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The Kerryman (North Kerry) - - SPORT -

LIDL NA­TIONAL FOOT­BALL LEAGUE DI­VI­SION 1

Dublin 1-16 Kerry 1-11

IT was a tough 10 days for the Kerry Se­nior Ladies foot­ballers.

First of all they had to deal with the loss of the three points they gar­nered in their vic­tory over Mayo in the Lidl Na­tional Foot­ball league due to an un­reg­is­tered player and then de­feat to West­meath on the fol­low­ing Sun­day saw them rel­e­gated to Di­vi­sion 2 for the 2019 sea­son.

To add in­sult to in­jury they were rocked by the res­ig­na­tion of their man­ager Gra­ham Shine on the fol­low­ing Wednesday. Shine met with the play­ers last Wednesday night, and af­ter what’s been de­scribed as an hon­est and frank dis­cus­sion, he in­formed them of his de­ci­sion to re­sign from his man­age­rial post due to busi­ness and per­sonal rea­sons. Shine has opened a gym in Lis­towel and felt that he hadn’t the time to com­mit to the Kerry ladies.

Shine had come in to man­age the Kerry se­nior team on the back of two Un­der 16 All Ire­land vic­to­ries and in his first year in charge with the se­nior team he led the side to a Mun­ster Cham­pi­onship ti­tle with a 1-14 to 3-6 vic­tory over Water­ford.

Af­ter a quar­ter-fi­nal vic­tory over Ar­magh, Kerry were firmly put to the sword by a ram­pant Dublin in the All Ire­land semi fi­nal and suf­fered a 5-10 to 0-11 loss. They had a poor out­ing in this years league, and de­feats to Cork, Gal­way, Mon­aghan, Done­gal and West­meath saw them drop to Di­vi­sion 2.

The loss of some key per­son­nel for nu­mer­ous rea­sons through­out the league cam­paign didn’t help their cause and Kerry made the jour­ney to the DCU sports­grounds with just eigh­teen play­ers on the panel.

Some mem­bers of Shine’s management team took charge of the squad for last Satur­day’s game with Tim Ken­nelly, Tom Dil­lon and strength and con­di­tion­ing coach Aoife Newell looking over af­fairs. They were joined by Ciaran McCabe who coached the team for the 2017 sea­son.

Dublin were ex­pected to win the game quite eas­ily but the Kerry squad found strength in ad­ver­sity to al­most shock the reign­ing All Ire­land cham­pi­ons. Kerry were level with Dublin on 5 oc­ca­sions in­side the open­ing 25 min­utes and more than held their own in a spir­ited dis­play.

Kerry led three times in­side the open­ing 16 min­utes, be­fore Dublin came back to draw level, with Louise Ní Mhuirc­heartaigh, Amanda Bros­nan and Sarah Houli­han on tar­get. An­drea Mur­phy was play­ing her best game in a Kerry jersey and her en­er­getic dis­play was caus­ing Dublin all sorts of prob­lems.

Emily Flana­gan, Han­nah O’Neill and Ni­cole Owens were on tar­get for Dublin, be­fore Ni­amh McEvoy lev­elled the tie at 0-5 a piece af­ter 25 min­utes, just af­ter Flana­gan had her goal shot su­perbly blocked by Kerry keeper Laura Fitzger­ald.

This kick-started a dom­i­nant spell for Dublin, which saw them score 1-2 unan­swered, with the goal com­ing from sub­sti­tute Sinead Goldrick while McEvoy added a fur­ther point. A brace of Houli­han scores helped cut the gap, but Dublin led 1-6 to 0-7 at the break.

Dublin got the sec­ond half to a great start with Siob­han Woods and McEvoy con­tribut­ing to a trio of unan­swered scores on the restart. Ní Mhuirc­heartaigh and Houli­han kept Kerry in touch and Ni Mhuirc­heartaigh scored a good goal in the 45th min­utes to bring Kerry to within two points of their op­po­nents.

Dublin added three more points, how­ever, with Siob­han Killeen scor­ing two and they fin­ished as five point vic­tors.

Af­ter the game Kerry cap­tain Sarah Houli­han said that she was very pleased with the way her side put it up to Dublin.

“It’s never easy to play Dublin at the best of times, and af­ter the week we had we had to pro­duce a per­for­mance. There was great pride shown in the Kerry jersey out there to­day and we gave our best dis­play of 2018. With a bit of luck we might have snatched a vic­tory, but Dublin had a strong bench and it told in the fin­ish.”

Houli­han was non com­mit­tal on who she would like to see take over the Kerry man­age­rial reigns.

“We have about eight weeks to the Mun­ster Cham­pi­onship so it’s im­por­tant that we get some­one quickly. There are a few play­ers that could come back to the panel and hope­fully some­one will come in that can drive us on to the next level. Rep­re­sent­ing your county is a huge hon­our and as play­ers we want to do the best that we can for Kerry with some­one that is given the management job for the right rea­sons.”

Mean­while Kerry LGFA As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary Donal Rahilly said that they were in the process of looking at can­di­dates for the management job.

“First of all I’d like to thank Gra­ham Shine for the com­mit­ment that he has given to the Kerry Ladies,and I’d like to wish him the best of luck with his new busi­ness. We are looking at a num­ber of pos­si­bil­i­ties at the mo­ment, but we want to make sure that we get the right per­son for the role.

“In the mean­time the in­terim management will con­tinue with the girls and we will en­sure that prepa­ra­tions con­tinue for the up­com­ing Mun­ster Cham­pi­onship.”

DUBLIN: Ciara Trant; Kate Fitzgib­bon, Deirdre Mur­phy, Laura McGin­ley; Aoife Kane(0-1), Muire­ann Ní Scanaill, Lucy Collins; Siob­han McGrath, Tarah O’Sullivan; Han­nah O’Neill(0-1), Ni­cole Owens(0-2), Emily Flana­gan(0-1); Ju­lia Buck­ley(0-1), Ni­amh McEvoy (0-5,4f), Re­becca McDon­nell Subs: Sinead Goldrick (1 goal) for Lucy Collins (22); Siob­han Woods(0-2) for McDon­nell (HT); Siob­han Killeen(0-2) for Buck­ley (HT); Leah Caf­frey for McGin­ley (HT); Katie Mur­ray for Ni Scanaill (HT); Lyn­d­say Davey(0-1) for Flana­gan (46); Shan­non Murtagh for Fitzgib­bon (47); Heather Smith for Trant (47)

KERRY: Laura Fitzger­ald; Laoise Cough­lan, Ais­linn Des­mond, Ais­ling O’Connell; Amy Fo­ley, Sarah Mur­phy, Eil­ish O’Cal­laghan; Lor­raine Scan­lon, Eil­ish O’Leary; Louise Ní Mhuirc­heartaigh(1-3,1f), Sarah Houli­han(0-7,6f), An­drea Mur­phy; Siob­han Burns, Amanda Bros­nan(0-1), Caoimhe O’Sullivan Subs: Me­abh Barry for O’Cal­laghan (HT).

REF­EREE: Niall McCor­mack (Laois)

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