Munster U16 A Championship Final
Kerry 3-9 Tipperary 2-5
Kerry are the 2018 U/16 Munster champions after a hard fought victory over an excellent Tipperary side in sun swept Mallow last Saturday.
Kerry came into the game as firm favourites to lift the title but were put to the pin of their collar for a large portion of the game as Tipperary showed the type of form that they hadn’t displayed in earlier rounds of the competition. Kerry had defeated Tipperary by 21 points in March , but it was a totally different game this time.
Tipperary started brightly and Ava Fennessy pointed in the first minute of the game. Kerry got a great boost 2 minutes later when Clodagh Evans struck a superb shot into the bottom corner of Saoirse Teer’s net for a great goal. Teer was called into action straight afterwards and had to produce a good save to keep Danielle O’Leary’s goal effort out.
From here on though Tipperary began to dominate as Kerry struggled with their strong running game. The livewire Fennessy added 2 more points and wing back Alison Connolly added another to push them 0–4 to 1 goal ahead with 17 minutes gone in the contest. Tipperary did kick some bad wides in the meantime though, and this would ultimately cost them later on in the game.
Kerry were thankful to goalkeeper Ciara Butler who produced 2 world class saves in the space of a minute to deny Tipperary. As if stung by this let off, Kerry replied with an excellent point from Clodagh Evans after good work involving Gemma Kearney, Danielle O’Leary and Siofra O’Shea. The Tipperary reply was instant however, and Ashling Ryan scored a goal from a free kick after her effort for a point ended up in the Kerry net.
Kerry got a life line on the stroke of half time when Ella Teahan pointed after a strong run, and as the half time whistle sounded, Tipperary took a 1-4 to 1-2 lead in at the break.
Tipperary started the brighter in the second half and an Ashling Ryan free kick pushed them 3 ahead before Siofra O’Shea replied a minute later with a pointed free for Kerry. It was from this point on that the game began to change in Kerry’s favour. Kerry manager Rory Kilgallen instructed his players to push up on Tipperary’s kickout, and with the wind rising in their favour, they proceeded to dominate their opponents for the rest of the contest. There were positional changes as well, with Maud Kelly moving to the centre half back position, and Danielle O’Leary moving into full forward.
Kerry scored 1-6 without reply between the 36th and 59th minute to firmly put Tipperary to the sword. International basketballer Siofra O’Shea , who was now operating at centre half forward, chipped in with 4 points (2 frees), while the hard working Mary O’Connell and Ella Teahan contributed 2 more..Kerry’s goal came in the 42nd minute from Danielle O’Leary after she took on the Tipperary defence with a strong run before clinically finishing to the back of the net.
Kerry were now rampant and O’Shea was unlucky when her punched effort for a goal came off the butt of the Tipperary post. Tipperary got a lifeline in the 60th minute when the excellent Caitlinn Kennedy scored a goal directly from a 14 metre free kick to make it a 4 point game, 2-9 to 2-5. Kerry were not to be out done however, and Siofra O’Shea put the icing on the cake when she scored the goal of the game after an electric move involving Rachel Dwyer and Danielle O’Leary. The final whistle sounded soon afterwards, and Kerry were crowned Munster U16 A champions.
Kerry captain Rachel Dwyer received the Munster cup and gave a rousing speech in front of the delighted Kerry supporters. Siofra O’Shea was presented with the Player of The Match award after a superb display from the Southern Gaels girls.
Kerry will now go on to play the winners of the Dublin v Kildare Leinster final in the All Ireland semi final on July 4th.
Kerry Ciara Butler, Maud Kelly, Rachel O’Connor, Ava Doherty, Gemma Kearney, Rachel Dwyer, Aoife Dillane, Mary O’Connell (0-1), Aisling O’Connell, Rachel Kilgallen, Danielle O’Leary (1 goal), Ella Teahan (0-2), Clodagh Evans (1-1), Siofra O’Shea (1-5, 3f), Mary Collins. Subs; Kerri Ann Hanrahan (M Collins, 45 mins), Ciara McCarthy (C Evans 60th min), Roisin Griffin (E Teahan 60th min).
Tipperary Saoirse Deer, Megan Heffernan, Dervla Heffernan, Michelle Cronin, Alison Connolly (0-1), Carrie Davey, Ellen Moore, Caitlinn Kennedy (1 goal f), Orla Winston, Ashling Ryan(1 goal f, 1pt f) , Ava Fennessy (0-3), Rosanna Kelly, Leah Coen, Maeve McGuigan, Emer McCarthy. Subs Queva O’Meara (O Winston 38th min),Caoimhe Mulcahy (A Ryan 50th min), Ciara Dwan (L Coen 51st min), Rachel Moore (M Cronin 51st min).
Referee Colin McTaggart (Cork)