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South Tipperary U15 Girls Academy…….  4

Carlow & District U15 Girls Academy.……..0

Report by Bob Howson

Carlow travelled down to Newhill Park to Two-Mile-Borris St Kevins AFC’s fine grounds on a lovely sunny afternoon, albeit with a brisk breeze, to play South Tipperary, in a friendly, as part of their Gaynor Cup preparations.

Carlow were without two of their ‘star players’ – Aoife Kelly and Maeve O’Neill, who were both injured, so they were up against it and so it proved.

Carlow won the kick-off and took advantage of the ground’s slope and the wind and it was a scrappy start from both teams, as they tried to adjust to the conditions.

South Tipp were first to show in an attacking sense, with Meabh Russell and Grace Flanagan showing early prominence and a through pass to Katelyn O’Dwyer put her through on a goal but she was crowded out by Carlow’s Eva Doyle and ultimately cleared.

Grace Flanagan put in another dangerous cross, from the left, but there was nobody on hand to take advantage Ciara Kelly and Ciara Kelly – Carlow’s keeper collected the ball and cleared downfield.

South Tipperary were passing the ball far better than Carlow, who were ‘guilty’ of not clearing their lines and any long balls, aimed at their lone striker – Orla Woods, either fell short or were comfortably dealt with by a solid South Tipp defence.

Orla Woods did pick up one pass into her and she swivelled and shot but it was easily dealt with by Chloe Shorley – South Tipp’s keeper, who had had little to do so far.

Carlow’s Sarah Nolan, went to ground after a dizzy spell, on this hot and humid afternoon and she was taken from the field and took no further part in the game, being replaced by Sophie McConomy.

South Tipp’s – Eva Cremins picked up a couple of loose balls at the edge of the Carlow penalty area and shot, but both efforts, went high and wide, as South Tipp continued to pressurise Carlow’s beleaguered defence.

Another driving run by Grace Flanagan was halted by Emma Doyle, at the expense of a corner, which was subsequently cleared and shortly after Ciara Kelly was out quickly to collect a ball aimed at Grace Flanagan, who was proving to be a ‘real thorn in the side’ of the Carlow defence.

A cross from Flanagan found Eva Cremins, who fired in a shot but Ciara Kelly was ‘up to the task’ and pulled off a fine save and this was the closest either side had come to scoring.

Just before the interval, South Tipp were awarded a free-kick, some 35 yards out and Grace Flanagan took it and fired it into the top, left-hand corner for 1-0 and giving Ciara Kelly, no chance of saving it.

A through ball found Meabh Russell and she shot just over the bar and then South Tipp’s ‘danger woman’ got through again on the right and shot from an acute angle, but her shot hit the post and went out for a goal-kick.

The whistle blew for half-time, with South Tipp deservedly leading by that slender 1-0 margin.

Both sides rang the changes for the second half and a good run by South Tipp’s Molly O’Dwyer was well blocked by Emma Doyle and the resultant corner was cleared by Carlow.

Emma Doyle and Rose Fasakin were putting in some dogged defensive work to keep the lively South Tipp attackers at bay and Ella Meyler was working hard up front, but she wanted the ball into her feet, but Carlow were giving  her through balls and she was out-paced every time by the quick South Tipp defenders and with Megan Townsend working ‘manfully’ in midfield to try and ‘stem the tide’, but to no avail.

South Tipp’s Eabha Dolan was proving to be a very lively attacker, as she ‘stole’ a ball from a Carlow defender, but shot over the bar when well placed and then she tried two shots from distance, one pulled a great save by Ciara Kelly and the other went a yard wide of the post.

Jenny Ryan passed to molly Gilmartin who went through and calmly slotted the ball past Ciara Kelly to make it 2-0 on nineteen minutes and then only a minute later Aoibhean Casey went through on the left and fired home for 3-0 and Carlow were fighting a losing battle.

On twenty two minutes, Meabh Russell went on a mazy run and beat two Carlow defenders and crossed from the bye-line and found Aoibhean Casey coming in at the back post and she converted easily, for her brace and a 4-0 scoreline.

South Tipp were completely dominant at this stage and Carlow were ‘just a shadow’ of previous week’s performances as they appeared to lack drive and energy.

Molly O’Dwyer bustled her way through on goal and was ‘one on one’ with Ciara Kelly, but she was out quickly and saved with her feet and just after a long through ball from Meabh Russell was latched on to it by Emily Kirby, but she lofted the ball well over the bar, as South Tipp kept up the pressure.

Near the end Carlow started to put a few good passing movements together, but there was no end product and the final whistle blew with South Tipp emphatically winning 4-0.

Standing out for South Tipp were Meabh Russell, their best player, Aoibhean Casey, Grace Flanagan and Eva Cremins, whilst there were good performances for Carlow, by Rose Fasakin, Emma Doyle, Megan Townsend and their outstanding player was Ciara Kelly, without whom, the deficit would have been much greater.

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