The Offaly junior camogie team finished their Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Premier Junior Championship in a high scoring encounter in St.Brendan’s Park last Saturday afternoon.
It was the third time Offaly and Wicklow have met this year with Offaly side coming away with bragging rights for the second time. Earlier in the summer, Offaly faced Wicklow in the Leinster junior camogie final where a late Mary Teehan point ensured a replay. Second time round Offaly eventually edged out a victory on a scoreline of Offaly 0-10 to Wicklow 2-2.
The stage was set for a very exciting affair with recent contests suggesting a great battle of camogie. However, from the moment the ball was thrown in Offaly dominated Wicklow in every sector. Offaly ladies pushed up on Wicklow’s defence from the very beginning and squeezed the opposition into submission.
Wicklow found it very hard to transfer the ball from defence to attack under constant pressure from the Offaly forwards. Manager Stephen Corcoran’s decision to opt for a very strong half forward line paid off as Kelly Sammon, Grainne Dolan and Aoife Walsh racked up 2-8 between them.
It was this tactic that quickly kept Wicklow extremely busy to defend with Offaly being a constant threat keeping the ball inside the Wicklow defence. With only 17 minutes on the clock, the signs looked ominous for Wicklow as Offaly already had 3-7 on the scoreboard to Wicklow’s 0-4.
Credit must be given to Wicklow’s sharpshooter Laura Manley who was the danger woman for the blue and gold, however Wicklow were too over reliant on the talented forward to defend and score.
Offaly played clever attacking camogie with wing back and corner back Sarah Walsh and Ciara Ryan breaking up the field to pop over scores. At the half time break Offaly led 3-13 to 0-4.
As the sides returned to the field Offaly didn’t take the shoulder from the wheel. Corner forward Terrie Delaney added 1-2 to her tally while Grainne Egan knocked over 0-8 from play and placed balls.
On Egan’s right, fellow corner forward Niamh Walsh also found the net and the blackspot. Aoife McLoughlin and Rebecca Hoctor commanded the centre of the field while the half back line of Niamh Larkin, Mary Teehan and Sarah Walsh kept a number of Wicklow attacks at bay.
Offaly’s defence was rarely tested in this game and this was testament to the pressure the Offaly forwards applied in the opposition half. Although the faithful were already knocked out going into this game, they showed great skill, character and determination to register a 28 point win to finish third in their group. The final score was Offaly 4-24 Wicklow 0-8.
Offaly Scorers: C.Ryan 0-01, S.Walsh 0-01, R.Hoctor 0-01, A.Walsh 0-01, G.Dolan 1-05, K.Sammon 1-02, T.Delaney 1-02, G.Egan 0-08, N.Walsh 1-01, A.McLoughlin 0-02
Wicklow Scorers: L.Manley 0-05, K.O'Neill 0-02, H.O'Neill 0-01
Offaly Team: Shauna McGarraigle, Una Kilmartin, Ciara Ryan, Lisa Brady J/Capt, Niamh Larkin, Mary Teehan J/Capt, Sarah Walsh, Rebecca Hoctor, Aoife McLoughlin, Aoife Walsh, Grainne Dolan, Kelly Sammon, Terri Delaney, Grainne Egan, Niamh Walsh
Subs: Ellen Gilligan, Sharon Boland, Eadaoin Kilmartin, Louise Mannion, Aoibhe Whelehan, Sarah Guinan, Alanna Roddy, Louise Savage.
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