Dou­ble de­light for Gar­den girls

Wick­low ladies claim cup fi­nal

Bray People - - SPORT -

THE 2013 sea­son saw Wick­low Hockey Club field a Se­nior Ladies team in the Le­in­ster leagues for the first time.

Play­ing in Di­vi­sion 13 it was al­ways go­ing to be a chal­lenge bring­ing a squad to­gether week in week out, but what a sea­son it turned out to be!

Fresh from seal­ing the league with an un­beaten run the team take on Tul­lam­ore in the Di­vi­sion 13/14 cup fi­nal.

The league meet­ings be­tween the two sides had been very close with one draw and with Wick­low com­ing out on top by one goal in the other 2 games.

A well or­gan­ised Tul­lam­ore side sup­ported on the side lines by Mr. Brian Cowen were in con­fi­dent form. How­ever the story of the game was that the cup only ever go­ing home to South East Le­in­ster.

From the out­set Wick­low dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion mak­ing good in­roads down the flanks Tul­lam­ore strug­gling to get past the half­way line. On 15 min­utes the Wick­low pres­sure paid off af­ter Tul­lam­ore failed to clear the ball it broke across to the left post for Sheenagh Walker to sweep it into the back of the goal.

Af­ter the restart Tul­lam­ore made in­roads up the pitch and for the first time put pres­sure on the Wick­low de­fence. They were up to the test though and quickly broke up the far end to force a penalty cor­ner. Af­ter a run of 3 penalty cor­ners in a row be­ing awarded for Tul­lam­ore in­fringe­ments, a re­verse stick shot from Vicki O'Gara took a wicked de­flec­tion which looped over the keeper into the top left of the goal.

Tul­lam­ore saw more of the ball as the first half drew to a close with some great de­fend­ing by Ruth Roberts deny­ing en­try into the cir­cle. Laura Healy then pounc­ing onto the loose ball and go­ing on the counter at­tack up the left wing. Emma Curry also put in a tire­less shift bring­ing the ball out from the back with some strong runs and search­ing through balls into the op­po­nents de­fence. As the half­time whis­tle went the Wick­low sup­port­ers were by far the hap­pier af­ter an ex­cel­lent first 35 min­utes.

It was al­ways go­ing to be vi­tal as to who scored the next goal. Tul­lam­ore would have taken to the pitch think­ing one goal would bring them back into the game. Those as­pi­ra­tions quickly evap­o­rated as Wick­low went straight up the pitch from tip off and scored their third. This time some great work down the right wing saw the ball crossed into the cir­cle for it to hit a Tul­lam­ore foot, the Le­in­ster Um­pire play­ing ex­cel­lent ad­van­tage to al­low Vicki O'Gara ri­fle home her sec­ond. It was a well-de­served goal for Vicki who had popped up all over the pitch to put in key tack­les in the en­gine room of the Wick­low team.

From that mo­ment on there was no doubt as to which team was go­ing to be cel­e­brat­ing a cup win. Try as they might Tul­lam­ore could not cre­ate any clear cut chances, Leann Man­ning be­ing the lat­est to fend off the op­po­si­tion.

The ball then find­ing Vicky who brought it up over the half­way line and pass­ing to Laura in space. Laura at­tacked the Tul­lam­ore back line and slip­ping it to Tara Collins in space right of the cir­cle. Tara then un­leashed a ter­rific shot which flew into the goal to the bot­tom left of the keeper. Wick­low were now in dream­land be­ing 4 up.

In the fi­nal min­utes Wick­low made it 5, this time the cap­tain Sheenagh Walker be­ing in the right place to nick home her sec­ond of the game. The full time whis­tle saw great cel­e­bra­tions on the pitch with Wick­low Ladies win­ning the dou­ble in their in­au­gu­ral sea­son, a feat that is very rare in any level of sport!

Big thanks go out to Jo De­la­hoyde for coach­ing the team through those bleak win­ter evenings, op­po­nents Tul­lam­ore who bat­tled hard with great spirit, all the sup­port­ers and the Le­in­ster Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion and Three Rock Rovers for host­ing the fi­nals.

Wick­low Squad: Sheenagh Walker (c), Emma Curry (vc), An­gela Gar­land, Tara Collins, Hai­ley Fitz­patrick, Laura Healy, Anna O'Meara, Vicki O'Gara, Sophie Moy, Carol Jame­son, Liz Clarke, Leann Man­ning, Ruth Roberts, Scar­lett Tice, Claire Hop­kins, Aisling Gar­land. Coach: Jo De­la­hoyde.

The Wick­low ladies hockey team who beat Tul­lam­ore to claim the Le­in­ster Di­vi­sion 13/14 Cup fi­nal.

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