THE weather ensured a repeat of the 11-goal classic from 2017 was a non-starter but Kilkerrin/Clonberne won’t mind as they blew away Carnacon’s All-Ireland title reign and booked a national semi-final with Cork’s Mourneabbey.
Goals from Ailish Morrissey, Annette Clarke and Louise Ward were the difference in a contest never lacking commitment. But Kilkerrin/Clonberne showed the heart and desire of champions to turn this contest around in the final 15 minutes.
Kevin Reidy’s charges trailed 1-6 to 1-3 playing into the strong gust in Ballyhaunis and looked doomed. But they literally through caution to the wind and came out of the storm Connacht senior ladies football champions for the first time since 2015.
Twelve months earlier, they threw away victory on two occasions against the Mayo champions who went on to conquer the country and Kilkerrin/Clonberne were determined to learn from their mistakes.
That being said, they gambled heavily in the first half with the wind, making multiple positional switches in an attempt to combat the dangerous Carnacon attackers. It can be argued that those tactics were necessary as the reigning champions did create numerous chances only to squander many of them, including registering seven wides. However, Carnacon’s chief threat Cora Staunton still finished with six points from play and Louise Ward spent most of the first half playing at full back.
And Ward would be the chief playmaker in Kilkerrin/Clonberne’s three goals, suggesting management must trust their defenders when Mourneabbey come to north Galway for the All-Ireland semi-final
On five minutes, the Kilkerrin/Clonberne captain attacked gaining ground before offloading to Ailish Morrissey, who hit the net to give the challengers the perfect start. Carnacon replied as Staunton fisted over the bar but Kilkerrin/Clonberne were in the ascendancy but weren’t troubling the umpires.
Ward nearly found Lynsey Noone for another green flag but the ball wouldn’t hit the target. And it was the quarter hour mark before Morrissey split the posts. When Chloe Miskell scored on 17 minutes, Kilkerrin/Clonberne were 1-2 to 0-1 ahead.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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