Rogers Strikes Late For Crucial First Win.

Kerry v Donegal Lidl National Football League Division 1 Round 3

Kerry 2-13 Donegal 2-12

There’s something about left legged players. They always seem to have that bit of flair and unpredictability in them that can delight you and drive you mad in equal measure.

On Sunday in Rathmore the Kerry ladies had two lefties that showed enough class and ingenuity to inspire their team to a well earned one point victory over high flying Donegal, in a game that Kerry simply had to win to avoid being caught up in a Division One relegation battle.

Not for the first time in a Kerry jersey Sarah Houlihan produced a top notch performance and her 8 points were a testament to her brilliance throughout the game. Houlihan had 2 off days against, against Cork and Dublin , but on Sunday everything she did was positive and she was a constant thorn in the Donegal side.

Equally so was wing forward Laura Rogers. A precocious underage talent, a series of injuries has delayed Rogers progress in becoming a star in the senior game. On Sunday with Kerry 2 points down, Rogers took off on a solo run and after waltzing past 3 Donegal defenders stuck the ball firmly into the back of the net . Kerry, now one point ahead with only 2 minutes left , played keep ball to see out the game as winners. Inspiring stuff when it was needed the most.

The game didn’t start so brightly for the Kerry girls. Donegal came out of the traps with all guns blazing and soon raced into a 4 point lead with just 5 minutes gone. Midfielder Karen Guthrie, who scored 2 of those points, was causing havoc as the Kerry midfield was struggling to get any foothold in the game. Kerry received a lifeline when Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh showed good poachers instincts to score a goal after Megan O’Connell made use of a long Sarah Murphy delivery to break the ball to the unmarked Ni Mhuircheartaigh who tapped it into the empty net.

Donegal replied with another point from Guthrie but good efforts from Ni Mhuircheartaigh, Houlihan and another leftie Miriam O Keefe, pushed Kerry 2 points ahead 1-4 to 0-5, with 14 minutes gone. Donegal then took over and scored 1-3 without reply as Kerry struggled with their kickouts.

First of all Kerry conceded a soft goal when a harmless looking Niamh Hegarty high ball was misjudged by Kerry goalkeeper Erris O’Carroll and corner forward Paula McGroarty was on hand to tap the ball into the empty net. Further Donegal points followed from Hegarty , Friel and dangerous full forward Geraldine McLaughlin .Houlihan steadied the ship for Kerry with 2 points, one from a free,  before Ni Mhuircheartaigh controversially had a goal disallowed as the referee adjudged her to have fouled her opponent when challenging for the ball.

Buoyed by this let off Donegal finished the first half as they had started and Hegarty and McLaughlin pointed to leave them 1-10 to 1-6 ahead at the break..

Some strong words from manager Graham Shine seemed to inspire his charges to a good start to the second half and Kerry put over 3 points in a row from Rogers, and 2 from Houlihan, to leave them just one in arrears. A bad Kerry wide was punished to the full by Donegal when Geraldine McLaughlin goaled from the kickout following a good long delivery over the top of the Kerry defence from Roisin Friel.

Donegal were now 5 ahead but Kerry refused to die. Houlihan put over 2 on the bounce with McLaughlin replying with one for Donegal. Ni Mhuircheartaigh pointed when a goal looked on to leave just 3 points in the game with 5 minutes left on the clock. Hegarty was sin binned for Donegal for back chat, and Houlihan pointed the free to bring it back to 2. Too little too late?

Rogers had different ideas and scored her wonder goal to finish off the Donegal challenge and gain 3 valuable league points for Kerry.

Kerry; Erris O’Carroll, Aislinn Desmond, Caroline Kelly, Eilis Lynch, Sarah Murphy Anna Galvin Ciara Murphy, Amanda Brosnan, Lorraine Scanlon , Laura Rogers 1-1) , Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh(1-3, 0-2f), Denise Hallissey, Sarah Houlihan(0-8, 0-5f), Megan O’Connell, Miriam O Keefe(0-1). Subs : Eilish O’Leary(O’Keeffe 25).


Donegal ;Laura Gallagher; Treasa Doherty, Ciara Hegarty, Kate Keaney; Theresa McCafferty, Nicole Mc McLaughlin, Shauna McGruddy; Katy Herron, Karen Guthrie (0-5, 1f); Grainne Houston, Niamh Hegarty (0-1), Eilish Ward; Roisin Friel (0-2), Geraldine McLaughlin (1-4,0-2f), Paula McCrory (1-0). Subs; Niamh McDaid(Houston 51).

Referee; N McCormack (Laois)