Dublin V Laois - Leinster Minor Final

Dublin V Laois – Leinster Minor Final

Four in a Row for the Jackies.

Relief was etched on the faces of the Dublin players and mentors at the end of an error-strewn Leinster minor final played in Sarsfields grounds, Newbridge on Sunday. Having led by 2-2 to 0-6 against the strong breeze in the first half the Jackies contrived to allow Laois back into the game with a late flourish that almost forced the tie into extra time. It is fair to say that Dublin had at least eighty per cent of the possession in the second half but made very poor use of it. Some very poor shooting accounted for eight wides in the second half.
Likewise, Laois kicked some poor wides, four in total, with the aid of the breeze. When Alice Malone was upended in the large parallelogram deep into a prolonged bout of second half injury time referee, John McLoughlin, had no hesitation in awarding a penalty. Alison Taylor drove the ball low and hard towards the bottom right hand corner. Dublin goalkeeper, Alice Gillen, went the right way and got her right hand to the shot but failed to keep it from crossing the line via the goalpost. Suddenly what had been a comfortable four point lead was now down to the bare minimum. There were anxious moments from there to the end for the Jackies as Laois sensed the opportunity of extra time.
But survive they did and now go on to a semi-final meeting with Munster champions, Clare, in defence of their All-Ireland title.

Laois were first on the scoreboard with a Sinead Doogue free after two minutes. Dublin responded immediately with a fabulous flowing move involving nine passes that set Orlagh Egan free in the left corner.
She shook off the attention of her marker and buried the ball in the Laois net from a narrow angle past a helpless Caoimhe Egan in goals. Dublin didn’t score again until the twenty-sixth minute when the same player converted a close in free. Tight marking by the Laois defence allied to some particularly poor hand passing by the Dubs in that first half caused many promising moves to break down. In fact Orlagh was the only Dublin forward that carried a scoring threat up front.
She appeared to be in on goal again in the eighteenth minute only to be pulled for charging with the ball. Laois on the other hand often took the wrong option with the boot. Alice Malone and Rachel Williams were posing problems for the Dublin defence. Williams scored three well-taken points from play in the first half and might have had a shot at goal with one of them. Rosemary Bermingham was orchestrating matters for Laois with good support from Sinead Doogue, Sarah McEvoy and Alison

The Dublin mentors were quick to take remedial action. Aoife O Reilly was switched on to Bermingham and immediately succeeded in curtailing her movements. Nevertheless, Laois continued to pile on the pressure and a wonderful long range point from Taylor left the sides level after twenty-five minutes. One minute later Williams had the O’Moore County ahead. But then two scores in close proximity turned matters Dublin’s way. In the twenty-seventh minute Rebecca Davey equalised for the
Jackies and this was followed soon after by the game’s crucial score.
After great build-up play Amy Connolly fired a shot towards goal which was deftly flicked on by Vicky Browne on the edge of the square.
Goalkeeper, Egan, did well to parry the flick but Browne reacted quickest to poke the ball into the net. Dublin went in leading by 2-2 to 0-6 having played against the breeze in the first half.

Laois started the second half all guns blazing and had an early point from a free by Doogue. Dublin responded with two points from Orlagh Egan, one direct from a free, the other as a result of a pass and return from a free kick situation. Dublin camped in the Laois half for the next twenty minutes and only scored one point from a free. Laois were contributing to their own downfall by needlessly giving it away.
Kick-outs were falling into Dublin hands but were misplaced or put wide.
Then Laois got it together for the final five minutes of normal time and into injury time. Alice Malone in particular took it to the Dublin defence. When she was fouled for the penalty Laois’ hopes were raised.
Taylor’s conversion piled on the pressure on the Jackies. One point in it and two minutes or so left. Good fielding by Amy Connolly from the kick-out ensured that play went to the other end of the pitch. But Laois came again and the relief was palpable when Niamh Collins fielded from the ensuing attack and cleared. The final whistle followed to a mixture of relief and jubilation. The title remains in the capital for another year. The management team will have plenty time to prepare for the
semi-final against the Banner County in mid-July. The lack of scores from play, three in the first half and one in the second with the aid of the breeze and only eight scores in total has to be a cause of anxiety to them. The breakdown in hand passing and poor shooting will need some repair work. The exam break may provide a welcome break for all concerned.
Best for the Dublin were Aoife O Reilly, Rachel Nugent, Sinead Cullen and Orlagh Egan. Best for Laois were Rachel Williams, Alice Malone, Caoimhe Egan and Alison Taylor.

Player of the Match – Orlagh Egan.

Dublin – A. Gillen, R. Byrne, N. Collins, P. Green, C. O Riordan, R. Nugent, A. O Reilly, C. Brogan, A. Connolly, S. Cullen, capt., S. Cumiskey, O. Egan, (1-5, 4 frees), V. Browne, (1-0), J. Moore, R. Davey, (0-1).
Subs – E. Farrell for J. Moore, S. Loughran for V. Browne and S. Stokes for S. Cumiskey.

Laois – C. Egan, A. Wall, K. Dunne, G. Miller, L. Bergin, R. Julian, C. Brennan, S. McEvoy, A. Taylor, (1-1, 1-0 pen), A. Malone, S. Doogue, (0-3, all frees), R. Bermingham, R. Williams, (0-4), C. Dollard, capt., E. Healy.
Subs – A. McEvoy for C. Brennan, D. Callinan for G. Miller, C. Reynolds for C. Dollard, A. Langton for L. Bergin and A. Kehoe for E. Healy.

Referee – John McLoughlin, Kildare.

Pictured Shona Barrett Dublin Minor Captain lifts Dublin first All Ireland Minor title in 2008.

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