OFFALY travelled to Greystones to play Wicklow in the Leinster Semi-Final on Sunday but despite their best efforts, they lost out to the home side who are the defending Leinster Junior Champions.
Wicklow’s third goal just before half-time proved to be the vital score as it took the momentum out a detemined Offaly fightback.
This year has been a great stepping stone for this young Offaly team getting to the Division 4 League Semi-final and the Leinster Semi-Final.
With great heart these young ladies put up a great performance with Michelle Guinan at corner back playing exceptionally well. The lost of their full back and influential captain Patrice Stapleton due to a knee injury sustained during in last week’s win against Louth was a tremendous lost to Offaly.
Wicklow got off to a great start and with eight minutes gone on the clock lead by 1-2 to 0-1. Offaly fought back and a great score from half forward Kym Furey left just a goal between the sides.
The scores could have been equalised as the ball was in the back of the Wicklow net but it was adjudeged to be a hand pass into the goals and the umpires crossed the flags.
Wicklow responded with a point and after 15 minutes came their second goal. Goals chances came for Offaly for Sinead Taylor and Orlagh Heavey but they were unlucky as both chances were off target.
With 10 minutess left in the half, Orlagh Heavey blasted the ball by the Wicklow keeper and that score gave Offaly a real lift. It started a good 10 minutess for the Offaly ladies and they put another three points on the score sheet.
However after getting back within four points, their momentum came to a shuddering halt when Wicklow’s third goal of the half came in time added on in the first half. The half time score was suddenly far more favourable for the home side as they lead by 3-6 to 1-5.
The second half started as the first half finished and with only three minutes gone Wicklow had put 1-3 on the board.
Scores from Kym Furey and Therese Hickey reduced the margin between the sides but Wicklow were just too strong for this young Offaly side. Two points from substitute Mariead Kavanagh were to be the last of the Offaly scores but like the first half had opportunities in around the Wicklow goals only to be blocked down by great goalkeeping and defence.
Wicklow scored 3-5 points in the second half leaving the full time score, Wicklow 6-11 Offaly 1-9. Wicklow go on now to defend their Leinster Title.
Offaly: Paula Fox; Grainne Vaugh, Niamh Kavanagh, Michelle Guinan; Aisling O’ Connor, Nianh Daly, Riona Byrne; Amy Kerrigan (0-1), Treasa McManus; Kym Furey (0-2),Orlagh Heavey (1-2) Therese Hickey (0-1); Elisha Hunston, Lorraine Kenna, Sinead Taylor (0-1). Subs; Miriam Malone, Maebh Coleman for Lorraine Kenna, Sandra Blong for Grainne Vaugh, Sarah O’ Rourke, Kelley Cunningham for Sinead Tawlor, Mairead Kavanagh (0-2) for Therese Hickey, Sarah Maloney for Kym Furey, Leanne Galvin, Deirdre Evans.