Wicklow 2-7 Offaly 2-7
Wicklow travelled to Birr on Sunday 27th to take on Offaly in the Leinster Junior Final. Having taken care of Louth in the semi-final Wicklow knew they needed to raise their game if they were to retain their title.
Both teams settled into the match quickly and the game was played in excellent conditions. Offaly’s Aoife Walsh opened their scoring with a well taken point. In the fifth minute Niamh Walsh latched on to a dropping ball to put the ball passed the Wicklow keeper Bernie Byrne to raise the green flag for Offaly. Laura Hogan got Wicklow off the mark with a point for Wicklow and moments later Wicklow corner forward Sarah Byrne was one on one with the Offaly keeper who pulled off a great save.
Laura Manley added two points to leave the score 1-1 to 0-3. Offaly had two more points when Laura Manley points narrow the deficit to the minimum and looked to be heading to half time a point down when on the stroke of half time Offaly’s Eadaoin Kilmartin put the ball in the Wicklow net to leave the half time score 2-3 to 0-5.
From the throw in Eadaoin Kilmartin stretched the lead for Offaly with a well taken point and Wicklow thought the game was getting away from them. Laura Manley kept Wicklow in touch and settled the Wicklow girls with a point.
Directly from the puck out Erynn O’Brien took on the Offaly net and put Wicklow right back in the game. A point from Laura Manley in the 40th minute saw the teams level for the first time. Good sustained pressure from the Wicklow backs saw Offaly having to shoot from distance and they has many scoring chances.
Bernie Byrne had a string of saves to keep Wicklow alive. As the game got to the closing 5 minutes Sheila Whelan put the ball past Ellen Gilligan to give Wicklow the lead. Offaly midfielder scored two points to send the game to a replay. Perhaps a fair result in a game that both sides will rue scoring opportunities missed.
Wicklow gave their all and good performances from Claire Byrne, Laura Manley at midfield, Bernie Byrne in the Wicklow goal, Nora O’Neill and Aine O’Keeffe in the back and up front Sarah Byrne, Sheila Whelan and Erynn O’Brien all played well.
Wicklow Bernie Byrne, Mary O’Neill, Áine O’Keeffe, Lisa Hogan, Sarah Forde, Kellie Byrne, Nora O’Neill, Laura Manley, Claire Byrne, Kelly O’Neill, Laura Hogan, Sinead Byrne, Sheila Whelan, Erynn O’Brien, Sarah Byrne, Jessica Driver, Aoife Weir, Katie Daynes, Aisling Shannon, Chloe Dwyer, Ciara Kelly, Claire Grace, Annalise Dunne, Sheenagh Byrne, Shannagh Goetelen, Ciara Byrne, Jessica Byrne.
Ellen Gilligan, Aoibhe Whelehan, Ciara Ryan, Lisa Brady, Kelly Sammon, Una Kilmartin, Alana Roddy, Louise Savage, Mary Teehan, Aoife Walsh, Aoife McLoughlin, Sarah Walsh, Eadaoin Kilmartin, Rebecca Hoctor, Niamh Walsh, Shauna McGarrigle, Rachel Guinan, Grainne Egan, Niamh Larkin, Sarah Guinan, Kerry McLeish, Sharon Boland, Helen Healy, Trudy Feenane.
Referee Paul Ryan(Kildare)