Lalor and Dunne with the crucial goals as Laois land TG4 Leinster intermediate title

TG4 Leinster Intermediate Championship Final

Laois 2-13
Wicklow 0-13

It was billed as the most competitive championship in the country and the 2018 Intermediate Final did not disappoint in front of a large crowd in Netwatch Cullen Park on Sunday afternoon as Laois were crowned TG4 Leinster Champions for the first time since their Senior Crown way back in 2011. They were pushed all the way though by a defiant Wicklow team who have already had a season to remember.

Laois started brightly, minor duo Erone Fitzpatrick and Emma Lalor combined for Lalor to finish to the net on three minutes. Wicklow though brought themselves back into contention, points from Amy Murphy and Meadhbh Deeney brought them within a point after 7 mins. Marie Kealy brought the sides level on 11 mins as the sun forced water breaks every ten minutes. Laois then hit a purple patch hitting six unanswered scores in five minutes, including two points from Clare Conlon, which set the O’Moore County up for victory. Indeed, Laois could have been further ahead but for Kim Connors’ heroics in the Wicklow nets. The teams traded scores as the clock ticked toward half time, Laura Hogan pointing before Clare Conlon split the posts for Laois, her third score of the half. Erone Fitzpatrick added her second point of the contest right before half time and it was advantage to Kevin Doogue’s troops as the half time whistle blew, Laois 1-08, Wicklow 0-04.

While Wicklow were hoping to make a big impression on the second half, it was Laois that converted first, Meaghan Dunne getting Laois’ second goal and Lalor added her second point and third score a minute later. Six minutes into the half it looked ominous for the ladies from the Garden County as they trailed by eleven points. However, credit where it’s due, the Sarah Hogan captained side continued to pick away at the deficit. Three points in two minutes got the crowd in full voice, two frees from Deeney and one from Laura Hogan and just like that it seemed like game on. The teams traded scores in the 46th min, Lalor getting her third and final score for Laois while Laurie Ahern converted a point. Substitute Mary Cotter received a yellow card and Laura Hogan hit the resulting free and it was a six point game. Then Wicklow too received a yellow card, Laurie Ahern going in late and awkward on a tackle. Meaghan Dunne extended that lead to seven once more a minute later but Laois received another blow, a second yellow card, this time for a late tackle from Maggie Murphy. With their tails up, Wicklow went in the hunt of that elusive goal. Instead they found two points, substitute Rose Fagan splitting the posts before Marie Kealy grabbed her second. Ciara Burke restored the O’Moore County’s lead to six and that’s how it was to stay, despite Wicklow fighting til the bitter end. Laois 2-13, Wicklow 0-13.

Leinster President, Dominic Leech congratulated both teams on a fine performance played at incredible intensity given the heat. He thanked both sets of managements and their respective County Boards and paid tribute to the volunteers that ensured Leinster Final day ran without a hitch. Player of the Match went to Laois wing back, Amy Potts for a wonderful defensive display.

Laois Scorers: Emma Lalor (1-03), Clare Conlon (0-04, 1f), Meaghan Dunne (1-01), Erone Fitzpatrick (0-02), Ciara Burke (0-02), Caoimhe Simms (0-01).

Wicklow Scorers: Laura Hogan (0-04, 3f), Meadhbh Deeney (0-03, 2f), Marie Kealy (0-02), Jackie Kinch, Laurie Ahern, Amy Murphy, Rose Fagan (all 0-1 each).

Laois Team: Fiona Kelly, Ciara Hughes, Jenny McEvoy, Alison McEvoy, Amy Potts, Mags McEvoy (C), Anna Healy, Jane Moore, Laura Nerney, Erone Fitzpatrick, Clare Conlon, Caoimhe Simms, Emma Lalor, Ciara Burke, Meaghan Dunne.

Subs: Eva Galvin for Moore (40 mins), Maggie Murphy for Conlon (53 mins)

Wicklow Team: Kim Connors, Emily Mulhall, Sarah-Jane Winder, Aoife Gillen, Alanna Conroy, Sarah Hogan (C), Lorna Fusciardi, Niamh McGettigan, Sarah Miley, Meadhbh Deeney, Jackie Kinch, Laurie Ahern, Marie Kealy, Laura Hogan, Amy Murphy.

Subs: Saoirse O’Reilly for Gillen (39 mins), Claire Walsh for McGettigan (39 mins), Rose Fagan for Mulhall (48 mins), McGettigan for Marie Kealy (58 mins).

Referee: Des McEnery (Westmeath)


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