05 Jul 2022

Brave Offaly pay dear price for concession of first half goals as season ends

Brave Offaly pay dear price for concession of first half goals as season ends

Emma Hand in action for Offaly against Wicklow

Wicklow 4-7

Offaly 1-11

OFFALY's hopes of progress in the All-Ireland Ladies Football Intermediate Football Championship were ended by visitors Wicklow at Clara's Bretland Park on Sunday afternoon.

It was a gripping, drama packed game played in a real knockout fervour. It was a winners' take all showdown with the victors marching on and the losers bowing out while a draw would have been enough to get Offaly into a quarter-final against Tyrone.

It ended up a tight enough fare with five points separating the teams at the final whistle but that only tells a bit of the full story.

Ultimately Offaly were way off the boil in the first half and their performance here sealed their fate. They conceded four goals and while they outscored Wicklow by 0-9 to 0-4 in the second half, they couldn't pull back in the deficit.

Offaly needed a goal in the second half to rescue the game and they attacked with great determination but a resolute Wicklow rearguard held firm and they received the reward of a quarter-final place.

Wicklow came out with all guns blazing and settled quicker into the game. They got quick goals from Sarah Delahunt and Siofa Adams with the experienced Mairead Daly replying with an Offaly point. A great goal from Eve Kelly brought Offaly right back into it but Wicklow got the next three poiunts through Marie Kealy, Meadhbh Deeney and Delahunt and things nose dived for Offaly with the third Wicklow goal. It bwas a quality score with Aoife Gorman doing the approach work and Laura Hogan finishing.

Offaly were struggling and Wicklow's fourth goal arrived near half time – Laura Hogan was again the scorr. An Eve Kelly point left Offaly trailing by 4-3 to 1-2 at the interval.

It was a whopping ten point deficit and Offaly had a mountain to climb. They gave it their best shot, improving all over the field and playing with much greater intensity. They got on top in most sectors and were the better team in the second half but the deficit was too much.

Saorah Doyle and Marie Kealy xchanged early points before Offaly got three on the trot from Ellee McEvoy, Eve Kelly and Dotyle again. Marie Kealy and Aoife Carey exchanged further points befoee Savannah Gorteleen got a fantastic Wicklow point. That put Wicklow 4-6 to 1-7 ahead with eleven minutes left and the winners were still in full control.

Offaly fought with everything they had late on. They got three more in a row from Doyle (2) and Saoirse McGuinness. Laura Hogan got Wicklow's final point while captain Roisin Ennis got the last score of the game for Offaly.

It was too little too late. Offaly tried hard but there was no disputing the merit of the Wicklow win and the home side just couldn't get the goal they needed to make the second half truly interesting.

The Scorers

Wicklow: Laura Hogan 2-1, Sarah Delahunt 1-1, Marie Kealy 0-3 (0-2 Frees), Siofa Adams 1-0, Savannah Gorteleen 0-1, Meadhbh Deeney 0-1.

Offaly: Eve Kelly 1-2, Saorah Doyle 0-4 (Frees), Mairead Daly 0-1, Roisin Ennis 0-1, Ellee McEvoy 0-1, Aoife Carey 0-1, Saoirse McGuinness 0-1.

The Teams

Wicklow: Jackie Kinch; Jackie Byrne, Sarah Hogan, Lucy Dunne; Savannah Gorteleen, Sarah Jane Winders (Capt.), Sarah Delahunt; Niamh Cullen, Aoife Gorman, Meadhbh Deeney; Siofa Adams, Laura Hogan, Marie Kealy.

Offaly: Tara Row; Orla Whelan, Nicole Farrelly, Nicole Buckley; Michelle Mann, Emma Maher, Annie Kehoe; Roisin Ennis (Capt.), Amy Gavin Mangan; Eve Kelly, Ellee McEvoy, Emma Hand; Sarah Kehoe, Mairead Daly, Saorah Doyle. Subs: Saoirse McGuinness for Sarah Kehoe (Half Time), Dawn Hannon for Annie Kehoe (41 mins), Aoife Carey for Mairead Daly (45 mins).

Referee: Kevin Corcoran (Fermanagh).

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