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St. Pats Ladies Win County Championship
St Patrick’s V Kilbride
25th August 2012
The first of this year’s Ladies County Finals was played last Saturday in Baltinglass. With heavy rain the previous 24 hours it is a great testament to the Baltinglass Club that the pitch was in such good condition. This year saw the introduction of an Intermediate grade in Wicklow and two of the top teams in the grade made it all the way to Co Final day – Kilbride and St Patrick’s. Kilbride had All Ireland winning Co Captain Cathriona McKeon in their ranks while St Pats midfield pairing of the two Laura’s – Manley and Leonard – had impressed up to the Final.
Plenty of supporters had made the trek to see this much anticipated final with blue and white obviously being the colours of the day. The match started at 100 miles and hour with both teams determined to bring home silverware, determined to come out on the winning side when the final whistle was blown. As they have done all season, St Pats flew out of the blocks the quicker of the two, putting some good passing moves together. It was obvious that midfielder Laura Manley had packed her shooting boots when leaving Glenealy that morning as she racked up some fine scores, 0-8 by the final whistle. At the other end, Kilbride were finding it tough to break down the St Pats defence – playing against a stiff breeze didn’t help their cause. However, their centre forward Rionach Craul was causing problems with her direct running style but seemed isolated on too many occasions. St Pats continued to bombard the Kilbride goal and were keeping to scoreboard ticking over all throughout the first half. Disaster then struck for Kilbride when St Pat’s goal poacher supreme Niamh O’Brien got one-on-one with goalkeeper Orla Donohue and slipped the ball into the back of the net – cue wild celebrations from the St Pat’s supporters. The half time whistle went shortly after and the ladies from the Town were 1-11 to 0-3 in front at the break.
Kilbride started strong in the second half and began using the wind to their advantage, playing high balls into the St Pat’s danger zone. Wing forward Michelle Jones was gaining influence for Kilbride and but for some good defending from Pats, the lead would have been reduced. The turning point in the second half came after 9 minutes when a long ball by Jenny Kilbride, from Kilbride, into the Pats defence was cut out by Ruth Mackay. Mackay, the St Pats captain, drove forward to a rousing roar from the townies in the stand. Two quick passes later and Sarah Delahunt had scored a superb point from 40 yards against the wind – Kilbride never recovered. The St Pats management began making changes and introduced some promising young players, none more so than Megan Kelly who helped herself to a great score with five minutes remaining. Kilbride got a late consolation goal through Niamh Connolly but had only scored one point in the second half while St Pats had added a further 0-11 to their first half tally. The final whistle went and the Town team had finally won the Championship, after been beaten in the previous two finals the relief was evident for all to see. The final score of 1-22 to 1-4 was an accurate reflection of St Pats dominance all over the field.
St Patrick’s Captain Ruth Mackay thanked Kilbride for a super game of football and the match officials for their handling of the game. By all accounts the celebrations went on well into the night in Wicklow, a well deserved win after two years of heartbreak at Co Final stage, and in to the Senior ranks for 2013.
St Patrick’s: J Lyons, L Dickenson, R Mackay, L Duffy, S Doyle, N McGettigan, R Watters, L Leonard (0-2), L Manley (0-8), A Hayden (0-2), S Delahunt (0-4), A Sheehy, N O’Brien (1-3), E Sayer (0-2), L Malone.
SUBS: M Kelly (0-1), S O’Reilly, O McNulty, S Kavanagh, A McDonald, A Tyrrell, C Smullen, C Hannifin
Kilbride: O Donohoe, H O’Connor, N Donohoe, G Haughtan, C Ryall, C McKeon, C Roche, T Roche, J Kilbride, M Jones, J Duffy (0-2), C Kelly, G Conway (0-1), R Craul, N Connolly (1-1).
SUBS: A Collins, A Byrne, S Bealin
Wicklow Ladies Intermediate Championship Final – Take Two!
