Wicklow Maintain Unbeaten Start

Wicklow             5 – 08

Derry                   2 – 02


Wicklow certainly made the trip to Derry well worth their while on Sunday last in the very heavy conditions that were prevalent at the St Mary’s Grammer School pitch. The torrential rain from the previous night together with the continuing wet conditions had forced the change of venue from the unplayable Rossa Park in Magherafelt to a pitch that was just about playable.


Derry settled well and by the seventh minute they were 2-1 to 0-00 up with two well taken goals. However this only spurred on the Wicklow girls and with midfield becoming increasingly dominant the garden county were eager to ensure that the journey north had not been wasted. After some fine interplay involving Naoise Baker Claire Walsh broke through the Derry defence and scored Wicklow’s opening goal. The same player pointed immediately after and when Ciara Byrne drove the ball to the Derry net the sides were level. Wicklow completed the half with Walsh again raising the green flag and then just before referee Kieran McKeever blew the half time whistle Blessington’s Shona O’Connor popped up and again the ball ended up in the Derry sides net. This score left the half time score at 4-02 to 2-01. The second half continued in the same vein as the first. Derry got some good possession but in truth could never again breach the Wicklow rearguard with Sarah Jane Winder and Shauna Byrne particularly strong in defence. Player of the match Jackie Kinch appeared to be everywhere and covered every inch of mud on the pitch. Wicklow on the other hand appeared likely to score on each foray and the half was only 6 minutes old when Molly Cullen broke through the Derry defence and goaled. This score effectively killed off the match as a contest and although Derry pressed it was the Wicklow girls who continued the scoring. Some superb Wicklow play between the 10th and 20th minute saw some really well worked points by Ciara Byrne (2), Amy Murphy (2) and Cullen, before Kinch finished off a fine days work with the last point to leave the score at the final whistle at 5-08 to 2-02. The only worry in the second half was a nasty facial injury to Claire Walsh following a hard tackle and we wish the Kilbride girl a speedy recovery from her injury. Derry never gave up the game but in truth they struggled to hold the Wicklow attack in which Ciara Byrne, Naoise Baker, Molly Cullen, Georgina Canavan ably backed up by midfielder’s Amy Ryan and the talented Walsh shone superbly. Niamh McGettigan is developing into an able centre back and she led her backs admirably throughout with Aoife Gillen and Aoife Grace leading support whenever required in what was a strong defensive display following the shock of the opening 5 minutes.  Apart from the work rate of the Wicklow backs who were able to restrict Derry 2–02 over the hour and only 1 point over 50 minutes the younger players are gelling with the more experienced players to make this Wicklow side a formidable challenge for anyone. Wicklow however would not want to be as wasteful throughout the remainder of the league as the number of wides throughout the game reached double figures. However Wicklow now face Louth on the 19th March at a Wicklow venue when Mick O’Rourke and his backroom team of Caitriona McKeon, Emer Miley and Mick Kavanagh will hope for a further improvement in order to keep their unbeaten run going in the Lidl NFL Division 4.


Wicklow ; Geraldine Norton (Baltinglass), Sarah Jane Winder (Baltinglass), Valleymount), Shauna Byrne (Blessington), Rachel Byrne (AGB), Aoife Gillen (Eire Og), Niamh McGettigan (St Patrick’s), Aoife Grace (St Nicholas), Amy Ryan (Blessington), Claire Walsh (Kilbride) 2-01, Shona O’Connor (Blessington) 1-00, Molly Cullen (Blessington) 1.02, Georgina Canavan (AGB), Ciara Byrne (Tinahely) 1-02, Naoise Baker (Clara), Jackie Kinch (Tinahely) 0-01. Players introduced ; Emily Mulhall, Sarah Fennelly, Sammy McCoy, Kim Connors, Jessie Byrne, Aoife Gorman, Claire Grace, Aisling McDonald, Amy Murphy 0-02, Laurie Ahern.

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