Report by Margot Hughes.
AGB Junior Ladies took on St. Nicholas, Dunlavin in the semi-final of the Junior Championship on Saturday 2nd August in Tinahely. Conditions were difficult for both teams in a rain-soaked first half.
The west Wicklow side made the best of the breeze and scored 1-4 for the half but also wasted many scoring opportunities. They held the Arklow side scoreless until the final minute when team captain Molly Byrne scored a fine goal to eat into what would have been a 7 point lead at the break.
The Arklow back line was besieged from the outset. Were it not for their fine display the task at hand would have been much greater going into the second half. Mairead Hurley, Mary Geraghty and Ger Galvin brought all their experience to bear and inspired their fellow backs Caoimhe Crowley, Aoife O’Reilly and Kayleigh Earls to foil many of the St. Nick’s attacks. Amy Devereux was called upon on several occasions and was quick off her line to make vital saves.
Michelle Scanlon and Claire Murray battled at centre field in an attempt to stop Miriam Sleator and Anna Keogh, who were in fine form for Dunlavin. Aoife Grace and Casey O’Brien were outstanding on the day for St. Nicks as they continuously repelled the Arklow attack. Much as the AGB back line was doing, they harried and chased every ball forcing turnovers and launching counter attacks.
The second half produced more of the same in this very competitive encounter.
Róisín O’Reilly pointed from a free for AGB in the 12th minute and Molly Byrne added two more for the Arklow side. Despite the best efforts of Chloe O’Reilly, Doirrean O’Reilly, Sarah Kendrick and Lisa Keegan in the Arklow forward line they could not breach St. Nick’s determined defence. St. Nick’s also added three points for the half from the boot of the hard working Miriam Sleator. The final score was 1-3 to 1-7 in favour of St. Nicks who now go on to contest the final against the winner of St. Pat’s v Enniskerry.
Sincere thanks to referee Paul Tyrrell and his accompanying officials who did a great job on the day and to Tinahely for the use of their facilities. Disappointment for Arklow after a long season in which a very large panel put in a great effort to keep the Arklow flag flying throughout the summer and greatly entertained their loyal supporters. Congratulations to St. Nick’s and good luck in the final!
AGB: Amy Devereux, Mairead Hurley, Caoimhe Crowley, Ger Galvin, Mary Geraghty, Aoife O’Reilly, Kayleigh Earls, Claire Murray, Michelle Scanlon, Chloe O’Reilly, Sarah Kendrick, Róisín O’Reilly, Molly Byrne (c) (1-2), Lisa Keegan, Doirrean O’Reilly, Paula Maher, Megan Boyle, Emily Mitchell, Lucia O’Grady, Aoife Murphy, Kayleigh Carter, Sarah Devlin.
St. Nicholas: Chloe Dwyer, Casey O’Brien, Mary Leach, Yvonne Reece, Becky O’Neill, Jill Fagan, Aoife Grace, Anna Kenny, Miriam Sleator, Sarah Reid, Lisa Lawlor, Siobhan Byrne, Niamh Sinnott, Mary Whelan, Clare Grace. (Possible errors due to water damage of team sheet!)