Wicklow V Dublin

Wicklow V Dublin
Leinster 'A' Championship

Wicklow 3-8 Dublin 4-4

Sunny Arklow was the venue on Saturday, 3rd May, when last year's All Ireland U14 'B' Champions Wicklow hosted last year's All Ireland U14 'A' Champions, Dublin, in the Leinster 'A' Championship. It is always a special occasion when All Ireland Champions come to visit and it was particularly gratifying that Wicklow eked out a wonderful victory in an absorbing contest by the most slender of margins – 3-8 to 4-4. The game was played in front of a very large crowd for an under 14 match as Wicklow supporters turned out in large numbers to support their team.Prior to the match both teams were aware that because of their earlier endeavours in the campaign they had qualified for the knockout stages of the Leinster Championship. Wicklow had won 2 out of 4 matches with Dublin winning 3 out of 4. Clearly this reduced the anxiety and pressure on the players and as a result both teams delivered a cracker of a game.

Wicklow elected to play with a very slight breeze in the first half and dominated the early exchanges. In particular Wicklow's midfield of Shauna Fleming and Naomi Roche were on top and supplying very good ball to the forwards.

Wicklow opened the scoring after 4 minutes with a point from full forward Kayleigh Crammond. This was followed by a point from corner forward Claire O'Rourke. During this period Wicklow had numerous opportunities to extend their lead but a number of poor decisions resulted in them failing to add to their tally.

Dublin did manage their own attacks and notched up two points to level the game and but for some excellent saves by goalkeeper Lucy Cushe could have gone in front. Claire Walsh added another point from play for Wicklow before Dublin responded with an incisive move up the middle resulting in a blistering goal from centre half forward Sally Jones.

Play continued to ebb and flow up and down the pitch and in the last ten minutes of the half two goals and a point were added on by Aife Kavanagh of Wicklow ,a point from Claire O'Rourke for Wicklow and a goal from Dublin's corner forward Laura Ebbs. Wicklow led at half time 2-5 to 2-2.

The game continued at a blistering pace in the second half and it was surprising that both teams failed to add to their half time tally until Aife Kavanagh pointed a good free to stretch Wicklow's lead to 4 points. This was immediately responded to by a free from the Dublin forwards.

Fifteen minutes into the second half Wicklow got the crucial score. Excellent approach play from substitutes Meadbh Deeley and Laura Allen resulted in Claire O'Rourke having the task of tapping the ball home from three yards out. There was now seven points between the teams and Wicklow supporters were confident that their team would take the day.

However Dublin stormed back into the match and got a grip in midfield and the Wicklow backs were put under enormous pressure. The onslaught was repelled by superb play from Ciera Callanan and Bridin Geoghegan. Special mention must be made of Emma Marshall and Anna Kelly both playing their first match in the campaign on the right flank of Wicklow's defence. Both players were excellent all through. Nevertheless the pressure did tell and Dublin drew level with 2 goals and a point to Wicklow's one solitary point from substitute Erinne Murphy.

With five minutes to go both teams were level. The Wicklow players sensing that they might take a notable scalp upped their game again and when Erinne Murphy was fouled her captain Aife Kavanagh pointed the resultant free. Dublin piled on the pressure to level the game but with Wicklow's defence holding firm they were unable to find the target and Wicklow edged home by one point.

This was an excellent result for the team, building on the great win over Wexford two weeks previously. The team were competitive right through the match and kept playing to the final whistle. A number of players were getting their first opportunity to play in the campaign and their performance was such that they have given the management plenty of food for thought. Michelle Forde in the backs and Laura Kavanagh in the half back line were solid as was Suzanne O'Neil and Katie Kindlon in the half forwards and Claire O'Rourke, Jessie Hurley, Georgina Canavan and Claire Walsh in the forwards.

The Leinster semi-final is on Wednesday the 7th of May and the opponents are not yet known.

Wicklow Team: Lucy Cushe, Anna Kelly, Breedin Geoghegan, Vivienne Walsh, Emma Marshall, Ciera Callanan, Laura Kavanagh, Shauna Fleming, Naomi Roche, Suzanne O'Neil, Aife Kavanagh, Katie Kindlon, Claire O'Rourke, Kayleigh Crammond, Claire Walsh. Panel: Aine O'Reilly, Anna Fitzpatrick, Calvin Swart, Emma Byrne,Erinne Murphy, Georgina Canavan, Hannah Kavanagh, Jessica Hurley, Laura Allen, Meadbh Deeley, Michelle Forde, Naoise Baker, Niamh O'Donoghoe, Suzie Simpson.

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