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Kilkerrin/Clonberne are still standing after titanic tussle

Kilkerrin/Clonberne 0-15

Kilmacud Crokes 1-10

(AET)

KILKERRIN/Clonberne held their nerve to emerge from an epic battle last Sunday and book their place in the All-Ireland senior ladies football final against Waterford’s Ballymacarbry.

Late points from Maeve Flanagan and Olivia Divilly finally put down the Kilmacud Crokes challenge after over 80 minutes of football.

Indeed, this was arguably the toughest challenge the Galway champions had faced since their last competitive defeat in the 2019 final against Cork’s Mourneabbey.

Twice in normal time, the Dublin outfit could have gone three clear but Kilkerrin/Clonberne hit back. Eva Noone looked to have nailed the winner before a Niamh Cotter equaliser. But when they did finally put themselves into a winning position, the reigning champions kept their composure and the ball!

The north Galway side suffered a blow that morning when manager Willie Ward couldn’t travel to due to illness, but former boss Michael Divilly, who led them to a first All-Ireland semi-final appearance in 2014, took the reins.

It took three minutes for the  first score when Nicola Ward was brought down and Eva Noone split the posts. Their lead was short-lived, however, as referee Patrick Smith penalised Chloe Costello for steps with Cotter converting the free.

Smith appeared to try letting the players get on with it leading to a physical contest. But he often, much to Kilkerrin/Clonberne’s frustration, pulled for minor infractions which could have been decisive.

Kilkerrin/Clonberne went back ahead on six minutes when Noone doubled her account following a foul on Olivia Divilly. And they went 0-3 to 0-1 up two minutes later when Lynsey Noone found Chloe Miskell to her left.

Pictured: Louise Ward of Kilkerrin/Clonberne on the attack against Kilmacud Crokes’ Emer Sweeney during Sunday’s All-Ireland Club Ladies Football Senior semi-final at Parnell Park. Photos: Matt Browne/Sportsfile.

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