Agony for Kilmore ladies in last-gasp defeat at Camlough

Agony for Kilmore ladies in last-gasp defeat at Camlough

1 September 2021

KILMORE Rec Ladies had their hopes of being crowned league champions and achieving promotion to Division 2 dashed in cruel fashion after conceding the deciding goal with just minutes left on the clock.

In a season when Kilmore have gone from strength to strength, it was all to play for in Camlough last Thursday evening and the stakes couldn’t have been higher.

If Kilmore won or drew the match they would win Division 3 and play at a higher level next season. Lose and Camlough would reap those rewards.

It was Rovers who started the quickest with a rallying home crowd behind them, though Kilmore had their own faithful set of supporters who made the journey and their voices heard.

After a back and forth start with both teams trying to settle, it was the Camlough side who struck first through winger Leanne Domican with ten minutes played.

Instantly Kilmore knew they had to reply, or see their pre-match dreams slip away from them. Clara Kerr was in fine form for the Blues, heading and clearing every ball that came her way to safety.

Orla Boyle was Kilmore’s voice of reason in the middle of the park, showing that her experience is invaluable to the mixture of young and experienced panel of players.

Camlough sat back to soak up the visitors’ pressure, but a failure to clear the ball from their half resulted in target woman Louise Sweeney gaining possession in the danger area before striking across the ‘keeper and levelling the match on 17 minutes.

Sweeney has been a key element to Kilmore’s success throughout their campaign, as she has consistently been providing the goals when it mattered most.

Just five minutes later Sweeney was unfortunate not to add to her tally after the ball bounced up invitingly for her to unleash a volley from outside of the box, only for her effort to smash the crossbar and exit the pitch.

After a short water-break play resumed, and this time it was Rovers creating the danger. Camlough’s Aoibh Carroll had surely thought she had regained her side’s lead after she found herself latching on to a long ball before cleverly chipping Kilmore ‘keeper Catherine McCormick. However, her effort went the wrong side of the post much to the relief of the opposition and their supporters.

Sarah-Jane Reid was a constant thorn in Camlough’s side as the Kilmore winger often displayed moments of magic, dancing around oncoming defenders and crossing the ball into danger areas.

One such moment was when Reid played a smart ball forward to Sweeney who was clear through on goal, before the whistle sounded for an offside which both the Kilmore management team and supporters loudly debated.

The half ended with Emma Kielty seeing her shot whistle wide past the Camlough post.

Half-time: Camlough 1 Kilmore 1.

The beginning of the second half signalled fresh intent from both teams, with Kilmore looking for the goal that would require Camlough to score twice and the hosts hoping to take advantage of any nerves in the opposition. 

Camlough Rovers attacker Olivia Connolly had a stellar second half as she chased down every ball that came her way, constantly keeping the Kilmore defence on it’s toes. 

Connolly almost gifted her side the lead just before the hour mark when Kilmore failed to clear the ball, allowing her to get in behind and manufacture a chance out of nothing. 

Connolly’s left footed effort flew past the out stretched leg of McCormick and narrowly missed the target.

As the game entered the final quarter Kilmore once again went searching for their insurance goal as Reid played a through ball to Sweeney but she could only see her effort miss the mark. With six minute remaining Kerr placed an inviting corner onto the head of Boyle, but again Kilmore could not convert.

Camlough, who had been defending for a large portion of the match, found themselves on the attack with Connolly drawing a foul 30 yards from goal.

 The resultant free kick looped high above the Kilmore defence and goal keeper to crash off the crossbar and back into the path of Laura Cinnamond, who struck first time into the top left corner to break Kilmore hearts.

After the game player of the match Sarah-Jane Reid reflected on her side’s performance and season as a whole.

“I feel absolutely gutted. We were so close but just couldn’t hold out,” she said.

“The girls have gelled together so well this season, especially considering the level of football we have previously played in the past. I could not be prouder of the team. We go again next year.”

Kilmore: C McCormick, C Kerr, P Smyth, H Lyons (capt), K Turley, O Boyle, N Murray, E Kielty, SJ Reid, R Geddis, L Sweeney.

Subs: J McComb, C Robinson, D Sinclair, T Rogan, C Reid.