Fermanagh 0-12 Kildare 3-11

Fermanagh Ladies fell to an eight point defeat at the hands of Kildare in their first league game of 2020.

2-06 from Kildare’s Lara Curran helped them on their way to victory in the Division Three tie in Kinawley on Sunday but Fermanagh kept battling throughout with Eimear Smyth leading from the front, as she ended the day with nine points to her name.

Fermanagh manager, Jonny Garrity, felt the scoreline was not reflective of the game and the performance his side put in.

“We felt that the scoreline probably flattered Kildare a bit,” said Garrity.

“There wasn’t a whole pile in the match and they picked up the goals at really good times and we can certainly be proud and pleased with our effort.

The progress the side has made early in the season impressed Garrity in particular some of the debutants.

“We were really happy with the approach the girls showed and the quality they showed.

“We had a few debutants in there and for a game in January against a really good opposition we felt it was a really positive start to the season.”

And now he wants the squad to kick on and start getting points on the board.

“We are very, very positive. We think if we can keep that level of performance up, which we are confident about doing and improving we’ll be picking the points up we need to stay up. So it’s all about staying positive and making the progressions and improvements along the way.”

Smyth and Curran opened the scoring for their respective sides before Aoife Rattigan and Curran extended the Lilywhites lead to two points.

A Smyth point reduced the arrears but it was to be followed by the visitor’s first goal of the game.

Excellent work by Gráinne Kenneally sucked in three Fermanagh defenders before she slipped the ball to Neasa Dooley who fired the ball past Shauna Murphy to leave it 1-03 to 0-02.

The sides cancelled each other out for a time as they traded points before Kildare hit their second goal of the contest.

Kenneally was again to the fore as she played a great ball cross field to Curran who was left unmarked and she was one-on-one with Murphy, making no mistake. A quick point by Curran put eight between the sides but Fermanagh battled on and points by Breda Bannon and Smyth left it 2-07 to 0-06 to the Lilywhites at the break.

The Erne ladies came out in a determined mood and dominated matters in the early stages of the second half.

The sides traded scores before Fermanagh hit the next three scores unanswered.

Bannon, Smyth and Aisling O’Brien all hit points to reduce the deficit to just three points.

Curran and Dooley hit replies for the away side but Smyth cancelled these out with two points of her own.

With 10 minutes remaining and the game in the melting pot, Kildare’s Shauna Kendrick was sent to the sin bin. But the extra player Fermanagh had was not enough to mount a comeback.

Instead, Kildare kicked on and they hit their third goal of the game in the closing stages.

A long kick out by the Kildare keeper found its way to Curran and she slotted past Murphy for the second time.

A final point from Dooley saw Fermanagh’s first game in Division Three finish 3-11 to 0-12.

Fermanagh travel to Down for their next game on Sunday, February 2 at Tyconnaugh GFC, Downpatrick where they will be hoping to claim their first points of the 2020 season.

Garrity knows his side will be seen as underdogs in the division but warns teams should not underestimate the Erne ladies.

“They’ll be hot favourites I’m sure for this match but we will be used to going into matches in the league as underdogs and we will go in with no fear and put in another good performance this week and hopefully that will be reflected more accurately on the scoreboard.

“We wouldn’t expect anybody to take us lightly. Anybody that has looked at us will know we are full of quality players but if anybody does take us lightly they’ll regret it because we are physically in good condition for this time of the year and our tactical gameplan is improving week on week.

“So we fully expect to put in another good performance and we expect to progress as the league goes on,” added Garrity.