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Wicklow Overcome Laois in Thriller

Wicklow Overcome Laois in Thriller

Wicklow ladies under 16 team and their Laois opponents served up an absolute thriller in the Leinster ‘A’ championship in Stratford last Saturday. In a game that kept the sizable crowd on the edge of their seats for the full duration of the game, Wicklow eventually triumphed by two points on a scoreline of 7-6 to 4-13. The major diference between the two sides was Wicklow’s ability to convert their goal chances.

Wicklow playing against the wind in the first half got off to a whirlwind start and had the ball in the net within within 15 seconds from the start. Jennifer O’Gormon won the throw in and transferred a delightful ball into full forward Aife Kavanagh. Kavanagh slipped her marker and dispatched the ball into the Laois net with considerable aplomb.

Wicklow gleaned huge confidence from this start and with Jackie Kinch at midfield and Lucy Mulhall and Shauna Felming in the half forwards pulling the strings Wicklow raced into a 4 goals and three points lead to two points after 15 minutes. The scores coming fromm Aife Kavanagh – 3 goals and one point and Erinne Murphy 1 goal and two points.

Wicklow lost their way at this stage and Laois gained a foothold in midfield. The Wicklow backs were guilty of ball watching on a number of occasions and Wicklow conceded 2 goals and four points from play. The Wicklow management will be very concerned in relation to the marking for both goals.

Kayleigh Crammond lifted the siege with a superb individual solo run that resulted in a penalty kick for Wicklow. Erinne Murphy dispatched the kick to the back of the net with the conficence of a premiership player.

Wicklow having played against the elements would have been very confident entering the dressing room at half time as they were leading by 5-4 to 2-6. However the second half proved to be extremely thrilling. Laois thundered into the game in the second half. They scored a great goal after three minutes of the second half and dominated the third quarter of the match. They were awarded a penalty after fifteen minutes that they converted to put them into the lead for the first time by three pooints.

Wicklow introduced a number of fresh legs – Claire Walsh, Sarah Hogan, Amy Devereux and Katie Kindlon. Together with a number of positional changes the Wicklow girls stormed back into the game. Claire Walsh scored a brilliant team goal and added a point straight afterwards to put Wicklow back in front. Laois responded with a couple of points but Walsh again drove through the Laois defences to score a second great goal.

With minutes left Laois laid siege to the wicklow goal looking for the equaliser. Superb defending from Michelle Forde, Hannah Tew, Sarah Miley, Naomi Roche and Laura Allen kept them at bay. The excitement reached fever pitch when the referee awarded Laois a 14 yard free with the last kick of the ball. Fortunately for Wicklow the ball canoned off the crossbar and went over the bar.

A brilliant match that will be especially pleasing for Wicklow to have taken such a notable scalp. Wicklow management will be pleased with the positives of the game but will be also aware of the shortcomings of the team. There is time to put these right.

Wicklow’s next game is against Wexford on Easter Monday in Pearses Park, Arklow at 3pm. Victory will guarantee them a spot in the Leinster ‘A’ Semifinal.

The Wicklow team was:

Megan O’Brien, Michelle Forde, Hannah Tew, Naomi Roche, Sarah Delahunt, Sarah Miley, Laura Allen, Jackie Kinch, Jennifer O’Gorman, Danny Brauders, Shauna Fleming(capt), Lucy Mulhall, Erinne Murphy, Aife Kavanagh, Kayleigh Crammond. Subs: Amy Devereux, Sarah Hogan, Claire Walsh, Katie Kindlon.

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