyís lead.
Patrice Delaney pointed two Offaly frees but Kilkenny replied with three points from Katie Power to put them 1-7 to 0-3 up after 20 minutes. Offaly had the better of the rest of the half. A good run by Michaela Morkan brought a fine save out of Emma Kavanagh and Patrice Delaney pointed the ë45í and added a free before impressive wing back Grace Teehan pointed to cut the gap to 1-7 to 0-6 at half time.
Grainne Dolan had another Offaly point inside the first minute of the second half. Eleanor Clendennen kept Offaly in it with a fine save from Shelly Farrell. Meg Farrell did add a point and Michelle Quilty was also on target while an Offaly goal chance went abegging when Grainne Egan was brilliantly hooked by Anne Dalton and the danger was cleared.
Ten minutes into the half Kilkenny were reduced to 14 players when Anna Farrell was red carded for an incident spotted by the umpires after Offaly had cleared the ball. Offaly couldnít take advantage of the extra player and Kilkenny got the next three scores over the following 10 minutes all from Denise Gaule placed balls.
Offalyís first score in 21 minutes came from a Siobhan Flannery ë45í but Katie Power instantly replied. Siobhan Flannery pointed two more, from play and a free, before Shelly Farrell had Kilkennyís last score in the 58th minute as they still led by seven points. Siobhan Flannery went low from a free but the ball bounced up in the square and Jean Brady batted it over the bar. From another free a minute later Siobhan Flannery sent her shot low to the net and Offaly were within three of their rivals. The St Rynaghís player floated over another free but after five minutes of injury time, the referee blew for full time and Offaly were still two points behind. Another couple of minutes might have turned it around but Kilkenny held on for victory.

 

Match Analysis

 

The Teams
KILKENNY: Emma Kavanagh; Michelle Teehan, Catherine Foley, Colette Dormer; Claire Phelan, Anne Dalton, Davina Talbot; Denise Gaule, Edwina Keane; Meg Farrell, Katie Power, Shelly Farrell; Miriam Walsh, Anna Farrell, Michelle Quilty. Subs. Kellyann Doyle (for Edwina Keane, 44 mins), Julieann Malone (for Miriam Walsh, 48 mins), Niamh Deely (for Claire Phelan, 55 mins).
OFFALY: Eleanor Clendennen; Fiona Stephens, Ann Marie Guinan, Sarah Walsh; Grace Teehan, Roisin Egan, Triona McDonald; Orlagh Kirwan, Siobhan Flannery; Patrice Delaney, Grainne Dolan, Michaela Morkan; Debbie Flynn, Arlene Watkins, Grainne Egan. Subs. Linda Sullivan (for Grainne Egan,35 mins), Jean Brady (for Debbie Flynn, 46 mins), Mairead Jennings (for Patrice Delaney, 62 mins).
REFEREE: Gavin Donegan (Dublin).

Player Of The Match
Katie Power of Kilkenny played a decisive role. In a tight game she scored four points from play and was at the centre of many of their best attacks. Anne Dalton also played a big role for Kilkenny.
From an Offaly point of view, wing back Grace Teehan had a very impressive outing.

Moment Of The Match
Kilkenny got off to a flying start and scored 1-2 in the first three minutes. It left Offaly chasing the game. They fell seven points down at one stage and while they got the gap back to three points at one stage, that early gap left them too much ground to make up.

Referee Watch
Referee Gavin Donegan wasnít a huge factor in the game. He took the word of his umpires to issue a red card to Anna Farrell following an incident behind the play. Offaly might have got a couple of soft frees late on but overall a competent display by the referee.

Talking Point
Offalyís quest for a first Leinster senior crown continues. They have come close on a couple of occasions now but have just missed out, but ahead of the championship, they will be encouraged by their performances in the Leinster campaign and will hope to carry their good form in the All-Ireland series.

What's Next?
The All-Ireland championship begins the weekend after next, Offaly travel to play Dublin in their opening game while in the other group Kilkenny are away to Limerick.

Venue Watch
St Brendanís Park played host to a triple decker or Leinster Finals on Saturday and coped well with the schedule. The pitch was in very good order and overall arrangements for the finals were excellent.

Statistics
Wides: Kilkenny 8 (5 in first half) Offaly 4 (1 in first half)
Yellow Cards: Kilkenny 2 Offaly 2
Red Cards: Kilkenny 1 Offaly 0

The Scorers
Kilkenny; Denise Gaule (0-6, 0-4 frees, 0-2 ë45s), Katie Power (0-4), Michelle Quilty (1-1), Anne Dalton, Meg Farrell and Shelley Farrell (0-1 each).
Offaly; Siobhan Flannery (1-4, 1-2 frees, 0-1í45í), Patrice Delaney (0-4, 0-3 frees, 0-1 í45), Arlene Watkins, Grace Teehan, Grainne Dolan and Jean Brady (0-1 each).

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