Clifford helps Kilkenny minors to opening round win
by PRO on the 10th of February 2022
Tesco Minor ‘A’ Championship
by Martin Quilty
Kilkenny got the defence of their All-Ireland title off to the perfect start in Baltic Thomastown on Sunday last when they defeated neighbours Waterford.
Preparations were hampered before the start of the game with some changes having to be made after the Loreto’s tough game the previous day in the school’s All-Ireland semi-final in Galway which went to extra-time. You could tell there was fatigue in the Kilkenny team, they were sluggish, they fumbled a lot of possession and a lot of wayward handpasses allowed Waterford to take a 0-2 to 0-0 lead after 15 minutes. It took Kilkenny till the 16th minute to register their first score and it was worth the wait after Rachel Brennan put over a long range point from 40 metres.
Kilkenny were then dominant up to the half time whistle scoring six unanswered points.
Five coming from Amy Clifford the other from Áine Rohan.
Kilkenny had a comfortable lead at half time 0-7 to 0-2 but that was helped with a fierce gale behind the stripey women’s backs and the Déise women would have that in the second half.
At the start of the second half Amy Clifford who showed why she’s captain by leading from the front pointed from play after 32 minutes. Waterford reduced the margin with two Alannah O’Sullivan frees, but really they couldn’t break down the Kilkenny defence who were playing exceptionally.The Kilkenny management team had to be happy with what they saw. They haven’t had a full training session with their entire squad before the game and yet the players were playing with belief and with style, they weren’t cocky in what they did but they did it well and that showed in the 54th minute when Sofia Kerr got a ball out in midfield, she went on a solo before a lovely stick pass into Amy Clifford, Clifford saw the run from Rachel Brennan and a lovely handpass out the side door saw the Tullaroan native slot over a beautiful point.
It showed teamwork and patience and great skill. The loudest cheer of the day came when from corner back Laoise Nolan had made a long darting run up the right flank, she received the ball almost on the sideline and with ease and poise she slotted over a magnificent point.
The home side outscored the visitors 0-6 to 0-3 in the second half.
To be fair Ruth Phelan was never really tested in the Kilkenny goal while a couple of opportunities did present themselves to Waterford but they didn’t capitalise on them.
It was a good all-round performance, yes there is things to work on at training but they will be happy that they got over the first hurdle with a victory, they didn’t want to have to travel to Clare this weekend coming having to go and win to progress to the knockout stages, now they can go and potentially top the group and guarantee themselves a quarter-final spot at least.
I have to commend referee Gavin Donegan who contributed to an excellent game of Camogie by letting the game be played like it should be, he only got involved when he had to and referees usually get a lot of stick but the Dublin official had an excellent game.
Teams and Scorers
Kilkenny:- Amy Clifford 0-7 (0-4f); Rachel Brennan, Claire Doheny 0-2 each; Aine Rohan, Laoise Nolan 0-1 each
Waterford:- Alannah O’Sullivan 0-3 (0-3f); Eimear O’Neill, Alannah McNulty 0-1 each
Kilkenny: Ruth Phelan, Nathania Jackson, Moya O’Brien, Laoise Nolan, Katie Byrne, Emma Manogue, Rachel Brennan, Claire Doheny, Aine Rohan, Ellen Gunner, Amy Clifford, Amy Brennan, Sarah Hudson, Sofia Kerr, Emma Mulhall.
Subs: Lucy Kavanagh for E.Mulhall
Waterford: Hayleigh Acheson, Faye Murphy, Laoise Forrest, Maeve Sheridan, Bevin Bowdren, Aoife Hartley, Melaine Buck, Ellen Boylan, Eimear O’Neill, Alannah O’Sullivan, Alannah McNulty, Kelsie Obanya, Molly Comerford, Rachel O’Brien, Emma Fitzgerald.
Subs: Lily Ann McGill for R.O’Brien
Referee: Gavin Donegan (Dublin)
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