Wicklow recover from Wexford defeat with Offaly scalp
NEWTOWN played host to the Wicklow ladies and Offaly on Sunday as the Garden county looked to bounce back from their defeat to neighbours Wexford the previous Saturday. Paul McLoughlin’s side welcomed back Sarah Hogan who missed last week’s game with injury but, unfortunately, Laurie Ahern had not recovered from her knock she picked up in the defeat.
Wicklow started very brightly in the downpours of rain with Laura Hogan knocking over three points in the opening 10 minutes.
The Wicklow captain was instrumental in the opening half hour for her side with clever link up play and it was her and sister Sarah who played a part in setting up Georgina Canavan for Wicklow’s fourth score of the game.
Offaly were playing against a very strong wind in the opening half but the Wicklow defence was in inspired form and thwarted many attacks in the opening quarter.
On the one occasion they managed to break through the defence, the Faithful county found Wicklow goalkeeper Kim Connors was reproducing a goalkeeping masterclass which she had displayed the week previous.
It was at this point corner-forward Amy Murphy really kicked into gear. The An Tochar woman recovered from her earlier disappointment of a missed goal chance to beat her opponent and coolly slot the ball into the Offaly net.
Not content with one goal, Offaly goalkeeper Ann Daly thwarted another goal bound effort but a move involving Laura Hogan, Sarah Miley and Amy Ryan resulted in a second major in three minutes for the sharpshooter.
A quick counter attack from another Offaly attack found Laura Hogan on the end of a quick move to give Wicklow a 2-5 to 0-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The duck was finally broken by the midland county after 23 minutes with corner-forward Elisha Fleming raising a white flag.
Helen Hensey added another shortly after before Georgina Canavan seen her effort on goal tipped over the bar by Ann Daly leaving Wicklow 2-6 to 0-2 up at the interval.
Wicklow’s tactic of dropping Rose Fagan back had worked well in the first half and the St Patrick’s clubwoman helped turn defence into attack alongside midfielder Molly Cullen numerous times in the first half.
This combination again assisted Laura Hogan open her account for the second half with a great team score into the breeze.
Despite playing with a galeforce, Offaly could not trouble Wicklow at all in the second half. The full-back line of Emily Mulhall, Sarah Jane Winder and Aine Byrne kept a very tight ship and were ably assisted by a half-back line of willing runners.
Offaly only broke through twice in the second half scoring two points from Helen Hensey and Amy Gavin Mangan. The Wicklow management sprung a number of changes from the bench and must be thrilled with the impact these players can have.
Substitute Katie Miley scored a wonderful point into the gaelforce wind, which added to her impressive goal against Wexford.
Ella Doran was another substitute who also was not afraid to get on the ball and take on her opponent. With the game reaching its dying embers and the rain still pouring down onto the Newtown pitch, Lorna Fusciardi saw her effort bounce back off Ann Daly in the Offaly goal and into the path of goal poacher extraordinaire Amy Murphy who wrapped up her hat trick.
Laura Hogan scored her sixth point from a free deep in injury time to wrap up a comprehensive 3-9 to 0-4 score line and progress on to play Kildare next weekend with a morale boosting victory in the bag.
Wicklow: Kim Connors; Emily Mulhall, Sarah Jane Winder, Aine Byrne; Lorna Fusciardi, Sarah Miley, Sarah Hogan; Helena Dowling, Molly Cullen; Georgina Canavan (0-2), Laura Hogan (0-6), Amy Ryan; Amy Murphy (3-0), Rose Fagan and Marie Kealy. Subs: Katie Miley (0-1) for Helena Dowling, Lauren Rowe for Sarah Hogan, Ella Doran for Amy Ryan, Chelsea Snell for Georgina Canavan, Shauna Bermingham for Kim Connors, Aisling McDonald for Amy Murphy
Offaly: Ann Daly; Noelle Egan, Triona McDonald, Michelle Guinan; Annie Kehoe, Emma Maher, Sarah Bracken; Amy Gavin Mangan (0-1), Lorraine Kenna; Grainne Nolan, Helen Hensey (02), Bernie Walsh; Elisha Fleming (0-1), Jessie O’Connor and Katlin Rigney.
Wicklow’s Laura Hogan bursts forward during the clash with Offaly in Newtown last Sunday afternoon.
Wicklow’s Ella Doran in possession during the Leinster championship battle with Offaly.
Wicklow’s Molly Cullen battles with Offaly’s Amy Gavin Mangan.
Wicklow manager Paul McLoughlin at the game on Sunday.