Hogan heroic as Tinahely cruise their way closer to back-to-back county titles

Tinahely 4-19

Arklow Geraldines-Ballymoney 1-05

Tinahely are well on course to claim their back-to-back senior championship titles, after the Laura Hogan-inspired side put an outmatched Arklow Geraldines-Ballymoney to the sword on Thursday evening.

A pair of Jackie Kinch penalties, as well as goals from Sarah Byrne and Loretta Gilbert, added to Hogan’s 12 point tally to set up a clash with either St. Pat’s or Blessington in the decider.

There has been a lot of optimism surrounding what is a promising, young AGB team which will likely be a contender in a few years to come. The early stages of Thursday’s game with Tinahely demonstrated why, as AGB piled pressure on the reigning champions’ rearguard.

A well-worked move ended with Áine O’Reilly putting a goal-mouth chance wide, before Annie Conroy put the Gers in front a minute later. Laura Hogan kicked off her indomitable influence on the tie by setting up Áine Byrne for the equaliser.

Arklow passed up a further two chances to take advantage of their positive start. Those misses, coupled with the early goal chance that was passed up, would come back to haunt AGB, as Tinahely grew further into the game.

Laura Hogan combined with Loretta Gilbert to claim her first score of the game, before getting another to push Tinahely into a 0-03 to 0-01 lead. Áine O’Reilly reduced the game to a minimum, from a set-piece, before Hogan and Ciara Byrne gave them a three-point lead.

With Tinahely, and Laura Hogan, further growing in influence, the title-holders managed to get their first goal of the evening. Cutting inside of the right flank, Hogan worked the ball onto Loretta Gilbert, who wasted no time in smashing the ball past the helpless Linda Dempsey.

Hogan continued to pull the strings. Her exquisite ball in behind set-up Sarah Byrne, only for her to be denied by Dempsey. The ball was eventually worked back to Hogan, who could only put the ball wide.

Hogan would pass up another two chances to get Tinahely’s second goal, but Rory Stoke’s troops would not be denied. Charging in off the left, Sarah Byrne was dragged back by one of the AGB defenders, presenting Jackie Kinch with the opportunity to double their goal tally from the spot, which she duly did, making the score 2-06 to 0-03.

A substitution within the AGB full-back line was made to seal the cracks, but little could be done to keep Tinahely at bay. Hogan kept up her industrious first-half by surging past two AGB’s defenders, before putting the ball over the bar.

Jessie McElheanour did manage to get AGB a goal of their own, but that would be Arklow’s last score for 21 minutes as Tinahely eased into the county final; Eimear O’Brien pointing to put Tinahely into a 2-08 to 1-03 lead at half-time.

The second-half started in much the same way that the first ended; Tinahely racking up the scores. Hogan was, once again, the tormentor-in-chief, splitting the posts twice; once from a free.

Even when AGB managed to break out of their own half, they found themselves repelled by a disciplined Tinahely outfit, typified by Jackie Kinch, who set the stage for the rest of the game with a dominant performance in midfield.

Her gathering of the ball off of a short free kick-started a counter-attack that ended with her midfield parner Aoife Gorman putting the ball over the bar. Kinch then directly set up Eimear O’Brien to put Tinahely into a 12-point lead.

That was made into a 13-point advantage with 20 minutes to go by another Laura Hogan free.

Substitute Aishling Winterbotham got in on the act with a point off of a give-and-go with Eimear O’Brien, before Ciara Byrne and Laura Hogan added even more scores.

Finally, 21 minutes of gametime after their last point, AGB got back on the scoreboard, through Rachael Byrne. At this point, however, it was mere damaged limitations; the game had long since been lost. Jackie Kinch fed Laura Hogan yet again, for another point. Hogan got another pair of points, with Tinahely’s third goal of the day, scored by Sarah Byrne, sandwiched in between.

Áine O’Reilly got AGB’s final point of the day from a free, before Jackie Kinch capped off her own impressive performance with her, and Tinahely’s, second penalty of the day.

Tinahely will learn who they meet in the 2019 senior county final, when St. Pat’s take on Blessington on Saturday evening.

WicklowNews Player of the Match: Laura Hogan (Tinahely).

Tinahely scorers: L. Hogan (0-12; 0-04f), J. Kinch (2-00), L. Gilbert (1-00), S. Byrne (1-00), C. Byrne (0-02), E. O’Brien (0-02), Á. Byrne (0-01), A. Gorman (0-01), A. Winterbotham (0-01).

AGB scorers: J. McElheron (1-00), Á. O’Reilly (0-03f), A. Conroy (0-01), R. Byrne (0-01).

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