The Portlaoise U-17 girls side that bet Kinnegad at the weekend.
U-17 Girls Shield
Portlaoise U-17 girls welcomed Kinnegad to Rossleighan on Saturday for a lunch time kick off. These 2 teams played out a thrilling game in Kinnegad two weeks ago which the home team won 3-2.
Portlaoise started the game strongly taking full advantage of the strong breeze behind them. They pushed Kinnegad back from the kick-off and their high pressure meant Kinnegad struggled to get out of their own half. Half-chances fell to Sophie Scully and Alisha Delaney but Portlaoise could not convert.
Three good balls into the box from Rachel Horan corners caused confusion but again the Kinnegad defence held firm. The break through eventually came on 20 mins. Sophie Scully timed her run to latch onto a through ball and finished to the corner of the net.
This spurred Kinnegad on and they had their best spell of the game but the back four of Rachel Horan, Leah Malone, Ellen Rowney and Amy Donovan were up for the challenge. They dealt with every ball and used the possession well to set up attacks. Corina Hayes was assured in goals and although not busy she dealt with the chances and distributed the ball well.
The pressure from the front two of Alisha Delaney and Leah Bryne coupled with the energy of Ailbhe Quinn and Ava Prendergast in centre midfield was wearing Kinnegad down. Chloe Cuddy and Sophie Scully were a constant threat and on 30 mins, Sophie got through again to make it two-nil. Scully broke free again on the stroke of half-time to score her hat-trick.
Despite Kinnegad having the wind in the second half this half belonged to Portlaoise. In probably their best half of the season they dominated the game and played some great football.
Mairead Keane made a couple of good saves but her kick outs this half were excellent. She found a green jersey in space with almost every ball. Centre halves Leah Malone and Ellen Rowney marshalled the Kinnegad star striker. One marked her tight and the other covered the space behind. They won almost every ball and were intelligent in their build up play setting up numerous attacks. Rachel Horan linked repeatedly with Chloe Cuddy and they were a constant threat down the left. They set up numerous chances throughout the half.
Amy Donovan was solid at right back. She won tackle after tackle and her passing and clearances helped put Portlaoise in behind Kinnegad on the right flank. Ailbhe Quinn and Ava Prendergast dominated the centre of the park. They were always looking for the ball and supported the strikers constantly. Ailbhe would have scored except for a great save from the Kinnegad keeper. Leah Byrne and Alisha Delaney linked with the midfield and both strikers were very lively around the penalty area. The keeper twice denied Leah, making two impressive saves.
Alisha did score to make it four nil. She was calm in the box to finish well beyond the keeper. Mary Grehan, Isobel Peacham and Corinna Hayes all entered the game early in the second half while playing against such a strong wind and the level of football and their domination of the game never dropped.
Chloe Cuddy made it five-nil ten minutes before the end with a strong finish to the bottom corner. They now play Killeigh on Friday evening at 6pm in Rossleighan. Another big performance will be needed but they know another win will send them into the shield final.
Mairead Keane, Amy Donovan, Leah Malone, Ellen Rowney, Rachel Horan, Sophie Scully, Ailbhe Quinn, Ava Prendergast, Chloe Cuddy, Leah Byrne, Alisha Delaney, Isabel Peacham, Mary Grehan, Corinna Hayes, Taylor Leavy.