St Kevin’s begin their championship charge

St Kevin’s begin their championship charge

6 October 2021

THIS derby fixture against Dromara was first ever home championship match for St Kevin’s.

With both sides losing their opening games of the group, the game took on added significance. 

The home side got off to a solid start with a brilliant brace of points from captain Maria Ryan. Supporters of both clubs were robbed of the pulsating midfield clash witnessed in the league meetings between these sides of Brea McKee versus Aimee Greene. 

St John’s star McKee has been instrumental for the Black and Whites this year, but Emily Stewart and Cara McEvoy still ensured a fine tussle in the middle sector against Greene and Lauren McGivern. 

The St Kevin’s full back line of Casement, Noade and Ferris had to be alert to the quick passes being drilled towards Aoife Stewart, Catherine McKey and Dervla McNeill. 

Maria Gilchrist’s return meant that once turn-overs were made, play could be swiftly transitioned directly into Rhona Gordon, Laura Carville and Kate Fitzsimons. 

Goalkeeper Orlagh Rice was impressive for the away side. The former Póc Fháda runner up, has the strongest re-starts in Division 3, and she launched numerous attacks, drilling accurately into the paths of Catherine McKay, Leanne Kelly and Claire Marie McCann. 

Her one delivery that went astray, was collected by Gordon in the 26th minute, who superbly struck over the bar from the tightest of angles.

Jenny Greene had a good battle throughout with Cara Doyle, as did young Anna McVarnock with Niamh McEvoy. 

McVarnock played a superb crossfield ball into the path of Ryan, just before half time, who finished emphatically to the net, giving the Kevin’s a healthy eleven point lead at the break with a half time score of 2-11 to 2-0.

The second half provided further evidence of the intelligent/structured game that Kevin’s are increasingly playing. 

Better combination and link-up play, especially between defence and attack, is leading to improved performance levels. The versatile Orla Fegan demonstrated excellent support play throughout, escaping the close marking Anne Marie Fegan.

Former Drumaness player Julie Brown played strongly at full back, but the excellent pressure from Carville, Gordon and Fitzimons ensured that Dromara’s play never found the same rhythm that it did in previous league meetings. 

Jade Casement was colossal at the back, time and again making crucial interceptions, before off loading to Ferris and Noade.

Aisling McClements, Edel Kearney, Laura and Kerri Madine all competed well when introduced, but it was stalwart Sharon Taylor’s sublime finish to the top corner of the net that drew the loudest applause.

Fittingly, it was Gordon who created the opportunity for Taylor, who displayed her reservoirs of experience to cooly slot home from a narrow angle. 

The embrace from her team mates afterwards demonstrated the growing camaraderie and togetherness amongst the group.

The importance of Taylor and Gordon’s contribution cannot be understated, providing priceless experience and ensuring that the strong tradition and legacy that Annie Gelston created continues. 

Other players are rumoured to be potentially coming out of retirement next season, including Annette Gelston.

A fine win to build upon and now St Kevin’s have a tough fixture against a resolute Kilclief Ben Derg side at Fontenoy Park, Liatroim tomorrow evening at 7.15pm.

Former Fontenoy, and current St Kevin’s leader Maria Ryan certainly knows Fontenoy Park well and she will be hoping that she can replicate the incredible personal tally of 5-11 she scored in this fixture.

St Kevin’s 7-14

Dromara 3-2