Wicklow produce the goods to see off Kilkenny challenge
LADIES’ FOOTBALL NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 3
Wicklow 2-9, Kilkenny 16: Wicklow ladies travelled to Jenkinstown, Kilkenny on Sunday last to collect their first three points in the Bord Gáis Energy National Football League.
The Cats were probable favourites for the win, but the Wicklow side put in a determined effort throughout the game to turn the tables on the home side.
Wicklow played with great passion and discipline throughout, and the management team seem to have instilled a belief into this side that hard work pays off, their improved work rate and support play was very evident on the day, with forwards prepared to cover back and play a defensive role when needed.
Wicklow won the toss and elected to play against a strong breeze in the firsthalf and there was nothing between the sides at the break (2-1 to 1-4).
In the second period the Garden county took full advantage of the wind, notching up four points within six minutes of the restart to go four points clear, while the Kilkenny forwards made numerous attempts to break through to Emer Miley’s goal line, the strong Wicklow back line of Lorna Fuisciardi, Aisling O hAnnaidh, Aoife Heffernan, Julie Fitzmaurice, Caitriona McKeon and Niamh Kelly firmly closed the door to ensure that the Cats were unable to raise the green flag to get themselves back into the game.
Wicklow added a further four points in the final quarter to register their first win in the Bord Gáis Energy NFL.
After a disappointing first round game against Antrim at the start of this month, the Wicklow team needed to win this encounter against Kilkenny, both teams have great respect for each other. The records show that there has never been much between the sides over the years, and, as in previous clashes between these two counties, lady luck was also going to play her part in deciding who the eventual victor would be.
Wicklow’s first two attempts at points drifted to the left and wide, two and a half minutes later the Garden county received their first wake-up call when Kilkenny’s number eight Catriona Grace fired the ball to the back of Emer Miley’s goal.
The Wicklow response came after an excellent interchange between Eadaoine Lenihan, Caoilfhionn Deeney, Monica Lynch, and Chrissie Shortt, Shortt’s quick pass found Geraldine Norton, and the Baltinglass girl tapped over to open Wicklow’s account.
The Wicklow point was cancelled out in the seventh minute by Kilkenny’s number eleven, Marie Ryan, with the visitors notching up their third wide of the game in the 11th minute.
Although Wicklow were playing against a strong wind in the first-half, the Kilkenny keeper, Aine Sheehy was having most trouble reading the flight of the ball as Wicklow dropped shots into her area, and in the 14th minute, after a scramble in Sheehy’s goal-mouth, Geraldine Norton hit the back of Sheehy’s net, not before the ball deflected of Kilkenny’s number one and their number three Andrea Murphy, to draw the sides level for the first time in the game.
Both sides raised the tempo in the second quarter, with the home side going three points clear with successive scores from Miriam O’Keefe, however Wicklow’s top scorer Caoilfhionn Deeney was on hand to level the sides for the second time with an excellently struck goal on the stroke of halftime.
Deeney continued where she left off in the first-half, firing over two points, the second was tipped over by the Kilkenny keeper, Chrissie Shortt and Niamh Coleman tapped over one apiece to ensure that Wicklow remained in the driving seat.
Kilkenny’s danger woman Marie Dargan, was well marshalled and could only manage to convert two points in the second-half despite numerous attempts by the number twelve to breach the Wicklow back line.
Wicklow continued to pick off points in the final quarter, with Lizzie Brophy raising the white flag for the final time to cap off a great display by the Wicklow team.
Wicklow manager Mick O’Rourke commented that he was happy with the girls performance, in particular the way that they remained focused and worked extremely hard for each other through out the game, and although this was a good win for the side, there is a lot of work to get through over the coming weeks.
Wicklow scorers: Caoilfhionn Deeney (1-4), Geraldine Norton (1-1), Chrissie Shortt (0-1), Julie Fitzmaurice (0-1), Niamh Coleman (0-1), Lizzie Brophy (0-1).
Kilkenny scorers: Catriona Grace (1-0), Marie Ryan (0-1), Miriam O’Keefe (0-3), Marie Dargan (0-2).
Wicklow: Emer Miley (Blessington); Lorna Fuisciardi ( Eire Og), Aisling O’hAnnaidh ( Bray Emmets), Aoife Heffernan (Bray Emmets); Julie Fitzmaurice (Baltinglass), Caitriona McKeon (capt., Kilbride), Niamh Kelly (Eire Og); Monica Lynch (An Tochar), Caoilfhionn Deeney ( Eire Og); Eadaoine Lenihan (Bray Emmets), Jill Heatley (Blessington), Orla Redmond (St. Pat’s); Chrissie Shortt (An Tochar), Geraldine Norton (Baltinglass), Niamh Coleman (Bray Emmets). Subs. - Chrissie Doyle (Clontarf) for Orla Redmond, Janet Miley (Valleymount) for Lorna Fuisciardi, Amie Byrne (An Tochar) for Jill Heatley, Lizzie Brophy (Valleymount) for Niamh Coleman, Rebecca Fuisciardi (Eire Og) for Aoife Heffernan.
Kilkenny: Aine Sheehy (Thomastown); Emer Roantree (Callan), Andrea Murphy (Railyard), Niamh Whelan (Thomastown); Lydia Phelan (Carrickshock), Angela Kenneally (Mullinavat), Martina Maher (Muckalee); Catriona Grace (capt., Railyard), April Purcell (Railyard); Sarah Hennessey, Marie Ryan (Tullogher), Marie Dargan (Railyard); Shauna Daly, Miriam O Keeffe (Railyard), Helen Murphy (Mullinavat). Subs. - Katie Foley for Sarah Hennessey, Michelle Dowd (Railyard) for Marie Ryan.
Referee: Pat Keogh (Carlow).
The Wicklow team that lined out against Kilkenny.
Aoife Heffernan blocks a shot at goal during the National Football League Division 3 match at Jenkinstown on Sunday.