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Leinster Junior Championship final replay

Leinster Junior Championship final replay
Sunday 6th Sept 2009
Geraldine Pk, Athy
(Michael Forde Leinster PRO)

Louth 2-8 Wicklow 2-6

Louth bridged an eleven year gap when they claimed the TG4 Leinster Junior Championship crown from reigning champions Wicklow, when the sides battled hard for the title on Sunday last in a wet and windy Geraldine Park, Athy, and despite the poor weather conditions both Counties served up an exciting end to end game, with the sides trading scores through out the game.
Although Louth suffered a heavy loss to Limerick in the TG4 all Ireland junior semi final the previous week, in the same venue, many thought that they would struggle to lift their heads, and that they would not be motivated enough to go in to battle once again.
But Dermot Agnew and company are experienced campaigners, and they had the Louth side fully focused on the job in hand, and when it looked as though the game might be slipping away in the final ten minutes, the Louth full forward line fired over three points to bring Wicklow’s reign to an end.
Wicklow led by the slimmest of margins at the break (1-3 to 1-2), but the game turned in Louths favour when Wicklow lost the services of wing back Niamh Kelly, Kelly was shown the yellow card after referee Pat Keogh deemed that the Eire Og club player had made a late tackle.
Despite conceding a penalty in the last ten minutes of the game, the Louth forwards fired over three unanswered points to give them a two-point lead with just five minute remaining.
Louth put up a defensive wall around Caoimhe Breens goal and although the Wicklow side pressed hard they were unable to find a way through to close the gap, with Louth claiming the TG4 Leinster Junior Championship.
Wicklow will reflect on a total of twelve chances that failed to raise a flag, in particular five scorable chances in the first quarter that could have set Wicklow well on their way to retaining their Leinster title for a successive year, but it was not to be, the Wicklow players were very disappointed to lose the game, but they can take some comfort from the fact that they did not give up the title with out a fight, unfortunately there can only be one winner and that privilege went to the Wee County.
With less than a minute on the clock Wicklow’s Amie Byrne fired over the Garden counties first point, Louth on the other hand were having trouble finding the target in the first five minutes, driving three shots wide before their top scorer Edel McKeown-Sloane found her range, cancelling out Byrnes score.
The strong cross wind was also affecting Wicklow’s sharp shooters, with Geraldine Norton, Niamh Carroll and Caoilfhionn Deeney all registering wides, before Deeney notched up Wicklow’s second point in the sixteenth minute.
However Wicklow Keeper Emer Miley had already been beaten in the same period, when Sloane fired a rocket like shot to the back of the Wicklow net, followed by a point to open a three point lead (1-2 to 0-2) after seventeen minutes.
The sides were level three minutes later, when Geraldine Norton raised the green flag, after excellent inter play from Deeney, Niamh Carroll and Norton to draw the scores level 1-2 each for the second time in the game. Deeney converted Wicklow’s only score from a free to give her side a one-point advantage at the break 1-3 to 1-2.
Two minutes in to the second half, player of the match Orliath Kirk converted a free to level the sides for the third time in the game, Kirk was also voted player of the match in the drawn game on the 19th of July last.
Wicklow opened a two point lead (1-5 to 1-3) when Carroll and Norton tagged on a point apiece, and the Wicklow side maintained that margin until the forty-fourth minute, when the Louth captain Edel McKeown-Sloane hit the back of the Wicklow net at a crucial time in the game, to give the Wee county a one point lead, Orlaith Kirk followed up with a point to put two points between the sides (1-6 to 2-5).
As the game moved into the final quarter, the tension on and off the field was building just nicely, Wicklow were first to suffer when their number Seven Niamh Kelly was sin binned for a late foul, Wicklow were thrown a life line ten minutes from the end, when referee Pat Keogh pointed to the spot after Niamh Carroll was fouled, Norton stepped up to the mark, firing the ball past Caoimhe Breen in the Louth goals, to put Wicklow one point ahead (2-6 to 2-5) with eight minute remaining.
Louth forwards responded with three well-struck points in quick succession, one apiece from Susan Byrne, Sharon Callon and Niamh Reid to give them the TG4 Leinster junior championship title for 2009. Leinster President Sean McMullin thanked all those involved on the day, before presenting Louth Captain Edel McKeown Sloane with the TG4 Leinster junior championship trophy, Sean then presented Orlaith Kirk with player of the match award.
Louth scorers: Orlaith Kirk 0-2f, Sandra Lynch 0-1f, Edel McKeown-Sloane 2-2, Susan Byrne 0-1, Niamh Reid 0-1, Sharon Callan.
Wicklow scorers: Caoilfhionn Deeney 0-2, Geraldine Norton 2-1, Amie Byrne 0-1, Aisling O’hAnnaidh 0-1, Niamh Carroll 0-1.
WICKLOW: Emer Miley (Blessington), Lorna Fuisciardi (Eire Og), Janet Miley (Valleymount), Aoife Heffernan (Bray Emmets), Lisa Brady (Bray Emmets), Caitriona McKeon (Capt) Kilbride), Niamh Kelly (Eire Og), Caitriona Byrne (AGB), Caoilfhionn Deeney (Eire Og), Amie Byrne (An Tochar), Niamh Carroll(Blessington), Mikaela Shelley ( Bray Emmets), Laurie Ahern (Eire Og). Geraldine Norton ( Baltinglass), Aisling O’hAnnaidh (Bray Emmets), Subs: Eadaoine Lenihan for Laurie Ahern (39th min), Lizzie Brophy ( Valleymount) for Mikaela Shelley (49th min), Jill Heatley (Blessington) for Caitriona Byrne (49th min), Monica Lynch (An Tochar) for Caoilfhionn Deeney (52nd min), Rebecca Fusciardi (Eire Og) for Amie Byrne (56th min)
LOUTH: Caoimhe Breen, Emma Brennan, Sara Quinn, Ciara Rafferty, Grainne Macken, Grace Lynch, Jenny Agnew, Orlaith Kirk, Sandra Lynch, Rosanna Heaney, Catherine Page , Edel McKeown Sloane ( Capt), Susan Byrne, Niamh Reid , Sharon Callan. Subs:Tara Lynch, Patricia Marmion,
Referee: Pat Keogh (Carlow)

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