Kilkenny rally to deny Laois semi-final chance in Littlewoods National League

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Kilkenny rally to deny Laois semi-final chance in Littlewoods National League

Lizzy Ryan in possession for Laois against Kilkenny.

Heywood Community School was the venue for Littlewoods Ireland National League decider between Laois and Kilkenny.

Laois 3-5

Kilkenny 2-10

Struggling to obtain pitches around the county, Heywood'S all-weather pitch was the only available one to Laois Camogie on a dry, sunny evening. With Kilkenny having not lost a match and Laois looking for a win to have a slight chance of a semi-final placing, this game was going to be intense between the neighbouring sides.

Laois goalie Laura Dunne was called into action from the throw in to pull off an on-the-line stop and clear down the lines. Laois were awarded a free soon after, and Niamh Dollard stepped up to split the posts. Dollard added another point from play after receiving a ball from every reliable Aisling Burke.

Kilkenny's Stefi Fitzgerald returned with a point of her own in the seventh minute before Rachel Kelly split the posts from a placed ball. Kilkenny were awarded a free on the 40 where Kelly stepped up and lofted it into the square. Laura Dunne reacted quickly to clear the ball, only for it to go into the hands of Kilkenny’s Fitzgerald to fire into the top corner of the net.

Kelly added another two points before Dollard got to put one over the bar for the O’Moore ladies. With half-time closing in, Kilkenny got a goal with a hand pass around Dunne from Rachel Kelly. This put Laois seven points down coming out to start a second half - Laois 0-3 Kilkenny 2-4.

Laois came out of the blocks fired up and Dollard split the posts two minutes in. Kilkenny popped one over from a 45 before a midfield free taken by Alison McEvoy came into the hands of Lizzy Ryan, who rattled the Kilkenny net.

Kilkenny replied with two points from Mary O’Connell before Ryan got to strike goal again, and this from a placed ball taken again by McEvoy into the square where Ryan reacted quickest.

McEvoy herself was fouled out on the 40, and Niamh Dollard stepped up to land one past Kilkenny goalkeeper Breen to put Laois up by a point with seven minutes to go.

Kilkenny came back hunting and Dunne had to pull off some incredible stops, but with sharp shooting from long range by Kelly and Fitzgerald, Kilkenny came out two-point winners.

Laois now travel to Armagh next Sunday to finish out the National League. After that will be the Leinster Senior Championship where they face Kilkenny at the end of the month.

LAOIS

Scorers: Niamh Dollard 1-4, Lizzy Ryan 2-0, Rosemaire Bermingham 0-1.

Team: Laura Dunne (St Brigid’s); Aoife Collier (Camross), Mariead Burke (Camross), Niamh Coss (St Brigid’s); Joan Dollard (The Harps), Aisling Burke (Captain, Camross), Roisin Kilmartin (St Brigid’s); Sarah Creagh (St Brigid’s), Kirsten Keenan (Camross); Sile Burke (Camross), Niamh Dollard (Camross), Rosemarie Bermingham (O’Moores); Amy Loughman (O’Moores), Rebecca Williams (O’Moores), Lizzy Ryan (Camross). Subs: Sara Cuddy (Camross) for Collier; Molly O'Connor (The Harps) for Coss; Aoife Burke (Camross) for J Dollard; Jenny McEvoy (O'Moores) for Keenan; Alison McEvoy (O'Moore's) for Williams.