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2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets

Wicklow hope to end 18 year wait in Junior Final

TG4 leinster Junior championship final

After an eighteen year wait, Wicklow’s ladies Gaelic footballers are back in a Leinster junior championship final, for the second time in their twenty year history.

Their first outing was back in 1990, when the Wicklow ladies made the short trip down to New Ross to take on and beat Wexford 7-5 to 0-1 in the Leinster semi-final.

A young Elaine Murphy (16yrs) from the Coolboy club, playing in her first senior game, scored a brace of goals with her first two touchs of the ball.
Wicklow, captained by Caroline Carty (Coolkenno) then travelled to Dr. Cullen Park, Carlow, to take on and eventually beat Offaly in a very exciting Leinster Championship final.

The sides were level at the end of normal time, but a goal from Wicklow’s Teresa Manning in extra time was enough to give the Garden county its first ever Leinster Junior championship title (3-2 to 2-3).

Wicklow, under manager/trainer Jack Bowe, along with Mick Carty (CoolKenno) and Molly Gregan (Coolboy) went on to beat Clare (3-2 to 0-10) in Baltinglass, in the  all Ireland semi-final. (The referee on the day was Pat Quill, president elect of the ladies gaelic football association, Pat will take over the reigns from Geraldine Giles at the end of 2008).

Once again Teresa Manning was the hero for the home side, Manning’s goal four minutes from the end, secured a great victory for Wicklow, and a place in their first All Ireland final, to face London, who had beaten Galway in the second semi-final.  The venue for the final, was the Gaa theatre of dreams on Jones road, Croke Park.
The Final was a tense affair and the sides remained scoreless for the first forty minutes, however Wicklow’s captain fantastic Caroline Carty scored two goals, one from the penalty spot, while the late Kathleen O’Neill, who played full forward on the day also raised the green flag in Croker with an excellent goal off her trusted left foot, but not before taking a swig from Cathal Friels (Wicklow chairperson in 1990)  magic water bottle. Wicklow went on to win 3-3 to 2-1. to be crowned all Ireland Junior champions.

The game was one of the first ladies football games to be televised live by RTE, and  commenter Marty Morrissey commented that player of the final “ midfielder Mary Mulhall (Coolkenno) has covered every blade of grass in Croke Park, like the great Pat Spillane of Kerry”.

So will history repeat its self in 2008 ?, Wicklow’s opponents on Sunday next, will be Louth, the north leinster county received a walkover from Carlow to reach the final.

The Wee county regraded from the intermediate ranks last year and at full strength this Louth side will be a stern test for the Wicklow team.

But there is no doubt that the Wicklow management team of John O’Malley, Louise Allen, Derek Murphy and Mick O’Rourke will have the Wicklow Girls in tip top condition for this very important game on Sunday next.

( Mick Forde, Ladies Gaelic football, Leinster PRO. 087-6422658)

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