FAIR PLAY!

Tal­ented Wick­low Mi­nors lose out to Kil­dare

Bray People - - SPORT - DO­MINIC LEECH At Aughrim

A dis­s­a­pointed Emily O'Reilly of Wick­low is con­soled by Kil­dare's Ge­orgina Canavan af­ter the Ladies le­in­ster MFC semi fi­nal in Aughrim.

AUGHRIM played host to the first of the Le­in­ster Mi­nor B semi-fi­nals when Wick­low en­ter­tained Kil­dare last Satur­day.

The con­di­tions were dry but a strong breeze blew to­wards the dress­ing room end and favoured Wick­low in the open­ing half.

Ref­eree Mags Do­herty from Wex­ford threw in the ball and within the first three min­utes Wick­low led 2-01 to 0-00 as Rachel Byrne and Or­laith Whelan opened the scor­ing for the Gar­den County side.

Wick­low's Molly Cullen (Bless­ing­ton) and Amy Mur­phy (An Tochar) were win­ning a lot of mid­field pos­ses­sion through­out the first half.

How­ever the wind was hav­ing a telling ef­fect and Wick­lows full for­ward line seemed in­tent on mov­ing out­field.

The long balls sent in by their mid­field­ers were car­ry­ing be­yond the for­wards and were com­fort­ably dealt with by the Kil­dare de­fence.

Kil­dare had been vis­i­bly rocked by Wick­low's con­fi­dent start but in fair­ness to their play­ers at no stage did they panic.

They played the ball through the hands against the wind and con­tin­ued to chip away at the Wick­low lead and by half time had re­duced the lead to five points with the score read­ing Wick­low 2-05 to Kil­dare's 0-07.

The sec­ond half started and Wick­low again took the ini­tia­tive grab­bing a goal by Rachel Byrne but at this stage Kil­dare's for­ward di­vi­sion were start­ing to punch holes in the Wick­low de­fence and de­spite the stal­wart ef­forts of Sarah Jane Win­ders and Rose Fa­gan Wick­low were leak­ing points.

Then came the goal that Kil­dare had threat­ened but had been a while in com­ing.

It was scored by the best for­ward on view, Mikaela McKenna - the Car­bury for­ward pow­er­ing home past Beck Cassin in the Wick­low goal fol­low­ing good work by Shauna Ken­drick.

Wick­low then had a pur­ple patch and cre­ated and spurned sev­eral scor­ing chances.

Kil­dare were con­tin­u­ing to be very eco­nom­i­cal with their shoot­ing clip­ping over points when the op­por­tu­ni­ties pre­sented them­selves.

The match en­tered the fi­nal quar­ter with Kil­dare hold­ing the ini­tia­tive but a pow­er­ful lung burst­ing run by St. Patrick’s’ Rose Fa­gan, when she car­ried the ball half three quar­ters the length of the pitch, be­fore trans­fer­ring to Or­laith Whelan who buried the ball to the Kil­dare net left the min­i­mum be­tween the teams. As full time ap­proached and one minute left on the clock the match was dead­locked at 4-06 to 115. It seemed the match was des­tined to end in a draw.

How­ever in the fi­nal min­utes Kil­dare reeled of five unan­swered points un­der pres­sure to ease them­selves into a Le­in­ster fi­nal against ei­ther Of­faly or Meath.

The Wick­low play­ers who had given there all were distraught at the fi­nal whis­tle think­ing of what might have been but they have no rea­son for dis­tress.

The man­age­ment of Damien O'Brien, Martin Fitzger­ald and Jess Car­roll tried to rally the play­ers.

They had played a fan­tas­tic match and in truth the game could have gone ei­ther way.

If Wick­low had been play­ing against the wind in the first half then who knows? How­ever the strug­gle of play­ing the sec­ond half against the strong wind to­gether with the strength and abil­ity shown by Kil­dare proved too much.

Wick­low had tried might­ily hard but in truth hav­ing scored 2-01 in the first two min­utes they strug­gled there­after and five points (al­beit two fur­ther goals also) in the re­main­ing 58 min­utes prob­a­bly proved their un­do­ing.

How­ever that was not to say they were not close to vic­tory - they were. Per­haps the fact that Kil­dare had played matches in the higher di­vi­sion stood to them.

But the Kil­dare for­wards, who notched up 21 scores, only three of which were frees, prob­a­bly shaded the match over the 60 min­utes.

In de­feat Wick­low were best served by Rose Fa­gan, Rachel Byrne, Or­laith Whelan, and Jessie Byrne while the mid­field duo of Molly Cullen and Amy Mur­phy tried their hearts out over the hour.

Wick­low: Becky Cassin, Ciara Stokes, Sarah Jane Win­ders, Saoirse O'Reilly, Áine O'Keefe (0-01), Rose Fa­gan, Sarah Fen­nelly, Amy Mur­phy, Molly Cullen (0-01), Jessie Byrne, Ge­orgina Canavan (0-01), Me­gan Kelly, Or­laith Whelan (2-01), Ciara Byrne (0-01), Rachael Byrne (2-01). Subs: Meghan Keogh, Orfh­laith McNulty, Mary Healy, Emily O'Reilly, Katie Charles, Jade Man­ley, Jess Scott, Emma Cal­laghan, Aimi Healy

Kil­dare: Natasha Mur­phy, Gráinne Lyons, Ly­dia Furey, Ni­amh Lawlor, Elaine Mar­ron (0-01), Tara Hal­li­nan (0-01), Rachel Reidy, Emma Wheeler, Amy McGrane, Shauna Ken­drick, Ail­ish Heavey (001), Ni­amh Mul­hall (0-03), Caoimhe O'Fearghail, Mikaela McKenna (107), Or­laith Kir­win (0-01). Subs: Ni­amh Flynn, Áine Dunne, Bríd Far­rell, Gemma Hart­nett, Anna Law­less, Ellen Dowling (0-06), Laura Scales, Emily Auls­berry, Danielle Clerkin, Becky John­ston, M Scully.

Pic­ture: Garry O'neill.

Kil­dare's Ni­amh Mul­hall and Wick­low's Saoirse O'Reilly bat­tle for poses­sion in Aughrim.

Wick­low's Or­laith Whelan reaches the ball ahead of Kil­dare's Ni­amh Mul­hall dur­ing the Ladies le­in­ster MFC semi-fi­nal in Aughrim.

Kil­dare's Laura Scales puts pres­sure on Wick­low's Sarah Jane Win­ders.

Kil­dare's Amy McGrane is beaten to the ball by Wick­low's Rose Fa­gan.

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