DOWN 4-9 KILDARE 1-9
KILDARE endured a nervy final few moments before eventually securing an All-Ireland Intermediate quarter-final place at St Conleths Park on Sunday.
Going into the game, the last round of the group stages, Kildare knew that a win would see them top the group but also that a Down win by 13 or more points would see the Ulster side leap frog them in the table and take their quarter-final place.
When Down scored two injury time goals to lead by 11 that looked a real prospect and Kildare were thankful to goalkeeper Derlva McGinn for a fine save at that time.
Kildare trailed by a point at half time but finished the half with 13 players after yellow cards shown to Siobhan O’Sullivan and Neasa Dooley. That was to set the tone of the second half and Kildare finished the game with five yellow cards, Down had two, and at one stage Kildare had only 12 players on the field.
Kildare had a goal controversially ruled out midway through the second half that would have brought them back level and soon after, Neasa Dooley hit the bar.
Down pulled away to lead by five in the final minutes of the game but it was only when they hit those two quickfire goals in injury time, one when Ellen Dowling appeared to be clearly fouled in the build up, that they looked like getting the win they needed.
But frees by Lara Curran and Orlaith Sullivan settled the Kildare nerves and were eventually good enough to ensure that Kildare move into the quarter-final stages.
The result means that Kildare drop to second in their group though so they are paired with Group 4 winners, Roscommon, in next week’s last eight tie.
Scorers: Down – J Foy 2-1 (1-0pen, 0-1f), N Ferris 0-4, M Kavanagh 1-1, S Dougherty 1-0, A Traynor 0-2, A McKee 0-1
Kildare – L Curran 0-4fs, E Dowling 1-0, M Price 0-2, N Dooley 0-1, S O’Sullivan 0-1, O Sullivan 0-1f
Down: Kate McKay; Emily Martin, Kim White, Eve McArdle, Orla Duffy, Clara Mulvenna, Mairead Kavanagh; Adair Traynor, Oonagh Lavery; Lauren Cunningham, Jessica Foy, Sarah Dougherty, Anna McKee, Megan Doherty, Natasha Ferris. Subs: Aoife Keown for Trainor, 31; Ciara Byrne for Kavanagh, 45; Natalie McKibbin for Mulvenna, 57; Aisling Cull for White, 60+9.
Kildare: Dervla McGinn; Rachel Cribbin, Lara Gilbert, Shauna Kenrdick, Amy Horan, Gemma Harnett, Trina Duggan; Siobhan O’Sullivan, Grace Clifford; Lara Curran, Neasa Dooley, Molly Price, Sally Murphy, Emily Birch, Mikaela McKenna. Subs: Ellen Dowling for Murphy, h/t; Sarah Munnelly for Birch, h/t; Orlaith Sullivan for McKernna, 35; Claire Sullivan for Horan, 46; Lauren Murtagh for Gilbert, 49
Referee: Kevin Corcoran (Mayo).