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Wicklow 2-10 Meath 3-9

Cruel Heartbreak

Wicklow 2-10 Meath 3-9

Wicklow U16 Ladies team suffered the cruel heartbreak of defeat to Meath in dramatic fashion in a pulsating Leinster semi-final at Ratoath last Saturday, 27th June. Tears flowed freely in the dressing room as they were prevented from causing a major upset against the championship favourites by conceding a goal in the second minute of injury time.

The Wicklow girls could not be consoled by virtue of putting up a good performance because in truth they comprehensively outplayed Meath for 50 minutes of the match but were unable to finish the job. The final score for the record was Meath 3-09 to Wicklow’s 2-10.

Wicklow playing with a slight breeze started the game comprehensively and Meath got the first score from a free after 2 minutes. The first fifteen minutes were crucial as the Wicklow girls kept the game tight and gained considerable confidence by matching their much vaunted opponents in every department of the field. Even though at this stage they were trailing by 3 points to one scored by Erinne Murphy there was a visible increase in their confidence and self-belief. For the entire second quarter Wicklow played delightful football combining determination and speed to reach half time leading by 8 points to 5. Indeed with a little more composure and luck in front of the goal the gap could have been wider. Wicklow shot 7 points from play with Kayleigh Crammond and Erinne Murphy getting three and Aife Kavanagh contributing 2 points.

Wicklow dominated the third quarter and failed to avail of their opportunities. When Kayleigh Crammond was upended in the square the referee awarded a penalty which Sarah Miley dispatched expertly into the net. Wicklow continued the pressure and when Lucy Mulhall scored a brilliant individual goal and Aife Kavanagh added a free the Wicklow girls led by 9 points with only ten minutes left on the clock. Meath introduced fresh legs and got on top at midfield. A long ball into the Wicklow defence was not adequately cleared and Meath had their first goal of the game. This was a crucial score as it energised the Meath team and Wicklow appeared to go into defensive mode hoping for the final whistle. Meath added another goal on 55 minutes and the pressure was on Wicklow. The home crowd were at fever pitch urging on the Meath team. Aife Kavanagh converted a crucial free to give Wicklow some breathing space. Meath laid siege to the Wicklow goal and with normal time expired were awarded a 45. A high speculative kick found its way into a Meath player on the edge of the square and in almost slow motion she finished to the net.

It was an unsatisfactory conclusion for this gallant Wicklow team. Wicklow had 15 men of the match. Each player from 1-15 performed to the limit of their ability and gave their best display in the county jersey. It was unlucky and cruel that they came up so tantalisingly short. A minor consolation for Wicklow is that 9 of the starting 15 are underage again next year together with 7 of the substitutes. Hopefully the panel can build on this wonderful effort.

Wicklow: Rebecca Condren (AGB), Sarah Hogan (Tinahely), Hannah Tew (AGB) Naomi Roche(AGB), Niamh Mc Gettigan(St Pats), Sarah Miley (An Tochar),Katie Kindlon (AGB), Jackie Kinch(Tinahely), Jennifer O’Gormon(An Tochar), Niamh Arthur(AGB), Shauna Fleming(AGB), Lucy Mulhall (Tinahely), Erinne Murphy (AGB), Aife Kavanagh(AGB), Kayleigh Crammond(AGB). Subs: Amy Devereux(AGB), Megan O’Brien(AGB), Michelle Forde(AGB), Meadbh Deeney(Eire Og), Nicole Kavanagh(AGB), Dannie Brauders(AGB), Laura Kavanagh (An Tochar) Sarah Kavanagh(An Tochar), Sarah Delahunty (St Pats), Louise Dickinson(St Pats).

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