Wick­low pro­duce the goods to see off Kilkenny chal­lenge


Bray People - - Sport - Michael FORDE

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.

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