- Jackie Cahill reports from Parnell Park
EADAOIN CONNOLLY’S HAT-TRICK eased Kildare into the TG4 All-Ireland intermediate ladies football final on 27 September, as the Lilywhites defeated Offaly at Parnell Park this afternoon.
In a Leinster final role reversal, Stephen Maxwell’s charges went goal crazy to seal a 14-point victory.
Offaly had still managed to score five goals in defeat against Kildare in the provincial decider but it was the Lilywhites who unloaded this time to ensure progress to Croke Park.
Connolly scored three of Kildare’s five majors – two before half-time and one in the second half – with Ellen Dowling and Maria Moolick also on target.
Offaly suffered a couple of other notable setbacks as Róisín Egan’s second half penalty was well-saved by Kildare netminder Rebecca McGuirk, while midfielder Treasa McManus was sinbinned with nine minutes left.
Kildare led by 3-2 to 0-4 at half-time as Offaly were punished for defensive lapses.
The Faithful County conceded two goals in as many minutes to fall 0-1 to 2-1 adrift, with Connolly and Dowling on target.
Connolly struck first in the eleventh minute, taking a pass from Trina Duggan before finishing well.
And with Offaly still trying to recover from that setback, they suffered another body blow when influential Moolick and Aisling Holton combined to set up Dowling.
But Offaly settled for a spell and worked their way back into contention as Linda Sullivan, who never stopped trying, kicked their first score in 17 minutes.
Egan added a long-range free but Offaly shot themselves in the foot when captain Laura Devery’s kickout was pounced on by Dowling six minutes before half-time.
Dowling walked around the Offaly goalkeeper and lashed the ball into an empty net for Kildare’s third goal.
Offaly did hit back with the final score of the half, a point from Mairéad Daly, but they faced an uphill task after the break.
Connolly completed her treble in the 37th minute to put the end result beyond any doubt before Moolick netted midway through the second half.
Scorers for Kildare: E Connolly 3-0, M Moolick 1-2, E Dowling 1-0, R Byrne 0-2, A Holton 0-1.
Scorers for Offaly: L Sullivan & M Daly 0-2 each, R Egan & K Furey 0-1f each.