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Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - PADDY HICKEY at Bray Em­mets GAA Club

BOOSTED by an early goal, Ark­low Geraldines-Bal­ly­money can­tered to an em­phatic 17 points win over Kil­coole in the fi­nal of the county girls’ Un­der-14 ‘C’ Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship, at Bray Em­mets on Satur­day afternoon.

Only three min­utes had elapsed on the clock when pow­er­ful mid­fielder Doire­ann Killoran left a num­ber of op­pos­ing play­ers trail­ing in her wake be­fore driv­ing the ball past goal­keeper Sophie Lacey to pro­vide her side with a tonic start.

To their credit, Kil­coole hit back with a goal and a point in­side four min­utes, Kate Wil­son rais­ing the green flag and Ju­lia Nor­man also get­ting on the score­sheet, but that was as good as it got for the coastal out­fit in the open­ing half.

And with pacey and skil­ful cen­tre-for­ward Deirb­hile Gav­i­gan prov­ing a con­stant threat with her in­di­vid­ual sor­ties and will­ing­ness to un­selfishly off­load the ball, the Kil­coole de­fence was sub­jected to reg­u­lar pres­sure de­spite the fact that their wing-back Maeve But­ler was of­ten seen to telling ef­fect.

On nine min­utes, Gav­i­gan set up full-for­ward Aoife Dun­ning for a goal, and mid­way through the half he set up cor­ner-for­ward Is­abella Fitzger­ald for the Ark­low side’s third goal, and al­most im­me­di­ately Gav­i­gan un­der­lined her own fin­ish­ing pow­ers when help­ing goal­keeper Lacey help­less.

This was fol­lowed by Dun­ning and Killoran adding a point apiece to leave the South County side very much in the driv­ing seat, hold­ing a 4-2 to 1-1 lead at the half-time break.

On the restart, Kil­coole’s abil­ity to strengthen their chal­lenge was helped by the in­tro­duc­tion of sub Ruby Parker. Though on the diminu­tive side, the re­place­ment im­pressed with her abil­ity to win pos­ses­sion, and it was supris­ing that she didn’t fea­ture in the start­ing line-up.

But she failed to re­ceive ad­e­quate sup­port, and though Kil­coole added 2-1 to their first half tally, the goals com­ing from Dowd, from a free and from play, there was never any doubt but that the sil­ver­ware was head­ing to the side jointly man­aged by Jess Hur­ley and Emer Kelly.

Just three min­utes into the se­cond half, sub Ni­amh Ka­vanagh shot AGB’s fifth goal, and Gav­i­gan, from a penalty, and Dun­ning fol­lowed with sim­i­lar strikes on 45 and 57 min­utes.

Af­ter­wards, Hur­ley said: ‘It’s al­ways been very close be­tween our­selves and Kil­coole, and we were ex­pect­ing an­other very tough match to­day.

‘My­self and Emer just took over the team at the start of the year, and the girls have come on a huge amount since then and we were re­ally de­lighted with their per­for­mance to­day.

“We got off to a good start with the goal so early on, and we were happy po­si­tion at half-time when we were 10 points up.

‘At half-time, we got to work on a few parts of our play which we hadn’t been happy with in the first half, and just like the first half we got a goal very early on in the se­cond half.

‘But even though we had a good lead in the se­cond half, we know we could never af­ford to re­lax as we al­ways felt that Kil­coole could pos­si­bly make things very dif­fi­cult for us. But thank­fully that not prove to be the case on this occasion.

‘Win­ning the ti­tle is ad­di­tion­ally sweet as all the team are still un­der-13, so they’ll all be el­i­gi­ble for the un­der-14 grade once again next year.’

Scor­ers – AGB: Aoife Dun­ning 2-1, Deirb­hile Gil­li­gan 2-0 (1-0 pen), Is­abella Fitzger­ald 1-2 (1f), Doire­ann Killoran 1-1, Ni­amh Ka­vanagh 1-0, Cliona Driver, Eva Walker, Far­ren Wolo­han 0-1 each.

Kil­coole: Sophie Dowd 2-1 (1-0 f, 0-1 pen), Kate Wil­son 1-0, Ju­lia Nor­man 0-1.

AGB cel­e­brate their ‘C’ cham­pi­onship vic­tory over Kil­coole in Bray last week­end.

AGB’s Doire­ann Killoran is pre­sented with the cup by Terry Cana­van.

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