Waterford ready for Cork challenge after double over Kerry
By DECLAN ROONEY
Waterford 1-12 Kerry 2-4
Waterford ladies manager Ciaran Curran says his side are looking forward to locking horns with last year’s TG4 All-Ireland finalists, Cork, after they claimed a second win over Kerry in a week to launch their TG4 Munster SFC drive.
Waterford had to stave off a late charge from Kerry though after Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh hit her second goal of the game with eight minutes remaining, but then saw her second penalty of the day brilliantly saved by Rosie Landers three minutes from time, which would have given Kerry the lead.
Instead Waterford kicked on and eased to the win with the last three points of the game – fittingly one of them came from the outstanding Eimear Fennell.
Once again this year the TG4 Munster championship is being run on round robin basis with two of the three competing teams set to meet in the final, while Waterford will seal their place in the decider if they can avoid defeat to Cork in a fortnight.
“Obviously Cork are at the top of the game, but the girls will look forward to that challenge,” said Curran.
“It will be difficult, but we are looking forward to it now. Hopefully we can progress on to playing in a Munster final now, that’d be another step forward.”
Six days earlier Kerry and Waterford had sparkled at Parnell Park in the Lidl NFL Division 2 final, and while the Kerry defence was a lot tighter in Ennis, they were unable to stop the influence of Eimear Fennell.
Kerry had gotten off to a great start thanks to a free from Sarah Houlihan and a successful Ní Mhuircheartaigh penalty in the 11th minute, but Eimear Fennell bagged 1-1 for her team before half-time to level matters at 1-2 each.
Waterford kicked seven wides in that opening period, but the second-half was far more productive. The next seven points of the game were all scored by Waterford as Maria Delahunty began to weigh in with scores, and although Ní Mhuircheartaigh closed the gap to two points with eight minutes to go, the penalty save from Landers after she had earlier denied Niamh Carmody, meant Waterford ran out impressive winners.
“Great credit to the girls because it’s difficult to beat Kerry once, so to beat them twice in one week is a great achievement,” said a thrilled Curran.
“It was a very different game. We expected that, because both teams put in a huge effort last week. Kerry were very unlucky last week by not taking their goal chances.
“We rode our luck there as well and you’d have to say the turning point was when we had the penalty save. We kicked on from there.”
Scorers – Waterford: E Fennell 1-3, M Delahunty 0-3 (2f), E Murray 0-1, C Fennell 0-1, R Tobin 0-1, M Ryan 0-1, A Wall 0-1, K Murray 0-1.
Kerry: L Ní Mhuircheartaigh 2-1 (1-0pen), S Houlihan 0-2 (2f), N Carmody 0-1.
Waterford: R Landers; A Mullaney, C McGrath, R Casey; Kate McGrath, Karen McGrath (c), R Tobin; E Murray, K Murray; K Hogan, C Fennell, M Delahunty; E Fennell, M Ryan, A Wall.
Subs: C McCarthy for Mullaney (56), S Dunphy for E Fennell (60).
Kerry: K Cronin; E Lynch, A Desmond, C O’Brien; S Lynch, A O’Connell, M O’Keeffe; L Scanlon, A Brosnan (c); C Murphy, A Galvin, N Carmody; S Houlihan, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh, H O’Donoghue.
Subs: L Coughlan for Desmond (14), E Dineen for O’Keeffe (39), F Tangney for Galvin (47), B Ryan for Brosnan (57), E McGlynn for Houlihan (60).
Referee: Kevin O’Brien (Limerick).