Painful defeat for Tinahely in Leinster
TINAHELY, the Wicklow Senior champions, hosted the Meath champions, Dunboyne, last Saturday in the picturesque south village and the crowds thronged to support both teams in a much anticipated Leinster Club Intermediate Championship quarter-final. This was a match that was to enthral the supporters and kept everyone on the edge of their seats throughout.
During the first half, Tinahely were the dominant team and settled well with two Laura Hogan points and then a brace of goals by Jackie Kinch and Sarah Byrne gave Tinahely a lead by the 16th minute with the score reading 2-02 to 0-3.
However, in a strange turn of fate, Tinahely were not to score for the remainder of the half while Dunboyne reeled off five points in a row to leave the half-time scores level at 2-02 to 0-08 each.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with Tinahely again hitting a scoring spree and when Jackie Kinch again goaled sandwiched between points by Sarah Byrne and Laura Hogan the lead again had stretched to four points.
But, again, the Dunboyne girls roared back and got a goal of their own together with two points to again take the lead by a point as we entered the final quarter.
Then a four-point salvo from Ciara Byrne (3) and Rachael Byrne put Tinahely again in the driving seat to lead by three with five minutes remaining.
Somehow Dunboyne regrouped and in a welter of excitement replied with three points of their own to tie the game.
When Dublin referee Finbarr Shanahan blew the final whistle the scores remained tied and a period of extra-time was then prepared for by both squads.
The extra-time again showed how resilient both teams were with Aoife Gorman and Jackie Kinch pointing for Tinahely only to be replied with similar scores from their opposition.
Then Dunboyne worked a goal which in truth looked to have put the game beyond the Tinahely girls but, again, they dug deep and frees by Laura Hogan and two further points, again from frees by Rachael Byrne tied the game with time beckoning.
As the referee again blew the long whistle, the realisation dawned that we were heading for the awful prospect of a free-kick shoot-out to decide the game.
Both teams were aware of the free-kick possibility but it certainly may be an exciting way to decide a contest but it is also the toughest way to lose out in such an important competition.
After five frees the scores were still tied and we entered sudden death and in the end Dunboyne won out after a further four kicks failed to separate the teams. Tinahely were devastated with Dunboyne exhilarated.
However, the class of both teams who embraced and supported each other in sympathy was immediately evident.
Then as both teams left the field – first Dunboyne then Tinahely – the supporters showed huge respect in particular the Tinahely supporters who together with the Dunboyne supporters gave both teams a standing ovation having watched such an immense battle by two hugely sporting teams.
Tinahely hosted this match with their usual aplomb with the stewards and helpers everywhere to help out in any way.
The only thing missing was the right result for the red and white but we in Wicklow, together with the Tinahely supporters, can be rightly proud of our wonderful champions (players and management alike) who gave everything but were so unfortunate to come up short in what amounts to a lottery of the cruel free kick shoot-out.
They will eventually have their day – of that I am sure—and certainly no one will say they don’t deserve it.
Congratulations to both teams for providing such a wonderfully sporting competitive game and we wish Dunboyne all the best in the remainder of the competition.
Tinahely: Shauna Bermingham, Ciara Stokes, Sarah Hogan, Emily Hadden, Emily Mulhall, Niamh Kenny (Capt), Aimee Maher, Jessie Byrne, Aoife Gorman 0-01, Ciara Stokes, Sarah Byrne1-01, Jackie Kinch 2-02, Ciara Byrne 0-03, Aine Byrne 0-01, Sinead Byrne, Laura Hogan 0-04, Rachael Byrne 0-02, Aoife O’Neill, Aisling Winterbotham, Lucy Mulhall, Kate Hatton, Triona Byrne, Aine O’Keeffe, Orla Kealy, Emma Katus, Rebecca Kelly, Dervla Byrne, Abby Doyle, Siofra Byrne, Eimear O’Brien.
Tinahely’s Sinead Byrne and Dunboyne’s Claire Barker in action in Tinahely.)