A crucial ten minute period late in the game when Laois were harshly reduced to 14 players proved pivotal in this encounter as Kildare took full advantage kicking four unanswered points to turn a one point deficit into what turned out to be a match winning lead in Birr on Monday.
TG4 All Ireland SFC Qualifiers
The game was evenly balanced when Aisling Quigley was harshly shown the yellow card and sin binned for ten minutes after an innocuous enough looking challenge on Maria Moolick out near the sideline. In contrast to the dismissal of the influential Laois full-back, Kildare’s Aisling Lambe escaped similar punishment for a far more cynical foul on a Laois player much closer to her goals. That lack of consistency from the referee swung what otherwise was a finely balanced game between two evenly matched sides.
The sides were level six times in total in the opening 50 minutes and it would have gone right down to the wire had parity been maintained in terms of numbers.
Both sides created several good goalscoring opportunities but a real feature of the game was the quality of the goalkeeping on display from both net minders.
Late in the first-half Laois’ Caoimhe Dollard made three great saves to keep her side in the game while in the closing minutes when the game was on the line Kildare’s Mary Hulgraine made two great stops of her own including one in the last minute to deny Laois captain Tracey Lawlor a dramatic late equaliser.
Entering the final quarter Mary Kirwan edged Laois back in front but moments later Aisling Quigley was sin binned and a balanced game was thrown out of kilter.
Kildare took full advantage kicking four unanswered points to move three points clear. Laois threw everything at Kildare in the closing minutes but they were twice denied an all important goal.
A powerful shot from Mary Kirwan was brilliantly saved by Hulgraine and after Sarah Quigley had reduced the gap to two, a last second drive from Tracey Lawlor was again saved by the Kildare ‘keeper as the Lilywhite Ladies held on for the win.
See this week’s Leinster Express for full report