St Patricks leave Kilbride Blue
St Patrick’s, Wicklow Town 1 - 22 Kilbride 1 - 4
On what turned out to be a fine sunny evening in Baltinglass, (beautifully turned out by Henry Sinnott), St. Patrick’s reached the promised land of Senior football. Banishing the turmoil of 2 championship final losses the easterners were fully deserved of their victory. They were assured in all they did – a tribute to their management team (Robert Hollingsworth, Alan Smullen, Michael Kavanagh, Shay McDonald). The match started with a frenetic amount of St Patrick’s attack as has been their wont in this years campaign and before Kilbride had settled they found themselves 7 points adrift. Points in rapid succession from Laura Manley (3) , Ashling Hayden, Sarah Delahunt and Niamh O’Brien (2). Kilbride, who never recovered from the start or indeed the fact that they fielded without the U.S.A. scholarship player the talismanic Claire Walsh, finally got going and a point from their industrious corner forward, Geraldine Conway, was just reward for some pressing. This however galvanised the Pats team even more and in the following attack some great interplay involving Sarah Delahunt and Niamh McGettigan resulted in a goal for O’Brien who was on fire for the first half. However not to be outdone Jean Duffy pointed twice to narrow the gap but at half time the writing was on the wall with the score standing at 1 – 12 to 0 – 3 much of the damage being done by nippy corner forward Niamh O’Brien. A brief fight back from Kilbride threatened when Niamh Connolly goaled and was followed up by a point for Jean Duffy but any thought of a Kilbride revival were thwarted when a barrage of points from all angles went over the brilliant Orla Donohoe crossbar. A constant supply of ball was assured by the promptings of the Pats midfielders, Laura Manley in particular, ably abetted by her comrade in arms Laura Leonard and this youthful midfield duo held the edge over the Kilbride engine room for long periods of the match. Indeed but the for the heroics of the Donohoe sisters Nikki and Orla the score would have been even higher. Orla pulled off a string of class saves while Nikki, possibly the best defender on view, gave an exhibition of defensive play in the face of adversity and subdued the threat of Niamh O’Brien for the duration of the second half, no mean feat in view of the form of the young corner forward. The point taking of the Pats forwards was top class and truly unerringly awesome while their defence with the outstanding Niamh McGettigan , Louise Dickenson and Ruth Mackay starring got through the work expected of them in snuffing out any thought Kilbride had of a fight back. Kilbride tried might and mane none more so than Ríonach Craul and Michelle Jones but they could not break through the Pats resolute defence. An injury to Kilbride’s midfielder Tara Roche early in the second half signalled more trouble for the westerners and St Patricks ended the match with points from Manley, Leonard and sub Megan Kelly. The Glendalough Hotel sponsored Intermediate trophy was bound for the St Patricks clubhouse and their sponsors Mel Keenans Sports Bar and when referee Seanie Dwan blew for full time the score read 1 – 22 to 1 – 4. the St Patricks joint captains, Carol Smullen and Ruth Mackay were presented with the trophy by Ladies County Chairman Tom Sherlock and a long night was assured the Wicklow Town. St Patricks had fought hard for the last number of years to win this trophy and one had to sympathise with Kilbride as they manfully had tried to wrest the trophy back but were caught up in a whirlwind of scores from the victors. St Pats now go on to represent Wicklow in the Leinster Junior Club Championship against the winners of the Longford Junior Championship (away) on 16th September. Best for St Patrick’s on a day when everything that could go right for them did were Niamh McGettigan, Laura Manley, Laura Leonard, Sarah Delahunt and player of the match Niamh O’Brien while the Donohoe sisters together with Jean Duffy , Caroline Ryall and Michelle Jones tried hardest for a Kilbride side who tried valiantly for their cause and who will see better days in the not too distant future. On a nice moment after the match it was fantastic to see Lisa O’Donoghoe, who had been unwell, embrace her team mates in the Kilbride dressing room and the sight of their comrade gave some solace to them in the aftermath of the match.
St Patricks ; Jennifer Lyons, Louise Duffy, Ruth Mackay, Louise Dickenson, Sorcha Doyle, Niamh McGettigan, Rebecca Watters, Laura Leonard (0-2), Laura Manley(0-8), Ashling Hayden (0-2), Sarah Delahunt (0-4), Amy Jane Sheehy, Niamh O’Brien (1-3), Edwina Sayer (0-2), Liz Malone. Subs ; Megan Kelly (0-1), Aine McDonald, Rose Fagan, Seoirse O’Reilly, Orfhlaith McNulty, Sophia Kavanagh, Aoife Tyrell, Caitriona Hannifin, Deirdre McIntaggart, Claire Jameson, Shaunna Byrne.
Kilbride ; Orla Donohoe, Hazel O’Connor, Nikki Donohoe, Grace Haughian, Caroline Ryall, Caitriona McKeon, Ciara Roche, Tara Roche, Jenny Kilbride, Michelle Jones, Jean Duffy, Clare Kelly, Geraldine Conway, Ríonach Craul, Niamh Connolly, Angela Collins, Aisling Clarke, Aine Byrne, Sarah Bealin, Claire Walsh, Lisa O’Donoghoe, Grace O’Neill.