Offaly and Wexford served up a fantastic game of camogie yesterday in the Leinster U-16 Shield Final with Sarah Harding the star of the show scoring an incredible 5-4.
Leinster U-16 Shield Final
Having been defeated by the same opposition earlier in the competition Offaly were the outsiders coming into the game and five minutes into the second half and down by eight points a victory didn’t look on the cards. However, with a never say die attitude, combined with some very skilful play the Offaly girls played their best camogie of the campaign to win by three points.
Offaly started the game brightly with a point from Sarah Harding from play. However a quick attack by Wexford ended in a goal. Sarah Kehoe was then on the end of a very good Offaly move and rifled the ball into the net.
Wexford replied with a goal and a point before another Sarah Harding point from a free. Sarah then scored the first of her five goals when she caught a high delivery, side stepped her marker and left the Wexford goalie with no chance with a superb shot.
Unfortunately for Offaly, the lead didn’t last long and Wexford went straight up the field and scored another goal. The Offaly full back line was now under pressure from the high ball and conceded two more goals before half time.
They stayed in the game with two points from play from Hannah Larkin and Louise Savage. This left the half time score 5-2 to 2-4 in Wexford’s favour. This was not a fair reflection of the exchanges in the first half and after a stern talking to from the management the Offaly girls came out full of determination in the second half.
They were rewarded with a quick goal from the penalty spot by Sarah Harding but were once again on the back foot when a slip up in defence led to another Wexford goal followed immediately by a point. From then on though there was a noticeable shift in the balance of play and the supply of ball going into the full forward line was relentless.
And what a performance Sarah Harding the full forward gave in the second half. Every time she was on the ball she beat her marker and threatened the Wexford goals. With a personal total of 5-4 hers was as good a display as has been seen on a hurling pitch.
While Wexford did threaten the Offaly goals a number of times near the end the defence held firm with goalkeeper Ellen Gilligan playing her part to the delight of the faithful followers and management team the Offaly girls came out on top in the end on a scoreline of 6-6 to 6-3.
Offaly can now look forward to the All Ireland series in July with some confidence. Well done to Benny Wyer and his selectors Robbie Bergin, Mary O’Brien and Eithne Kelly.
Scorers: S Harding 5-4 (1-0pen, 0-3f), S Kehoe (1-0), L Savage 0-1, H Larkin 0-1
Offaly: Ellen Gilligan, Helen Healy, Aoibhe Whelahan, Alannah Roddy, Kate Bergin, Ciara Brennan (Captain), Sarah Guinan, Rachel O Brien, Louise Savage, Sarah Kehoe, Dara Hanamy, Louise Mannion, Hannah Larkin, Sarah Harding, Chloe Costello. Subs: Olwyn Kenny for Sarah Kehoe, Caitlyn Kennedy for Chloe Costello, Sarah Dooley, Rachel Scully, Orlaith Plunkett, Leah Gath, Niamh Kelly, Roisin Daly, Oonagh Gleeson and Nicole Davern.