This match has been three years in the making, but finally on Sunday Kilkenny fielded an adult Ladies Gaelic Football team in Division 4 of the Lidl National Football League. The Ladies took on Limerick at 2pm in MW Hire Training Centre Dunmore. Kilkenny only managed 2 points to Limerick’s 4-13 but this match was never about the scoreboard for the cats. This match was a marker that Kilkenny are back and ready to rebuild. Limerick reached the Division 4 league final in 2023 but were bested by Offaly so they have their sights set on going one step further this year. Kilkenny have been slowly building a panel over the past few months and with only three training sessions behind them, manager John Gorey knows the road ahead is bumpy, ‘No one is under the illusion that this is going to be easy. Rome wasn’t built in a day and this is only the start of the building blocks for Kilkenny’s adult squad.’
Limerick set down the lightning pace tempo of this match from the start. Only 7 minutes after referee Maggie Farrelly’s throw in and they had 4 scores on the board and led the home side by 1-3 to no score. Kilkenny then began to shake off the nerves, that a three year absence from county adult competition will create, and started to put together some nice passages of play. One such passage led them to force a Limerick foul and Kate Purcell was given the chance to score Kilkenny’s first score, not only in this match but Kilkenny’s first score in three years. She made no mistake and put it straight over the bar. Limerick answered very quickly with a well taken goal by full forward Andrea O’Sullivan, her second of the game. There were two more superbly worked points for Limerick before it was Kate Purcell of Muckalee who once again put the ball over the bar for Kilkenny to leave a half time scoreline of Limerick 2-5 and Kilkenny 0-2.
It was clear from the start of the second half that Limerick were looking to make up for the 10 wides they shot in the first half. A quick goal was followed by 3 quick points, two from the boot of Mungret St Paul’s player, Clare O’Meara. A yellow card resulting in a sin bin for Limerick did not slow the strong side down and they continued to push forward. Two more scores for Limerick before it was the turn of Kilkenny to see the flash of yellow and ten minutes in the sin bin for fullback Ailish O ‘Neill for a high tackle. The referee wasn’t done with the sin bin yet and Limerick’s Clare O’Meara was off next. Another 2 points and a goal for Limerick before the full time whistle left a final scoreline of 4:13 to 0:2. Limerick clear and worthy winners. However, despite Kilkenny’s low scoring there were glimmers of brilliance from the team and skills and passion are there in abundance and this bodes well for the road ahead. Next up for the side is Leitrim away this Sunday 29th followed by a home game to Derry and an away match to Wexford in February.
The panel includes many players from Muckalee who reached the 2022 Leinster Junior Final. Experienced Kilkenny captain Kelley Comerford is one such player and is proud to be part of this squad that will see Kilkenny back on the LGFA national map. Kelley comments, ‘It has to start back somewhere and I am proud to be leading the team that is paving the way back into competitions for Kilkenny Ladies Gaelic. There were moments today in that match that I thought we were brilliant and we will build from here.’’ The panel also has players from Dunnamaggin, Thomastown, Railyard, John Lockes and Kilkenny City.