Kildare crowned junior champs

Kildare have been crowned TG4 All-Ireland Junior Ladies football champions at Croke Park, having staved off a late second-half rally - including two goals from 14-year-old Therese Marren - to win 2-13 to 3-5 against Sligo.

TG4 All-Ireland Junior Ladies Football Final Full time:

KILDARE 2-13 SLIGO 3-5, Croke Park, 1.15pm

Kildare have been crowned TG4 All-Ireland Junior Ladies football champions at Croke Park, having staved off a late second half rally - including two goals from 14-year-old Therese Marren - to win 2-13 to 3-5 against Sligo.

The five-times Leinster champions lifted the John Timmons Cup at the third attempt, having lost their second final in three years to Donegal twelve months ago.

Curry youngster Marren, on as second half substitute, blew this hour-long tussle wide open as she saw her 39th minute shot veer in off Kildare's Ann Hughes, for a 1-4 to 2-8 deficit.

Then two goals in two minutes from Marren and corner forward Noelle Gormley saw the Connacht champions back within two points, but that was as close as they got.

Kildare always held the aces as apart from conceding an early point to Gormley, they were never headed from the first minute onwards.

Tracy Noone and goalscorers Elaine Dillon and Simone Gilabert were to prove crucial as they set them up for a 2-5 to 0-3 half-time lead.

Noone levelled in the fifth minute and whilst Stephanie O'Reilly saw her ninth minute shot crack off the Kildare crossbar and over, scores from Gilabert, Noelle Earley, Noone and Dillon had Nuala O'Mahony's side 0-5 to 0-2 in front.

A fine Noone handpass set Suncroft teenager Dillon up for her goal on 20 minutes, reacting well to fist over onrushing Sligo goalkeeper Katrina Connolly.

Five minutes later Gilabert made it 2-5 to 0-2 as with Connolly again off her line, the Maynooth attacker left-footed home.

Gormley dinked over in the closing stages of the half to give Sligo heart, but Earley took eight seconds of the second period to increase Kildare's lead.

Noone and Dillon traded points with O'Reilly (free) before Marren plucked a loose ball away from Clodagh Flanagan to net.

Noone, who scored 0-6 (3f) in all, exchanged frees with Louise Brett and Earley left-footed over with eleven minutes remaining for a 2-10 to 1-5 advantage.

Marren suddenly rallied Sligo back with two as she finished substitute Joanne O'Connell's through ball, with the help of Kildare stopper Edel O'Brien's mishandling.

Gormley then drove a low shot under the dive of O'Brien to leave the game poised at 2-10 to 3-5. Kildare had enough though to move further ahead, even missing a penalty through Earley in the closing minutes.

Points from Noone, Gormley and Noone again saw Kildare run out winners and earn a fitting tribute for their previous manager 'Goggy' Delaney, who passed away three-quarters of the way through their 2004 league campaign.

Kildare: E O'Brien; M O'Brien, A Hughes, C Flanagan; A Lambe, A Holton, M Moolick; B Leahy (Capt), K Leahy; S Cannon, N Earley, E Dillon; S Gilabert, T Noone, J Cunningham. Subs used: D Berry for Lambe (41 mins), Y Murphy for Cannon (49)

Sligo: K Connolly; F Maye, G O’Gara, R Goodwin; M McGowan, J Mulligan (Capt), C Currid; A Doohan, B Byrne; L Brett, S O’Reilly, I McNulty; N Gormley, S McTiernan, L Harte.

Subs used: S O’Sullivan for Maye, N Mannion for McTiernan (both ht), T Marren for McNulty (38 mins), J O’Connell for McGowan (43)

Referee: B Gallagher (Tyrone)

Scorers: Kildare: E Dillon 1-2 (1f), T Noone 0-6 (3f), S Gilabert 1-1, N Earley 0-4

Sligo: T Marren 2-0, N Gormley 1-2, S O’Reilly 0-2 (1f), L Brett 0-1 (1f)

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