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2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets

Limerick 1-9 Wicklow 1-14

BORD GÁIS ENERGY NATIONAL LADIES FOOTBALL LEAGUE SEMI-FINAL

Limerick 1-9 Wicklow 1-14

Wicklow ladies manager Mick O’Rourke hailed last Sunday as ‘Super Sunday’ as he and his team of mentors, Louise Allen, Mick Broderick and Eamonn O’Muircheartaigh watched the Wicklow ladies play over one hundred minutes of gruelling football before they finally booked their place in the division three final of the Bord Gais Energy National Football league, when they over came Limerick in a very exciting semi Final game played out in Gaelic Park on Sunday last.
Wicklow could have had it all wrapped up at the end of normal time, but they let Limerick in for an equalising point on the stroke of full time.
The sides were level on four occasions in the match, and when referee PJ Rabbitt called for the ball at the end of normal time, the score board read 1-9 each, forcing the game into extra time, and it was in that extra twenty minutes when they were reduced to fourteen players that the Wicklow side put in their greatest team effort.
The first objective was to batten down the hatches, and repel any Limerick advances, and this was achieved with flying colours as the Wicklow defence kept Limerick scoreless through out the extra time period of the game.
They say that the best form of defence is attack, so, it was the turn of the Wicklow forwards to apply pressure on the Limerick rearguard, and their determination was rewarded with a total of five points, four from play to cap off an excellent display form the Wicklow squad. They now await the out come of the second semi-final game between Roscommon and Derry.
The Wicklow back line played exceptionally well on Sunday last, particularly Lorna Fuisciardi, Fuisciardi was given the task of shadowing former Limerick all star Dymphna O’ Brien, and the Eire Og player had the pacy Limerick forward tied up for most of the game.
Wicklow midfielders Caitriona Byrne and Caoilfhionn Deeney were in top form, with Deeney collecting the Bord Gais Energy player of the match award. Deeney was first to raise the green flag with a well struck goal in the fifth minute of the game, in response to Limericks Yvette Moynihans opening point.
For the next seventeen minutes Limerick showed the greater hunger as Siobhan Moloney and Dymphna O’ Brien tagged on a point apiece to draw the sides level after ten minutes and the Shannon siders notched up a further two points courtesy of Maloney and Moynihan with out response from the Wicklow side.
Although Wicklow were guilty of giving away unnecessary points, the Garden County can count themselves fortunate that the Limerick side were unable to capitalise on their misdemeanours.
Wicklow made their first substitution in the second quarter, bringing the experienced Mikaela Shelley off the bench to replace Christine Doyle.
Wicklow full forward Geraldine Norton was unlucky in the nineteenth minute when she went one on one with the Limerick keeper Ella O’Shaughnessy , O’Shaughnessy made a brave save at the feet of Norton to push the ball out for the 45m free.
Norton was first to react when Caoilfhionn Deeney took a short 45m free, and the Wicklow number fourteen fired over the visitor’s first point of the game in the twentieth minute.
Wicklow finished the half with a point apiece from Laurie Ahern and Norton to give their side a one point cushion going in at the break (0-5 to 1-3).
Wicklow keeper Emer Miley did not have too many saves to make through out the game, however she did have to retrieve the ball from the back of her net in the thirty fifth when Dymphna O’Brien lobbed free kick dropped in over Caitriona McKeons hands, Wicklow also gifted Limerick with two easy points when they were once again in the dock for committing simple fouls in dangerous areas, and on this occasion O’Brien was on hand to punish Wicklow, and open a four point gap (1-7 to 1-3).
Mick O’Rourke and his selectors called Chrissie Shortt and Niamh Coleman into action in place of Orla Redmond and Geraldine Norton in the third quarter and the Garden county seemed to spring into life, with Caoilfhionn Deeney firing over an accurate free while Niamh Carroll levelled the scores with three points in as many minutes (1-7 to 1-7).
With less than five minutes left on the clock Caoilfhionn Deeney took a quick free to release Carroll and the Blessington player gave the visitors a one point advantage with a well struck point.
With two minutes remaining O’Brien levelled with an easy 14m free, the sides were deadlocked once again, Wicklow pressed once more with Caitriona Byrne picking out corner forward Laurie Ahern, Ahern cut in from the right to fire the Wicklow side into the narrowest of leads, but as the last grains of sand trickled out of the timer O’Brien slipped her marker for the last time to give her side a life line, as the game headed for twenty minutes of extra time,
Within three minutes of the start of the first period of extra time, Wicklow were reduced to fourteen players when Niamh Coleman was sentenced to ten minutes in the dreaded sin bin for continuous fouling.
Wicklow stepped up to the mark and produced a brilliant nail biting finish, Deeney and Julie Fitzmaurice adding one apiece while Chrissie Shortt and Carroll combined to extend the Wicklow lead to four and it was left to Laurie Ahern to seal victory for the Garden County with the final point of the game.
Mick O’Rourke admits that the “Girls are well aware, that although they had put in a superb performance against Limerick, they have not collected any silverware, yet, and while we have a lot of work done, there is so much more to do if we are to reap the rewards”
The second Bord Gais Energy Ladies NFL Div 3 Semi Final, between Rocommon and Derry which was due to played on Sunday last was postponed due to the sudden death of Conor McCusker, brother of Aine McCusker of Derry.

Wicklow: Emer Miley, Lorna Fuisciardi, Aisling O’hAnnaidh, Aoife Heffernan, Lisa Brady,Caitriona McKeon Capt, Niamh Kelly, Caitriona Byrne, Caoilfhionn Deeney !-2f), Amie Byrne, Christine Doyle, Niamh Carroll (0-6), Laurie Ahern (0-3), Geraldine Norton (0-2), Orla Redmond.
Subs: Mikaela Shelley for Christine Doyle, Jill Heatley for Aisling O’hAnnaidh, Janet Miley for Lisa Brady, Julie Fitzmaurice (0-1) for Amie Byrne, Niamh Coleman for Geraldine Norton, Chrissie Shortt for Orla Redmond, Lizzie Brophy for Niamh Coleman.
Limerick: Ella O’Shaughnessy, Sandra Healy, Donna Frost, Maggie O’Brien, Emma McGuire, Hazel Fogarty, Olivia Giltenane, Ingrid Laffan, Paula Donnelly, Siobhan Moloney (0-1), Yvette Moynihan (0-2), Janet Garvey, Dymphna O’Brien (1-6 (4f), Mary Ita Casey (capt), Sinead Fitzpatrick. Subs: Stephanie Ankatell, Niamh Richardson.

Referee : PJ Rabbitte (Galway)

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