The Laois Junior Camogie team saw their first action of 2012 under their new management team led by coach Mattie Collier and selectors Mick Lennon and Mary Dunne, when they met recently crowned Division 3 League Champions Kildare in the first round of the Leinster Championship.
On a dry gusty afternoon in Ballykelly, the Laois girls saw quite a few reasonable scoring chances go astray throughout the match.
However, midfeilder Elaine Mahony got them off to a good start when she scored a lovely point from play. Her score was soon answered to when Kildares left corner forward Róisín O’Connell scored a point. The teams exchanged wides before Laois captain and Soaring Star Louise Mahony scored her first point of the game from a free.
Kildare’s full forward Louise Keatley scored the next two points from play and Suzy O’Connell scored a point from a 45 to leave Laois trailing by 0-4 to 0-2 after 20 minutes. Centre forward Olga Parkinson set up Ashling Burke on the wing for a well worked point to narrow the gap and Louise Mahony brought the sides level, and then moved one point clear from placed balls to go in at the break on a scoreline of Laois 0-5 Kildares 0-4.
Soon after half time, Kildares free taker Suzy O’Connell drew the sides level again. Laois went ahead again when Elaine Mahony laid off a hand pass to Laois’s other Soaring Star Sarah-Anne Fitzgerald who made no mistake putting the ball over the bar. Louise Mahony added another point, again from a free, to put Laois ahead by two points.
Suzy O’Carroll closed the gap to one point again from a free before Louise Keatley got a touch to a dropping ball from Suzy O’Connell to score a goal for Kildare which would signal the beginning of a surge in scores from the Kildare side. Emma Phelan replaced Joanne Prior in the full forward line in an effort to freshen up the Laois attack, but before she had a chance to settle in Kildare hd scored another three points.
Yvonne O’Neill was introduced into the Laois attack when Olga Parkinson had to leave the pitch due to injury. Sarah-Anne Fitzgerald closed the gap by a point from a free, but that was cancelled out by Suzy O’Connell in the final minute of the game. Notable perfrmances from the Mahony sisters at midfeild, centre-forward Olga Parkinson, goalkeeper Laura Dunne and backs Sarah-Anne Fitzgerald, Emer Delaney and Ann-Marie Purcell kept the Laois girls in touch and showed promise for the campaign ahead.
LAOIS: Laura Dunne; Catriona Downey, Anne Marie Purcell, Emer Moynan; Mairéad Burke, Sarah Anne Fitzgerald, Emer Delaney; Louise Mahony (captain), Elaine Mahony; Ashling Burke, Olga Parkinson, Joan Dollard; Joanne Prior, Ashling Dunphy, Síle Burke. Subs: Emma Phelan for Joane Prior, Yvonne O’Neill for Olga Parkinson, Kelly O’Neill and Claire Fitzgerald.