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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Meath and Kerry player ratings: Troy, Cleary and O’Sullivan shine brightest as Royals reign

Here’s how Meath and Kerry rated after the All-Ireland Ladies SFC final at Croke Park.

MEATH

Monica McGuirk – 7

One shaky pass in the second half but so composed on the ball in general play. Hit her mark with nine of 14 kick-outs.

Shauna Ennis – 7

Stuck to her corner and forced on early turnover. A key component in a defence that conceded an average of just seven points per game this summer.

Mary Kate Lynch – 8

Mostly marked Danielle O’Leary but like the rest of the full-back line, held her ground. Won a couple of pressure-relieving kick-outs at vital stages when the game was still a contest.

Katie Newe – 6

Got caught out for Kerry’s goal early in the first half, failing to collect one of McGuirk’s restarts before buying the Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh’s brilliant dummy.

Aoibheann Leahy – 6

Was motoring well at the point she jarred her knee tracking back. Played on for another five minutes but succumbed to the injury and was gone by the 22nd minute.

Emma Troy – 9

Wore number six but pushed on right from the start. In the right place at the right time to receive the ball for her goal and clipped another point soon after.

Aoibhín Cleary – 9

An extraordinary, all-action performance. Meath’s best ball-carrier, found herself on the ball time and again. Won kick-outs at both ends. Only missing a final product – kicked two wides.

Máire O’Shaughnessy – 8

The calmest, most assured player on the pitch. Got stuck into the rough and tumble around the middle third and as ever, did all the simple things right helping out her defence.

Orlagh Lally – 7

Won one free at the end of the first half. Directed traffic around the middle and a brilliant foil and source of position for Meath’s runners.

Megan Thynne – 7

Lined out at wing-back, despite wearing number ten, but part of a well-oiled machine between the two ‘45s. An important, underappreciated part of Meath’s success.

Emma Duggan – 8

Their match-winner in previous rounds missed a couple of early long-range frees but won two vital kick-outs that led to Meath goals. Footballer of the Year elect.

Kelsey Nesbitt – 6

Stayed up front, often on her own, early in the first half. It was her direct run, and miscued shot, that led to Troy’s goal that gave Meath breathing space.

Vikki Wall – 8

Penalised unfairly and eventually sin-binned but exploded on to the ball with every touch. It was Wall’s surge and pass the set up Meath’s third goal.

Stacey Grimes – 8

Kicked two of her three frees and added another from play. Squared the ball for Niamh O’Sullivan to convert Meath’s second goal from close range.

Niamh O’Sullivan – 9

Collected the TG4 player of the match award. Scored 1-2, won a couple of frees, attacked Kerry’s kick-out and injected pace every time she carried the ball.

Bench impact – 8

Orla Byrne was exceptional, adding energy after she came on for the stricken Leahy. Bridgetta Lynch was rewarded for her perseverance with the third goal.

KERRY

Ciara Butler – 6

Found a Kerry player with 11 of her kick-outs, but endured a couple of difficult spells to Meath’s aggressive press.

Julie O’Sullivan – 6

Conceded one needless free, late in the first half, for a shove on Kelsey Nesbitt. Came under pressure when Meath ran down her channel.

Kayleigh Cronin – 8

One of Kerry’s best. Won gritty ball under intense pressure and blocked a Meath goal chance at the end of the first half. A solid, imposing presence.

Eilís Lynch – 7

Made one tidy dispossession early in the second half and performed well marking Stacey Grimes. Quick reflexes stopped a couple of likely scoring chances.

Aishling O’Connell – 6

Started alongside Emma Duggan and was one of a number of players who gave away a free for minimal contact.

Emma Costello – 7

Initially marked Niamh O’Sullivan but retreated into more of holding role. Showed for her own kick-out and won one inspirational Meath restart at the end of the first half.

Ciara Murphy – 6

Surged forward to kick a point. Patrolled her wing well and wasn’t alone in struggling to hold back the repeated wave of Meath runners.

Lorraine Scanlon – 8

Scored one excellent point from a tight angle at the end of the first half and was Kerry’s most influential player in the middle third, repeatedly showing for kick-outs.

Cáit Lynch – 7

Carried the ball well but was punished for taking too many steps at one point. Kept trying to add pace to Kerry’s play but was swallowed up time and again.

Niamh Carmody – 6

Fouled for an early free and gave one bad ball away early in the second half. Lasted until the 44th minute when she was replaced by management.

Síofra O’Shea – 6

Kicked one important point but never threatened for goals as she did in previous games. Stayed close to the Meath square and was suffocated for possession.

Anna Galvin – 6

Never caught fire in a congested middle third. Took simple, smart options in possession but didn’t score and kicked one wide in the first half.

Paris McCarthy – 6

A peripheral figure, Kerry needed to move the ball more quickly into their inside line and McCarthy was one of those that suffered when it was slow to arrive.

Danielle O’Leary – 6

Roamed away from goal and scored one point. Part of a Kerry attack that averaged 22 points in their previous championship matches but were kept to 1-7 here.

Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh – 7

A brilliant dummy and an outrageous finish for her goal but Meath had three players lurking any time she came into position. Cut a hugely frustrated figure in the second half.

Bench impact – 6

Kerry’s management had two players; Niamh Ní Conchúir and Erica McGlynn, in by the midway point of the second half but by then, Meath had asserted their superiority.

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