Sarah Creagh was in action today against Kilkenny.
Laois were back in the Leinster Senior Camogie Championship this year after overcoming Westmeath in the Intermediate Final last year.
Kilkenny on the other hand have been very dominant in the senior, scene winning their last All-Ireland senior title just two years ago.
Rathdowney GAA was the venue for this inaugural transition for Laois Ladies into the Senior Leinster Championship. The sun was shining and playing conditions were ideal with a slight breeze in Laois's favor for the first half.
John Dermody got the game started with Laois winning possession but with the nerves of the occasion getting to the girls, they overcarried the ball and a free was awarded to Kilkenny.
Kilkenny's Denise Gaule made no mistake and popped the placed ball over the bar. The Laois backline were under severe pressure, and with a great clearance down the line by Joan Dollard, the Kilkenny backs quickly worked the ball up again only for Julianne Malone to strike the back of the net for the first of Kilkenny's six goals.
From the puck out Kilkenny gained possession and Malone ran towards goal, but Laois goalkeeper Laura Dunne was quick to react and blocked the shot, but only into the hands of Grace O'Donnell to strike the net for Kilkenny's second goal.
Julianne Malone added another two points from play before Kilkenny got their hat trick past Dunne, this time by captain Shelly Farrell. Kilkenny were cruising along with their scoring before Laois's Lizzy Ryan got Laois on the score board from a great ball out of the back line by Roisin Kilmartin to Sarah Creagh, which was fed on to Ryan to split the posts.
Credit to Laois goalkeeper Laura Dunne with her quick reaction as Kilkenny were aiming for goals, but had to settle for points during the first half. Kilkenny did manage points through Malone, O'Donnell, Meg Farrell and placed balls from Gaule.
Niamh Dollard, with her accurate free taking, added to Laois's scoreboard on 18 minutes, along with Alison McEvoy's placed ball out on the 65. Kilkenny's fourth goal came from a solo run by Malone around the Laois back line, only to be halted by Dunne in goals who cleared to the side.
The quick-reacting Michelle Quilty slammed the back of the net giving Dunne no chance. Laois went in at half time 19 points down; Kilkenny 4-10 Laois 0-3.
The second half saw Kilkenny carry on from where they left off in the first half with Jenny Clifford splitting the posts from play. Gaule added another point from a placed ball before O'Donnell tried to sneak one past Dunne in goals, but again Laura was well aware and blocked her shot, only to have Miriam Walshe drive it past her for Kilkenny's fifth goal.
Niamh Dollard pointed from a placed ball before Laois got to strike Kilkenny's goals from a free taken by Alison McEvoy into the hands of the young Kirsten Keenen, who in turn struck the back of the net. Dollard added another placed ball for Laois's final score of the game.
Kilkenny players Katie Power, Danielle Morrissey and Kellyanne Doyle got their names on the score sheet for the day. On the final whistle Kilkenny were clear winners with a 28 point victory over Laois, but it could have been worse only for the quick reacting Laura Dunne in the Laois Goals.
Kilkenny were classy to watch and it was a great experience for Laois to get the chance to play a senior team. Laois players Sarah Anne Fitzgerald, Casey Conroy and Joyce Dunne will return after injuries and strengthen the panel in preparation for the All-Ireland series, which commences the weekend of 16th/17th June away against Wexford.
Laois have Cork, Carlow, Derry, Down and Wexford in their group of the All-Ireland Championship.
Scorers: Niamh Dollard 0-4, Kirsten Keenan 1-0, Alison Mc Evoy 0-2, Lizzy Ryan 0-1.
Team: Laura Dunne; Olga Parkinson, Mairead Burke, Aoife Hyland; Joan Dollard, Aisling O'Dea, Roisin Kilmartin; Alison McEvoy, Sarah Creagh; Sile Burke, Naimh Dollard, Rosemarie Bermingham; Amy Loughman, Jenny Mc Evoy, Lizzy Ryan. Subs: Kirsten Keenan for Joan Dollard; Aoife Burke for Sarah Creagh; Molly O'Connor for Roisin Kilmartin; Eimear Guidera for Sile Burke; Niamh Coss for Aoife Hyland.
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