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2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets

Laois 2-16 Dublin 3-4

Laois 2-16 Dublin 3-4

Laois pulled out all the stops to run out convincing winner over their “old” rivals Dublin, when both sides met in the U16 'A' Leinster championship final on Saturday last in Clane.
In their two previous meetings in the championship, it was Dublin who were the victors, and amazingly both sides notched up identical scores in both games( 3-12 to 1-08) in the Dubs favour.
So it was only natural to think that the girls from the capital had one hand on the trophy going into this final, however the Laois camp were playing not just for the trophy, but also to restore their pride and their belief that they could match the Dublin side, and claim the top spot in Leinster.
From the minute referee John McLoughlin threw the ball in the Laois girls were out of the traps like lightening, notching up three points in as many minutes from Rachel Conroy, Hannah Russell and Sinead Doogue , before Dublins Ciara Donovan pointed to put her sides first score on the board.
Dublin were pushing hard as the first quarter came to an end, Ciara Donovan and Aoife Gallagher forcing two brilliant saves from Laois's net minder Ciamh Dollard to keep her side in the driving seat.
Going in to the second quarter, the Laois forward line of Rachel Conroy, Sinead Doogue, Hannah Russell, Mary Mulhare and Aisling Kehoe, combined to open space in the Dublin defence, and it was player of the match Alice Malone that took full advantage of her team mates hard work, as she drove the ball to the back of the Dublin net in the seventeenth minute, followed by a point and her second goal in the twenty fifth minute, Laois's number thirteen Mary Mulhare raised the white flag to register the last point of the half, with the score board reading 0-2 to 2-9 in Laois's favour.
The half time break gave the Dublin mentors time to regroup, and to find a way of lifting the team going into the second half, having won all their games this year, making a come back was not a term that the Dublin girls would be used to hearing, so they started the second half staring at Everest, and the only thing in their way was a very determined Laois team, but in fairness to the Dubs, they gave it a right good go, their number eight Jessica Wall added their third point within the first
minute, Laois's response came from Sinead Doogue and Rachel Conroy who tagged on three points, to put fifteen points between the sides.
At this stage many teams would have thrown in the towel, but not the Dubs they continued to look for chinks in the Laois defence, and within six minutes, the Dubs had closed the gap to five point going in to the final quarter with a goal from Siobhan Killeen, and two rockets from Nicole Owens with Rebecca Davey tapping over a point, without reply from the O'Moore girls.
You would have needed a chain saw to cut through the tension at this stage, as both sides went for broke, marshalled by their captain Clodagh Brennan, Laois formed a defensive ring of steel around the danger zone, Brennan knew that when the Dubs are involved its never over till the referee's getting into his car.
Unfortunately Dublins keeper Alice Gillen had to leave the field with an ankle injury after accidentally clashing with Laois's Rachel Conroy, we wish Alice a speedy recovery, Ciara Ruddy donned the number sixteen jersey to replaced Gillen for the remaining couple of minutes, while Laois's last scores of the game came from Hannah Russell and Alice Malone to bring the game to an end and the final score reading 3-4 to 2-16.
Both side now go forward to the quarter final stage of the all Ireland series, and could meet each other in that competition.
Leinster President Bill Daly congratulated both teams and mentors for a sporting game, before presenting Laois's victorious captain Clodagh Brennan with the U/16 'A' trophy, and Alice Malone with the player of the match award.
(Mick Forde, Leinster Pro.)

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