Wicklow Ladies continue their run of good form

TG4 Leinster junior ladies football championship Wicklow
4-7 Laois 3-3

The Wicklow ladies continued their run of good form with a
hard fought, if unspectacular, victory on Sunday. This first
round championship game was not the prettiest game to have
graced the Baltinglass pitch in recent times, but style doesn’t
matter if the two points are achieved.

The sides were evenly matched; it was Wicklow’s greater hunger
and workrate that won it for them in the end. The garden county
made matters difficult for themselves however, with a succession
of wasted chances in the first half. The half back line and
midfield were working extremely hard only for the six forwards
to get in each other’s way and let the moves break down. But
Laois were finding it difficult to get past the determined
midfield pairing of Debbie Green and Éadaoine Lenihan, and
thus Wicklow were not made to pay for their profligacy. Indeed
Wicklow had the majority of possession and finally managed
to convert it into scores- a goal and a point from Deirdre
O’Riordain and a Jean Duffy goal.

Despite this Laois kept in touch with a couple of goals from
skirmishes in the square. Wicklow went in at the break with
a 3-1 to 2-1 lead, the third goal a perfectly despatched Emer
Miley penalty after the referee finally acknowledged the persistent
fouling in the Laois full back line. While the first half
could best be described as gritty, the second was a far better
showing. Confidence and a bit of class were added to the determination
already on show, with Wicklow pulling away for a fully deserved
seven point win.

The difference was mainly in the forward line, where Wicklow
created plenty of space in contrast to the bunching of the
first half. This allowed Lenihan, O’Riordain and Anne McGillicuddy
to run at the defence, which yielded a number of good scores.
While there were question marks over some of Wicklow’s shooting,
the creativity and support play was excellent. The defence
were also on top, with Laois held to a pointed free and a
late consolation goal. Such was Wicklow’s dominance in the
last quarter, halfbacks Liz Cullen and Lisa Brady were frequently
found far up the field supporting the attack. Overall this
was a solid performance, which bodes well for next week’s
league final.

Particularly impressive was the improvement from first to
second half, with mistakes rectified and strengths emphasised.
Wicklow are going into the league final against Offaly just
as they begin to reach their potential. When the sides met
in Tullamore in November Offaly took the win by a couple of
points, but Wicklow are vastly improved side now and will
go into the match with plenty of confidence.

Emer Miley (Blessington) (1-0), Adrienne O’Connor
(Clara), Aisling O’hAnnaidh (Bray Emmets), Caroline Ryall
(Kilbride), Lisa Brady (Bray Emmets), Eithne Byrne (Kilcoole),
Liz Cullen (Clara), Debbie Green (Valleymount), Éadaoine Lenihan
(Bray Emmets) (0-1), Deirdre O’Riordain (Kilbride) (2-2),
Jessica Carroll (Blessington) (0-2), Ciara O’Hagan (Bray Emmets),
Jean Duffy (Kilbride) (1-0), Anne McGillicuddy (An Tochar)
(0-2), Leah Horan (Eire Óg). Chrissie Shortt (An Tochar),
Aoife Heffernan (Bray Emmets), Mary Whelan (Blessington),
Tracey Doyle (Kilbride), Elaine Murphy (Blessington), Nicola
Donahue (Kilbride).

Laois: Karen Purcell, Jolene Cahill, Anna Walsh, Niamh
O’Loughlin, Martina Cahill, Alison Reilly, Cassie Dunne, Ann
Marie Hourigan, Fiona O’Grady (0-1), Emer O’Loughlin, Shonagh
Phelan, Aisling Behan (1-0), Rochelle O’Neill (1-0), Lulu
Carroll (0-2), Laura Kelly (1-0).

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