2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets

Minor B Leinster Championship Final

B Leinster Championship Final


Wicklow 2-14. OFFALY 3-8.

They say that goal keepers can be hero’s or villains, and
Wicklow minor keeper Linda Dempsey played both roles, but
she earned the title of hero for her brave save in the last
seconds of the game to ensure that Wicklow Minor ladies
made history when they were crowned Leinster minor B champions
on Saturday evening last in Ballylynan Co. Laois, when they
beat Offaly to win their first Leinster minor B title.

The match was played in excellent conditions, and both
teams played out a cracker of a game. The trophy was there
for the taking right up to the final whistle, but the Wicklow
girls stayed focused and dug deep to find the crucial scores
to win the title. Both sides were level at the break (1-5
to 1-5) and were level again ( 2-11 to 3-8 ) with just three
minute left to go to the final whistle, but Dempseys save
and Wicklow forwards firing over three points in injury
time was just what the doctor ordered. Wicklow were very
slow to get into the game, during the first fifteen minutes
they were at six’s and sevens, Offaly were much sharper
to the ball and seemed to be up for the game much more that
the Wicklow girls. During that period the faithful County
will reflect on six scorable chances to open up a sizable
gap on the Garden County that went wide. Offaly’s Orla Heavey
opened their account with a point in the first minute, and
it was not until the sixth minute that Wicklow got on the
scoreboard, Tracey O’Halleran accurately firing over her
first of five points for the game, all from frees. At the
end of the first quarter Offaly were two points clear and
continued to pressurise the Wicklow back line, Eileen Henley,
Andre Birchall, Jenny Doyle, Michelle Brown, Rachel Byrne
and player of the match Emily Hanney working hard to protect
Linda Dempsey’s goal. Despite Tracey O’Halleran adding a
further point, Offaly went four points clear going into
the final minutes of the second quarter.

At that time Wicklow were searching for a flicker of light
to set their game alight and it came from the left hand
of Lizzie Brophy, Brophy cleverly tapped the ball to the
back of the net over the out rushing Offaly keeper, Laura
Devery, after excellent work from Wicklow’s number thirteen
Kelly Ryder, and Ryder notched up her first score when she
intercepted an accurate pass involving Claire Kavanagh ,
Lorna Fuisciardi and Lizzie Brophy. Wicklow were happy to
go in at the break level, but Offaly’s Deirdre Evans tapped
over to put Offaly back in front, however the referee had
hardly recorded the score, when Wicklow’s Kelly Ryder was
one and one with the Offaly keeper and Ryders rocket like
shot rattle off the cross bar and went over, to leave the
sides level at the break ( 1-5 to 1-5 ). After a little
encouragement from mentors Seamus Ahern and Cathy Forde
the Wicklow side started the second half in a more positive
mood, Lizzie Brophy, Aimee Byrne, Tracey O’Halleran, and
Carol Long adding a point apiece to open a four point gap
within five minutes of the restart.

Offaly were never going to give in that easy and although
they had a player sin binned, they responded with a couple
of point from Sinead Taylor and Serena Kenna to pare back
Wicklow’s lead to two points. Both side exchanged scores
for the next couple of minutes adding to the highly charged
atmosphere going into the final minutes of the game. Wicklow
went ahead when midfielder Ailbhe Carney and Aimee Byrne
combined to put Kelly Ryder in for a well struck goal, Offaly
cancelled this out , their number eight Lorraine Kenna hitting
the back of the Wicklow net, made it all square once again.
Wicklow’s Orla Byrne who came in as a blood sub returned
the Offaly puck out, her lobbing shot was collected by Lizzie
Brophy in front of goal , Brophy side stepped the keeper
and her shot into an open goal rebounded off the cross bar
and wide to the delight of the Offaly supporters. However,
as the umpire was reminding the referee about playing extra
time, Wicklow struck back, Linda Dempseys save from Offaly
captain Sinead Taylor was cleared upfield by Rachel Byrne.
Wicklow forwards Kelly Ryder, Carol Long and Niamh Coleman
tapped over a point apiece deep into injury time to give
Wicklow a great win. Wicklow captain Lorna Fuisciardi was
presented with the Leinster Trophy by Leinster President
Paddy Brady, who also presented Emily Hanney with the player
of the game trophy. Wicklow will now play Dublin A, in the
Leinster Minor A semi-final, in Ballyboden St. Enda’s complex,
Dublin, on Saturday next at 2pm.

Wicklow Panel; Linda Dempsey, Eileen Hendley, Andre Birchall,
Jenny Doyle, Michelle Brown, Emily hanney, Rachel Byrne,
Lorna Fuisciardi, Ailbhe Carney, Carol Long (0-2), Claire
Kavanagh, Aimee Byrne (0-10, Kelly Ryder (1-4), Tracey O’Halleran
(0-5f), Lizzie Braophy (1-2). Subs: Orla Byrne (blood sub)
for Aimee Byrne, Niamh Coleman for Aimee Byrne, Ruth McEl

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