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U-14 Leinster Championship Final

U-14 Leinster Championship Final

Meath v Laois
Clane, Kildare

Saturday 17th May 2008
Throw In: 2.30pm

Half Time: Meath 3-04 v Laois 0-04
Full Time: Meath 5-09 v Laois 0-06

For the first time in eight years Meath Ladies are finally in the possession of some silverware after the U-14s excelled and cruised past a good Laois side at Clane GFC on Saturday in the Leinster Final. In fact, Meath had the game won in the first half and spent the second half adding to Laois's misery. Victory in the U-14 Final completes their Leinster run in faultless fashion and they are the only county that boasts a 100% record in the province, having not dropped a match in the campaign.

The game began at a high speed and it was Laois that had the first chance at goal although full forward Laura Dunne kicked it wide. It was Meath who got the scoreboard up and running with a well taken goal from Laura Dempsey on two minutes. Good work by Aine Bennett and Jacinta Maher had given Dempsey a good angle on goal and Dempsey finished well. Laois pointed from a free on 7 minutes after a harsh decision by the referee gave Laois an easy free just inside the 21 and Chloe Ryan made no mistake with the finish to put just two points between the teams. Maher restored Meath's three point lead on ten minutes when she swept past the Laois defence to put the ball firmly over the bar. On twelve minutes Maher had put the ball over the bar again, this time though it was a Laois player, Laura Marie Maher who reduced the deficit to two once more for Laois. From then on though Meath simply picked up the pace and left Laois in their wake. Centre half-back Lauren McCann displayed Meath's determination by running the length of the pitch to point on 14 minutes. On the resulting kick-out Meath won possession of the ball, Captain Sinead Coyle found full forward Maher and although her shot was saved and spilled by the keeper, corner forward Bennett was to the rescue to fire the ball into the back of the net. This was arguably the best goal of the match and delighted the Royal supporters who had made the journey.

When Laois did work the ball down the other end of the pitch brave defending from full back Cliona Murray ensured that the ball returned to the forward line. Ryan again pointed for Laois from a free on 17 minutes to make the score, Meath 2-02 to Laois 0-03. Meath pointed again on 20 minutes through Adrienne McCann. Meath were probably lucky as Laois put shot after shot wide while at the other end the Royals converted their chances. On 24 minutes, Sinead Coyle took a free from the half back line and found Jacinta Maher who quickly passed it off to Adrienne McCann who carved through the Laois defence, drew the keeper out from her goal and calmly hit the ball into the back of the net. The move epitomised what was best about the team, their determination and certainty in passing. On 26 minutes Maher took in the shot herself and assuredly kicked the ball over the bar. Laois ended the scoring in the first half with a point from Maria Fitzpatrick. Despite this it was the Meath team that ended the half the happier with 3 goals separating the teams, 3-04 to 0-04.

The second half opened with as much intensity as the first. It was Meath who got the first opportunity although Deirdre Moroney put the ball wide. Laois put the first score of the half on the board on 35 minutes with wing forward Mo Nerney pointing. Moroney made amends for her earlier wide by putting the ball over the bar on 36 minutes. A minute later Meath once again found the back of the net with good teamwork by Moroney, Maher and Katie Callaghan and it was Callaghan that finished superbly. Laois upped the tempo in the second half forcing Meath into a defensive role. But to the Royals credit they rarely faulted and defended doggedly at times. Cliona Murray, Ceilidh Dalton and Lauren McCann were outstanding for Meath. On 43 minutes Meath pointed again through Laura Dempsey and Captain Sinead Coyle added a further point two minutes later. After a further period of good defending, Callaghan added a further point on 51 minutes. Keeper Niamh Geraghty was called into action catching a high ball and kicking it to safety on 55 minutes. Rachel Flynn blocked down her players shot on just inside the end line and found Sinead Coyle and safety. On 59 minutes Laois added their second point of the half and what was to become their last score of the game. However, Meath weren't finished and Callaghan added a further 1-01 before the final whistle.

Meath were overjoyed at the final whistle to be finally taking silverware home to the Royal county and the result is sure to send shock waves around the country ahead of next weeks All Ireland Quarter Final. Meath will play the runners up in the Ulster U14 Championship either Tyrone or Donegal at a venue and time to be announced.
The Meath team was outstanding on the day but one player stood out from the rest and was duly rewarded with Player of the Match, full back Cliona Murray. With players of her calibre, and others such as Aine Bennett, Sinead Coyle and Katie Callaghan, Meath progress to the All Ireland stages enthusiastic and hopeful for success.

Leinster Council President Bill Daly presented an ecstatic captain Sinead Coyle with the Leinster cup.
Meath Team & Scorers: N. Geraghty, K. Jennings, C. Murray, C. Dalton, R. Flynn,
L. McCann (0-01), K. Blaney, L. Murray, S. Coyle (0-01), K. Callaghan (2-02), A. McCann (1-01), L. Dempsey (1-01), A. Bennett (1-00), J. Maher (0-02), D. Moroney (0-01).
Subs: K. Fallahy for Blaney, J. Kavanagh for Moroney. S. Stanley, R. Irwin, E. O'Hare, O. Bracken, L. Lynch, L. Patterson, M. Scanlon, N. Lister.
Referee: Tony Clarke (Dublin)

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