Ladies Leinster Championship
In Bray Emmets – Referee Colm McManus (Meath)
29/6/2013 – 2pm
A well organised strong London team beat a Lucy Mulhall inspired Wicklow in Bray this afternoon writes Alan O’Brien.
Perfect conditions greeted Wicklow and London for their Leinster Championship clash this afternoon. Longford had defeated London already meaning a Wicklow win would set up a Leinster Final between Longford and the Garden County.
Wicklow aided by a breeze were first to strike when Lucy Mulhall took the ball on and drove towards the exiles goal. The London backs had no answer as the dynamic Wicklow forward shrugged them off before placing a ball under Maria King in the London goal to give Wicklow the perfect start. London worked their way into the game and scored the next three points of the game to level. Worryingly for Wicklow it was London, wearing green, who were on top all around the pitch. Wicklow did raise the next white flag to push ahead again but London got the next 0-4 even though they were at times wasteful when shooting. With Wicklow searching for a score it was again the unplayable Mulhall who struck for Wicklow to break the exiles dominance. Moments later the Tinahely forward was running at the London defence again and Niamh Murphy took her down leaving the referee with no option but to award a penalty. Meadhbh Deeney stepped up and dispatched the spot kick and once again, against the run of play, Wicklow led. Caoilfhionn Deeney replaced Eadaoine Lenihan after 26 minutes as the teams traded scores to leave Wicklow in front by 0-1 at half time.
London started the second half in dominant fashion and fired over the first three points with Sinead McCooey making all the running for Tommy Donohue’s team. With 12 minutes to go Helen Hughes raced through and fired under the Wicklow crossbar to leave Wicklow 0-6 in arrears with little cause for optimism. London followed up that goal with another 0-2 before Wicklow started their comeback. Lucy Mulhall raced clear of her defender and squared to Sarah Delahunt who blasted a goal for the hosts. A point quickly followed before Mulhall tore London apart in the 4th minute of injury time before dispatching an unstoppable shot beyond King again. Unbelievably in a game where Wicklow had been totally outplayed they trailed by only a single score. However there was to be no last ditch salvage and the final whistle quickly followed to give London a deserved win.
As a match this was as strange as I have ever witnessed. Wicklow were nowhere near London in truth but only lost by a single point. In the second half Wicklow could not get out of their half and there was no plan or options for the player on the ball. We could not win our own kick outs which constantly left us under pressure. Sinead McCooey, Renee Murphy & Hannan Noonan were sublime for the visitors and Wicklow had no answer to the work-rate and strength of that trio.
Lucy Mulhall deserves a paragraph all to herself. The Tinahely full forward is as skillful player as I have had the pleasure of watching up close. Wicklow depended on Mulhalls involvement in all four goals as she hit two, was taken down for the penalty and set up the other for Sarah Delahunt. The strength and direct running which are central to her game make her such a handful and despite the domination of the opposition Mulhall nearly won the game herself.
Wicklow Team: Emer Miley, Anne Commiskey, Niamh Reid, Áine Byrne, Lorna Fusciardi, Sarah Hogan, Emer Byrne, Georgina Canavan, Sarah Delahunt, Laura Hogan, Laurie Ahern, Any Murphy, Eadaoine Lenihan, Lucy Mulhall, Meadhbh Deeney.
London Team: Maria King, Aoife Greene, Sarah Quinn, Cait McCarra, Sinead McCooey, Laura Power, Renee Murphy, Charlotte Faughnan, Helen Hughes, Caroline Benson, Hannah Noonan, Shona Barry, Jessica Hyde, Aoibhinn McKenna, Rebecca Mills.
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