Waterford Under 14 ladies come up short in thriller


In a thrilling game of football played in sunny Stradbally on Sunday last, Waterford under 14 ladies narrowly failed to annex the Munster title for the fourth year in a row when they suffered a heart breaking defeat to Tipperary in Extra Time. This has been the third meeting of these two wonderful teams in the championship and each game served up a thriller. Following the drawn Munster final two weeks ago in Clonmel the two teams gave us a game to remember and the Deise ladies were in hard luck not to come up the elusive point that would have drawn the game and brought it to a second replay.

Tipperary opened in whirl wind fashion and had a goal and two points on the board before Waterford woke up and began to play the football that they are capable of. Ruth Butler got Tipp’s opening goal with a surging run through the heart of the Waterford defence and an unstoppable shot which gave Waterford goalie Megan Foran no chance. Waterford began to claw their way back into the match with a point from Sarah Lacey and two from Annie Fitzgerald left Tipperary two points ahead. Dungarvan’s Sarah Lacey turned the game on its head in the 20th minute when a wonderful pass from Aoife Kennedy set her up to bury the ball past Tipp goalie Nicola O Dwyer. Sarah was on hand two minutes later with a speculative lob from 25 metres completely deceived the keeper and put Waterford four points ahead. Tipp  not to be outdone however replied with a second goal of their own when centre forward Eva Fennessey raised a green flag to leave the bare minimum between the teams at half time. Waterford 2-3 Tipperary 2-2.

Tipperary went into an early lead in the second half but were pulled back to parity with another Sarah Lacey point. Kelly Anne Hogan raised a huge cheer in the 40th minute when the Ballymac girl made no mistake and rifled the ball to the net. Clodagh Carroll put four points between the teams before the Tipperary substitute Angela Mc Guigan scored a free. Keeley Corbett Barry put four between the teams once again as the clock ticked down but the game was to have yet another twist when Tipperary centre back Caitlin Kennedy got the all important goal to leave them trailing by just a point  well into injury time, in the last attack of the game Angela Mc Guigan kept her composure to slot over the equalising point to tie the game at three goals and seven points each.

In the first period of extra time exchanges were tight and tense, Annie Fitzgerald kicked two wonderful points and Kelly Anne Hogan raised the cheers on the Waterford side with a point to leave three between the teams. Eva Fennessy kicked a point for Tipp to narrow the gap at half time in extra time. In the second half of extra time Fennessy and Mary Kate Curran exchanged points to still leave two between the teams before Alice Ryan got the all important Tipp goal to edge the Premier County back in front. Keeley Corbett Barry got a point back for Waterford but the team were to come up short when the referee inexplicably blew the whistle with Waterford in the middle of a very promising attack which could have led to a deserved equaliser but it was not to be.

This team and its management deserve great credit for the effort they put in. Despite the heat and glorious sunshine not one player from either side went down with cramp and the game was played in a very sporting manner. Waterford deserved a draw but will rue the many missed chances in the opening half. Well done girls on a wonderful display of football.

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