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Leinster Final Match Report
Leinster Football Final
Dr Cullen Park, Carlow,
18th July 18, 2010
Report by Paul Flynn
The Wicklow women travelled to Carlow today to face an old rival in Louth in the Leinster Junior Championship final in Dr Cullen Park. These two teams had faced each other before in the Leinster Final in 2008 when Wicklow won came up trumps, the first time since 1990, winning 5.08 to Louth’s 0.16. Their second encounter came in 2009 when they came head to head again in the Leinster final in Carlow with both teams playing out a draw. When the replay came Louth came out the eventual winners in the end winning by 2 points. So with plenty of history between these teams people were looking forward to another exciting clash between these two foes.
As the teams began to warm up things could not have got off to a worse start for Wicklow when young Sarah Hogan had to be carried away on the stretcher and to an awaiting ambulance after damaging her ankle while jumping for a ball. Luckily it was not that serious and we soon found out she was having a bit of a laugh with the medical staff while on the way to the hospital. Back on the field, referee Des McEnery got the game underway with Wicklow winning the throw in. Some early quick passing ended with Wicklow missing the first chance of the match when Caoilfhionn Deeney’s effort going just wide of the Louth goal.
Louth counter attacked and if it was not for some nice defending from Niamh Kelly could have had their first point. Louth’s determination paid off and a nice point from Siobhan McDonald put the Louth girls in front. A nice free kick from Susan Byrne put Louth 2 points in front after Laura O Neill was brought down by Wicklow’s Sarah Miley. Wicklow tried to come back and a nice ball in across the Louth goal from Ann Marie Doran was unfortunately not picked up by the Wicklow forwards. Some sloppy defending from Louth gave Wicklow a free and it was placed over the bar by Caoilfhionn Deeney.
Wicklow kept pushing forward and were unlucky not to be further ahead with chances going astray. It was a moment of magic that finally put Wicklow ahead when a great pass from Ann Marie Dornan to Caoilfhionn Deeney ended with the ball crashing into the Louth net. Sinead Boland put Wicklow further ahead with a well taken point. The Louth girls tried hard to fight back but some excellent defending from the Wicklow back line prevented Louth from pulling back. Then a quick counter attack from Louth ended with Susan Byrne going one on one with Wicklow’s no 1 Emer Miley. The Louth full forward tried for goal but a great save from Emer prevented the Louth team from getting the 3 points. With half time approaching fast Louth tried to pull back and managed to pull back three points, two from free kicks, but Wicklow managed to grab 2 more points before half time with Caoilfhionn Deeney knocking over the bar after a nice pass from Ann Marie Dornan, and Niamh Carroll knocking over the bar. As the clock ticked down to zero the horn blew indicating the end of the first half the score board showed Wicklow leading 1.04 to Louth 0.04.
During half time the supporters were kept entertained with the mini games, which place under 12 teams from different counties against each other. The quality of this half time game was excellent and proved that Ladies Gaelic football was going to get stronger in the coming years. With the second half quickly approaching both teams came back onto the field with Wicklow remaining unchanged. With both teams ready to go the ball was thrown in and the second half of the Leinster Junior championship began. Wicklow took control of the game fairly fast and began attacking the Louth goal from the off, with some strong passing from Lorna Fusciardi, Niamh Kelly and Jackie Kinch.
The Louth defense looked like they could not handle what Wicklow had to throw at them but with all the possession Wicklow could not seem to convert it into points. A great pass from Lucy Mulhall to Caoilfhionn Deeney ended with the ball thumping against the Louth bar. Niamh Carroll caught the rebound, with her effort crashing against the post and wide. Wicklow looked to be getting frustrated and needed a score quickly and this finally came after a quick thinking free kick from Monica Lynch to Caoilfhionn Deeney ended with the number 10 placing the ball over the bar.
This seemed to settle Wicklow down and soon had another 3 points on the board with a cracking goal from Sinead Boland. Wicklow looked to be unstoppable at this stage but chances kept going astray in front of the Louth goal. Then the Wicklow management decided that a change was needed and decided that Jackie Kinch should make way for Amy Byrne who injected some much needed pace into the Wicklow team and made her mark straight away with an excellent point from way out on the right hand side.
With Wicklow gaining momentum and the clock ticking down the Louth girls knew they needed to try pull it back and tried to attack the Wicklow goal, but they had a hard time trying to break down the Wicklow defense with Caitriona Byrne, Janet Miley, and Aoife Heffernan doing some great defending.
Louth eventually got back on track with 3 quick and well taken points but this left them still with a mountain to climb and it looked like they might just pull it back when Wicklow’s Janet Miley was deemed to of brought down Louth‘s Maria Reid. What seemed like an already harsh decision by the Westmeath referee was made worse when he sinbined the Wicklow full back. Louth‘s Susan Byrne stepped up to take the kick which resulted in a great save from the inform Emer Miley.
With only 5 minutes left on the clock the ball was kicked to Amy Byrne who scored her second point of the game, pretty much ending any chance of Louth coming back. With only seconds left Aisling Ni hAnnaidh completed the scoring for Wicklow with a great point. With the clock reaching zero the whistle blew and the tears of excitement began to flow. Supporters ran onto the pitch in jubilation. Parents hugging their children, flags waiving, it was a joyous occasion.
Did Wicklow deserve to get this far? You bet they did. The Wicklow girls took the hard route to this final and over come everything people threw at them. All the girls should be proud of what they have achieved so far. And as I write this report I have to remind myself and others that a few of this team is between 16-17 years of age. For players so young to come out in a Leinster Championship Final and play the way they did is such an achievement for themselves and their parents. After all the emotion it was back to business and it was time for captain fantastic herself, Caitriona McKeon to step up and collect the trophy. Caitriona has been like a rock in the center of the field for Wicklow and the emotion on her face when she hoisted the trophy said it all.
As with every final one must pick a player of the match. Its not often that the one I have in my head goes with the one who gets it but this time I got it right, Emer Miley was announced player of the match, and it was much deserved. Well done Emer. While it’s easy to pick out individual players after games, one must remember that it’s a team sport, from the first 15 to the sub bench every one played their part.
A big well done to everyone on the Wicklow team. And finally a well done to the management which consist of Michael O Rourke, Michael Broderick, and Louise Allen who also celebrated her 40th birthday today, happy birthday Louise. Next for Wicklow is the all Ireland which takes place in Louth against Louth again. We hope the girls keep the flag waiving.
For more information on the Wicklow ladies you can find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/wicklowjuniorteam or www.wicklowladiesgaa.com
Report by Paul Flynn
Wicklow Line up
1 Emer Miley
2 Caitriona Byrne
3 Janet Miley
4 Aoife Heffernen
5 Lorna Fusciardi
6 Sarah Miley
7 Niamh Kelly
8 Caitriona McKeon
9 Jackie Kinch
10 Caolifhionn Deeney
11 Monica Lynch
12 Niamh Carroll
13 Sinead Boland
14 Lucy Mulhall
15 Ann Marie Doran
Louth Line up
1 Caoimhe Breen
2 Aine McGee
3 Grace Rogers
4 Patsi McGuinness
5 Ann Marie Lynch
6 Grace Lynch
7 Patricia Marmion
8 Sandra Lynch
9 Rosanna Heaney
10 Susan Byrne
11 Catherine Page
12 Katie Rafferty
13 Maria Reid
14 Siobhan McDonald
15 Laura O Neill