A GOAL of absolute quality from Kerry substitute Hannah O’Donoghue, in the closing moments of the game, illuminated Fitzgerald Stadium as Kerry overcame a stubborn challenge from Tyrone in their Ladies National League Division 2 clash this afternoon.
The young Beaufort player, just returning from injury, drew gasps of admiration from the stands and the terraces when she won possession, spotted goalkeeper Laura Kane off her line, and delicately curled the ball over her head from some distance.
That moment of magic cherry-topped an impressive, if occasionally labored, Kerry performance which saw them eventually run out 3-14 to 1-8 victors to remain unbeaten in this year’s league after four games.
If O’Donoghue’s goal was the undisputed highlight, then the score-taking ability of ever-present Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh was another stand-out and her astuteness when in possession is one of Kerry’s great weapons.
She converted frees for fun, slammed home a penalty and created several opportunities for team-mates and, overall, her work-rate is quite incredible.
Six points up at half-time, with Corca Dhuibnne’s Niamh Ní Chonchuir notching Kerry’s first goal, there were occasions in the second half when Tyrone threatened to get back into it, particularly when Grainne Rafferty converted a spot-kick to leave them just four points adrift entering the final five minutes.
But with Castleisland’s Lorraine Scanlon outstanding at midfield, Aislinn Desmond solid at full back and Ní Conchuir and Andrea Murphy impressing up front, the Kerry spine remained strong when required and O’Donoghue’s late goal and another from the outstanding Lorraine Scanlon sealed a comfortable win.
Darragh Long and Declan Quill’s side remain on top of Division 2 with Monaghan, Meath and Clare still to come and they will be confident at this stage of being right in th mix come the season’s end.
Kerry scorers: Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh 1-10 (1-0 pen, 0-9 frees), Niamh Ní Chonchuir 1-0, Hannah O’Donoghue 1-0, Lorraine Scanlon 0-1, Niamh Carmody 0-1, Emma Dineen 0-1, Fiadhna Tangney 0-1.
Kerry: Elaine O’Sullivan, Eilís Lynch, Aislinn Desmond, Ciara O’Brien, Niamh Carmody, Aishling O’Connell, Ciara Murphy, Lorraine Scanlon, Megan O’Connell, Anna Galvin, Niamh Ní Chonchuir, Eilish O’Leary, Emma Dineen, Andrea Murphy, Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh.
Subs: Miriam O’Keefe for O’Leary; Fiadhna Tangney for M O’Connell; Hannah O’Donoghue for A Murphy; Anna Clifford for Dineen; Anna Clifford for Dineen; Julie O’Sullivan for C Murphy.