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Kildavin/Clonegal Take All as Hayden Lays Down the Law

Brian O'Donoghue
September 3, 2023

Kildavin/Clonegal 2-10

Kilbride 2-8

Normally, if the referee is a talking point after a game it’s because of some catastrophic error or something controversial. In this game, the referee is a talking point because she’s a history maker, and also, did a very good job in a game that would test the very best in the business.  

Pamela Hayden became the first woman to referee an adult championship game in Carlow in 2022 at Junior level, but it was Marion Hayden who became the first to officiate in an Intermediate championship game and based on her application of the rules, keeping up with play, communication with players and general handing of the game, there’s no reason why she couldn’t be put in charge of a senior game too. In fact, there’s one or two she would be an awful lot better than at that grade. 

If James Foley or Donal Hickey were reading this report, they might have stopped a few paragraphs ago, but that’s the nature of the thing when you’re sent off. You’ll always feel wronged. 

Within 90 seconds of throw in, the game had a goal and a straight red card. A line ball at the Oak Park sideline after a questionable challenge ultimately resulted with Liam Roberts bearing down on goal and he stuck it in the back of the net. The referee then consulted with her umpires and linesman before calling over fellow referee James Foley and giving him his marching orders. 

Only Hayden, her officials and Foley know what the crime was, but it was one hell of a brave call to make, for any referee to show a red card so early in such a local derby, and some will say, well rules are rules but the dogs in the street know how these things work in practice.  

This was a scintillating local derby. Liam McGuill had made it 1-1 to 0-0 within the opening minutes but Kilbride were tigerish in their response and Mark Curry buried a goal and Darragh Foley added a free and all of a sudden the sides were level on the scoreboard and 15 v 14 in terms of personnel. 

Foley put Kilbride in the lead from a 35m free but Liam McGuill levelled the game with a lovely point. 

Stephen Carroll drove over a point at the end of the opening quarter and Kilbride lead by one. Donal Hickey arrived late to a tackle in the 17th minute and found himself in the book and shown a yellow card and in the same moment Barry Hickey was also shown a yellow. 

We had ten scoreless minutes and scrappy football before a long high ball from Joe Roberts put Liam McGuill and Tomas Gray in a battle to touch the ball first. McGuill won out and his beautiful touch guided the ball to the net. Kildavin/Clonegal now lead by two. 

It would be short lived however and within three minutes Kilbride had the lead again, lovely interplay between Pierce Deane and Darragh Foley it was big Darragh who ended up in the end of the move and the green flag was raised. 

Barry Hickey levelled the game with a superb 35m effort and it most of the large crowd probably thought that was enough action for the first half, but there was more to come. 

With three minutes of injury time gone a long ball toward the Kildavin/Clonegal goal resulted in a foot race between a Kilbride forward and the chasing Donal Hickey. From our vantage point it looked like both players arrived at the ball at the same time and in the press box we were arguing about whether it was wide or a ‘45. Marion Hayden wasn’t far from the action though and she judged Hickey to have fouled the attacker and he was given his second yellow in 15 minutes. Darragh knocked over the free and Kilbride lead at the break 2-4 to 2-3. 

It was a first half that had everything. Four goals, two red cards, and seven points of varying quality. 

The second half would serve up nine points between the two teams but as time wore on it was the men in red and black who looked like they had more in the tank. 

Twenty seconds into the second half Ian St. Ledger curled over a gorgeous point but it was matched by a strike of the highest quality by Darragh Foley. A right footed thunderbolt from right out on the sideline underneath the stand. Kilbride lead by one. 

Joe Roberts had a huge influence on the game. He was reminiscent of Maradonna with his low centre of gravity, brilliant footballing brain and accurate kicking. He won his own free in the 34th minute and converted it well. 

It was rapidly becoming the Joe show then as he was also the best name on the scoresheet, this time, from play. Kildavin/Clonegal lead by one. 

Both sides started to make changes and it disrupted play completely and the game went almost ten minutes with no score. McGuill went through for his a chance for his second goal but was denied by a good save by Gray. 

Good, patient work from Niall Hickey inside his own half would ultimately lead to Joe Roberts getting on the ball, he in turn, released Gavin Byrne and he put his side two up. 

Darragh kicked over another peach of a free but Niall Hickey nailed a huge long range point and it just seemed Kilbride weren’t going to be able to keep up. 

With ten minutes to play Ian St. Ledger played a one-two and slotted over his second point, this time from range.

Again a Darragh fee kept Kilbride in touch but a Joe Roberts free cancelled it out. In the dying seconds Kildavin/Clonegal broke away and Luc Devlin and Paul Kavanagh had a 2 on 1 chance against Tomas Gray, Devlin had shown a great turn of speed and had the option of passing to Kavanagh for an easy goal, instead he went for goal himself but again Gray was equal to it and Kilbride were able to advance down field in search of a goal but Darragh Foleys effort on goal was high and ended up in a point for his side. 

Kilbride now have to beat Ballinabranna in the last group game, hope that Eire Og beat Kildavin/Clonegal and must win by at least 7 points. It’s a big ask. 

Whoever does finish bottom of the group will face the losers of Naomh Eoin v Grange in the other group. 

Kilbride: Tomas Gray; Chris Buckley, John O’Neill, Michael O’Brien; Rian Farrell, Mark Curry(1-0), Michael Brown; Darragh Foley(1-7), Pierce Deane; Stephen Curry, Mitch Kelly, Joe Waters; James Foley, Stephen Carroll(0-1), Sean Foley. Subs: Jack Rogers for Sean Foley, Brendan Butler for Pierce Deane, Nathan Doran for Mitch Kelly. 

Kildavin/Clonegal: Darren Coleman; Darragh Bolger, Paul Kelly, Niall Murphy; Gavin Byrne(0-1), Barry Hickey (0-1), Liam Roberts(1-0); Niall Hickey(0-1), Liam McGuill(1-2); Padraic Ryan, Paraic Hickey, Ian St.Ledger(0-2); Paul Nolan, Joe Roberts(0-3, 2f), Donal Hickey. Subs: Alex Callaghan for Padraic Ryan, Luc Devlin for Paul Nolan, Paul Kavanagh for Ian St. Ledger. 

Referee: Marion Hayden (Eire Og)