Report by Margot Hughes
Following their recent heavy defeat at the hands of a strong Meath side, Wicklow u16 ladies began this Round 4 Leinster Championship encounter against Kildare with purposeful determination. Despite Meath’s opening points from Aisling O’Connor and Molly Price, Wicklow were undeterred in their efforts to break forward with the ball.
Their tenacity paid off with a beautifully taken goal in the 12th minute form Aisling McDonald. Katie Bouchier added a point to extend Wicklow’s lead to two points but Kildare’s Clionadh O’Connor restored Kildare’s lead with a goal in the 13th minute. Not to be outdone Wicklow midfielders Annie Conroy and Niamh O’Brien worked the ball up the centre to Katie Miley in the half forward line.
Miley found Heather Cullen on the edge of the square and Heather made no mistake as she rattled the Kildare net. Kildare’s Nicole Dooley notched up another two points from frees in the 13th and 21st minutes of play but Katie Miley, Aisling McDonald and Katie Bouchier added another three to Wicklow’s tally to the delight of the home crowd. Niamh Bergin added a goal for Kildare in the 25th minute and a further point form a free in the 28th minute.
A fast break from the kick out saw Annie Conroy through on a penetrating run which drew out the Kildare full back. A timely lay off to the ever well positioned Heather Cullen saw Wicklow gain their third goal of the half just on the stroke of half time. The score at the break after a highly entertaining first half was 3-4 to 2-5 in favour of the Wicklow side.
With a two point lead to spur them on Wicklow completely dominated the second half showing a tremendous work rate throughout the field of play. Opening points from Marie Kealy, Heather Cullen, Niamh O’Brien and Clodagh Fox sustained the Wicklow lead. Niamh Bergin, Molly Price and Samantha Cullen added three points to Kildare’s tally but Wicklow had done enough to ensure victory.
A 22nd minute goal form Marie Kealy and an injury time point from Katie Bouchier sealed the day for Wicklow. A point blank save form Chloe Dwyer in the 24th minute was the final straw for a Kildare team that had missed too many scoring chances throughout the sixty minutes.
Despite strong performances from Clionadh O’ Connor, Niamh Bergin, Molly Price, Nicole Dooley and Emily McGrory in the Kildare goal, the day belonged to a more determined and focused Wicklow side led by their hard working captain, Katie Miley. Wicklow gave a strong all round team performance with particularly hard working displays from Shauna Byrne, Laoise Marron, Lisa Lawler, Annie McGuire, Annie Conroy, Niamh O’Brien, Katie Bouchier and Marie Kealy.
The girls take on Laois at home in two weeks time and regardless of the result they have secured place in the B final of the Championship, having won two and lost two of their games. The Wicklow management will no doubt be happy with this achievement, having been promoted from Division 2 to Division I this season.
Wicklow: Chloe Dwyer, Ríoghna McGettigan, Shauna Byrne, Laoise Marron, Annie McGuire, Aoife Grace, Lisa Lawler, Annie Conroy, Niamh O’Brien, Katie Bouchier, Katie Miley, Amy Burke, Heather Cullen, Marie Kealy, Aisling Mc Donald. Subs: Clodagh Fox, Eabha Barnes, Anna Hedderman, Niamh Clarke, Mia Kavanagh, Eleanor Dunne