REPORT: Kildare Retain Their IFC Title!
TG4 LEINSTER INTERMEDIATE CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
By Daire Walsh
Roisin Byrne amassed a magnificent haul of 1-7 at Laois Hire O’Moore Park on Sunday to help Kildare defend their TG4 Leinster Intermediate Championship title against Wexford.
Having scored 0-10 as the Lilywhites claimed the Lidl National Football League Division 3 crown at the expense of Clare last month, Byrne has carried her sparkling form into this provincial series. This is the second year in succession that Kildare faced Wexford in a Leinster intermediate decider and despite the best efforts of Chloe Foxe, their Slaneyside counterparts came up short at the Portlaoise venue.
After initially opening the scoring with an early free by the ever-reliable Byrne, Kildare eventually doubled their cushion with a second point from midfielder Aoife Rattigan.
A third soon arrived from right corner-forward Ellen Dowling, before her opposite number Chloe Foxe got Wexford up and running off a routine close-range free. The Clongeen attacker reduced the gap to the bare minimum with a superb effort from play at the start of the second-quarter, only for dead-ball specialist Byrne to double her tally moments later.
Neasa Dooley also added her name to the Lilywhites’ scoresheet and while Foxe once again responded for the Slaneysiders, Byrne (free), defensive lynchpin Ruth Sargent and Dooley kicked answered points to give Kildare a firm foothold in the play.
Traded scores from Wexford centre-forward Catriona Murray and Byrne then followed to ensure the Lilies entered the interval with a 0-9 to 0-4 cushion.
That latter score was Byrne’s first from play and she had the Kildare faithful on their feet within 60 seconds of the restart as she rifled a shot to the top left-hand corner of the net. They had further reason to rejoice on 32 minutes when Dowling’s speculative shot floated over the head of Wexford netminder Leanne Moore for a second Kildare goal.
Although Wexford tagged on points through the boots of Foxe, Murray and Sarah Harding Kenny as the second period wore on, Byrne added three more scores to ensure Kildare led 2-12 to 0-7 inside the closing 10 minutes of the action.
Foxe displayed great perseverance to grab a 54th-minute goal for Wexford, but even though Emma Tomkins also added a late point, the 2022 TG4 All-Ireland intermediate finalists couldn’t halt the march of their opponents.
Scorers – Kildare: R Byrne 1-7 (0-4f), E Dowling 1-1, N Dooley 0-2, R Sargent, A Rattigan 0-1 each. Wexford: C Foxe 1-4 (0-3f), C Murray 0-2, S Harding Kenny, E Tomkins 0-1 each.
KILDARE: M Hulgraine; L Burke, L Lenehan, A Clifford; L Gilbert, R Sargent, S Munnelly; G Clifford, A Rattigan; C Sullivan, N Dooley, R Byrne; E Dowling, T Duggan, L Curran.
Subs: G Kenneally for Curran (43), L Murtagh for Munnelly (45), C Price for Dooley, M Doherty for Duggan (both 52), F Troute for Sullivan (57).
WEXFORD: L Moore; A Halligan, S Murphy, K English; K Tomkins, R Murphy, S Harding Kenny; A Walsh, C Banville; A Cullen, C Murray, C Donnelly; C Foxe, A Murphy, C Ní Nualláin.
Subs: B Breen for Cullen (39), A Manley for Banville, N English for Walsh (both 45), E Tomkins for Ní Nualláin (55), A Lacey for Donnelly (58).
Referee: F Shanahan (Dublin).