Report by Margot Hughes
Wicklow minors made the long trip to St. Mochta’s GAA grounds in Louth Village, on Saturday March 28th, to take on Louth in the third round of the Leinster Minor Championship 2015.
Having lost the opening round to Meath and having defeated Carlow in Round 2, the girls were anxious to come away with a second win on this occasion. It was a damp day in Louth with a breeze favouring the home side in the opening half. Wicklow made a strong start but mis-kicked their opening efforts at points, possibly due to the breezy conditions. Clodagh Fox opened the scoring for Wicklow with a well-taken goal in the third minute of play.
Lisa McCarragher, wearing the number 18 jersey, equalised for Louth in the tenth minute. Chloe Dwyer, the Wicklow keeper, suffered a severe cut to her knee in her first attempt to block McCarragher’s effort but the Louth forward converted the rebound to level matters. Dwyer was unable to continue and was replaced by Aimi Healy who went on to do a super job between the posts. Niamh O’Brien broke through for Wicklow’s second goal in the fourteenth minute and Ciara Byrne added a third in the nineteenth.
While Wicklow had the lion’s share of possession, Louth continued to battle and were rewarded with a point from Eimear Curtin in the twenty sixth minute of play. Niamh O’Brien closed off the first half with a twenty eighth minute point for the visitors leaving the half time score 3-1 to 1-1 in favour of Wicklow.
The Wicklow management encouraged the girls to continue to play the same game and the scores would come, for although they were making good decisions they were not converting chances into scores on the board.
The scores did come in the second half; points from Niamh O’Brien, Katie Miley and Ciara Byrne consolidated Wicklow’s lead. Katie Bouchier replaced Lisa Lawlor in the forward line and was unlucky to have a goal disallowed in the fifteenth minute of play.
Bouchier was judged by Referee Finbarr Shanahan, to have been in the square when she fisted a high ball, delivered beautifully by Amy Ryan from centre field, into the back of the Louth net.
Louth responded to this bit of luck by scoring their first point of the half in the eighteenth minute, again from the boot of Lisa McCarragher. A point from Niamh O’Brien and a further goal and two from Ciara Byrne put the game beyond the reach of Louth.
Aisling McEntaggart added Louth’s final point of the game in the closing minute leaving Wicklow convincing winners on a score line of 4-9 to 1-3.
This was a great team effort from the Wicklow girls, with particularly strong displays from Shauna Byrne, Alanna Conroy, Annie Conroy, Molly Cullen, Amy Ryan, Niamh O’Brien and Ciara Byrne. Best for Louth were Eimear Curtin, Emer Byrne, Chloe Murphy and Lisa McCarragher.
Wicklow: Chloe Dwyer, Shauna Byrne, Hannah Dowling, Mary Healy, Jessica Byrne, Alanna Conroy, Mayghan Doyle, Amy Ryan, Molly Cullen, Niamh O’Brien (1-4), Ciara Byrne (2-4), Lisa Lawlor, Clodagh Fox (1-0), Katie Miley (0-1), Annie Conroy Subs: Aimi Healy, Ella Doran, Aoife Grace, Aisling McDonald, Sarah Kendrick, Katie Bouchier, Eabha Barnes. Missing on the day Amy Burke, Chelsea Snell, Jade Manley, Medb O’Kane
Louth: Nadine Weldon, Aisling McEntaggart(0-1), Alannah Conlon, Aoife Gregory, Jill McEvoy, Catherine McGlew, Chloe Murphy, Cliona Smith, Eimear Curtin (0-1), Emer Byrne, Emma Thompson, Eva Gardiner, Eva Hoey, Hannah O’Neill, Jenny Mulrey Subs: Caoimhe Byrne, Kayleigh Reilly, Lisa McCarragher (1-1), Lorna Moriarty, Megan McGinn, Niamh McNally, Orla Brennan, Rebecca Howell, Ruth Hanna, Sarah Englishby, Sarah Maguire, Shauna Markey, Victoria Prendergast, Tara Greene, Liadain McDermott