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All Ireland Junior Championship 2010 Group B Playoff

All Ireland Junior Championship 2010
Group B

Wicklow 6-2 Louth 3-12

Louth’s Susan Byrne tore the heart out of Wicklow, when she rattled the back of Emer Mileys net to put the Garden County out of the Junior Championship race to Croke Park, Byrne’s strike gave the North Leinster county, victory by the narrowest and cruellest of margins. Byrne’s goal came three minutes in to injury time, leaving Wicklow with no other option but to go for broke to get an equalising point, and in fairness to the Wicklow team, they push hard, but on this occasion lady luck deserted the Wicklow side, and when referee Martin Seery called for the ball, Hollywood Park was stunned in to a painful silence.
This was the third time that the sides have met this season, and with a win apiece, Sunday’s game had all the hall marks of another close encounter, Wicklow were fully focused for this game, and despite rumours that Louth had recalled their star player of 2009, Orlaith Kirk back to the fold, the home side got off to the best possible start, blitzing Louth with a hat trick of goals, two from Caoilfhionn Deeney and one from the boot of Niamh Carroll with less that ten minutes on the clock, while Susan Byrne opened the Wee counties account with a point in the third minute.
With the alarm bells were ringing intermittently in the Louth camp, they sprang Kirk from the bench at the end of the first quarter, by that time Louth had worked their way back in to the game, chipping four points of Wicklow’s lead to close the gap to four (3-0 to 0-5) after sixteen minutes .

Although Wicklow’s forward line were pressurising the Louth backs, they were finding it difficult to create openings to get a clear shot on target, with close on ten minutes remaining in the half, Wicklow had recorded no points and just two wides. Wicklow’s nerves were settled when Lucy Mulhall registered Wicklow’s fourth goal of the half to open a seven point gap (4-0 to 0-5).
The home side were unfortunate to lose the services of full back Janet Miley in the twenty fourth minute, Miley was sent to the sin bin, a sentence that would see the Valleymount club player, remain on the bench until the fourth minute of the third quarter. Wicklow mentors pulled the experienced Aisling OhAnnaidh back to give support to Caitriona Byrne, Aoife Heffernan, Lorna Fusciardi, Sarah Miley and Niamh Kelly in the Wicklow back line.
Before the half time hooter sounded, Louth’s Marie Reid, Susan Byrne and Kate Flood converted to bring the visitors total to eight points at the break, with Sinead Boland tagging on Wicklow’s first point of the game, to leave five between the sides (4-1 to 0-8).

Louth pared a further two points off Wicklow’s lead before Miley returned to the number three position, with Aimie Byrne replacing Ann Marie Doran in the Wicklow attack. Byrne was straight in to the action with her first attempt narrowly missing the target, and when Deeney broke down the resultant kick out, Byrne was on hand to collect and give a quick return pass to Deeney, who slotted the ball to the Louth net, to notch up Wicklow’s fifth goal and Deeney’s third .
While every thing was looking rosy in the garden, there was a little concern that Wicklow were going for goals instead of taking the easier option to keep Louth at a comfortable distance. However when Aisling O’hAnnaidh, who was now in at full forward , collected the ball from Niamh Carroll, and out witted the Louth keeper with her familiar short hop, to raise the green flag for the sixth time, followed by a point from Deeney, Wicklow went ten points clear (6-2 to 0-10), it looked as though Wicklow’s job
was done and dusted, with just ten minute remaining.

in fairness to Louth they never gave up the chase, Kate Flood added a point to signal the come back, and when Anne Marie Murphy rock the Wicklow side with two goals with in two minutes the flicker at the end of the Louth tunnel turned to fire works.
Marie Reid added a point from a free to close the gap to two points (6-2 to 2-12), but with the clock well in to the red zone, Louth’s Susan Byrne broke through the Wicklow defense for the final time, to deliver the killer blow to the heart of the Wicklow team, to give her side victory, and a semi final place, where they will face Derry next weekend.

Wicklow: Emer Miley, Caitriona Byrne, Janet Miley, Aoife Heffernan, Lorna Fusciardi, Sarah Miley, Niamh Kelly, Caitriona McKeon ( C ), Jackie Kinch, Caoilfhionn Deeney (3-1), Monica Lynch, Niamh Carroll (1-0), Sinead Boland (0-1), Lucy Mulhall (1-0), Anne Marie Doran, Aisling OhAnnaidh (1-0). Subs: Amie Byrne for Ann Marie Doran, Lisa Brady for Jackie Kinch, Geraldine Norton for Aisling O’hAnnaidh.

LOUTH: Caoimhe Breen; Anne Marie Lynch, Sandra Lynch 0-1, Aine McGee; Patricia Marmion, Grace Lynch, Siobhan McDonald; Rosanna Heeney, Grace Rogers; Susan Byrne 1-2, Kate Flood 0-2, Catherine Page 0-2; Marie Reid 0-2, Anne Marie Murphy 2-3, Laura O’Neill.
Referee: Martin Seery (Westmeath).

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