Extra-time heartbreak for Wexford Under-14 side
There was heartbreak for the Wexford Under-14 girls in Geraldine Park, Athy, recently when they lost the Leinster 'B' championship final to Meath after extra-time.
Meath 1-16 Wexford 2-7 (AET)
Wexford seized possession from the throw-in and were first on the scoreboard, with Sophie Boxwell finding the back of the net in the opening minute.
Meath's Emma Duggan split the posts in the second minute and again in the fifth minute to leave a point between the sides. Eimear Gabbett pointed on six minutes to edge Wexford two in front once more.
The Meath full-back line was kept busy but they stood strong to the waves of Wexford attacks. Alice McGrath's effort was well saved by the Wexford 'keeper, Alibeth Curran.
Wexford were unlucky not to have a second goal as Cathryn Dempsey's powerful effort flashed across the Royal square. A long-range effort from Tia Nulty on the 17th minute restored parity (0-4 to 1-1).
Wexford's response was almost immediate, with Dempsey fisting over a point on 19 minutes, after the initial attack was punched away by Meath 'keeper Aoibhean Corcoran. The action was end-to-end.
A brace of scores from Wexford pushed the side from the sunny south-east further in front before a 24th-minute goal from Kate Foley rocked the Royal net.
Ali Sherlock and Orla Conlon Meath combined beautifully to prevent a further score but it wasn't just enough as Sophie Boxwell split the posts on 27 minutes. Wexford went into half-time with a five-point lead (2-4 to 0-5).
Cathryn Dempsey scored a point in the 33rd minute to stretch Wexford's lead to six. Meath made some changes and they upped the speed of their game.
Aideen Jones added her second point of the contest on 39 minutes while Alannah Boland got the first of three points a minute later. The tide was slowly turning in Meath's favour as they were adding to the scoreboard.
Keri Martin reduced the gap to a single score on 50 minutes, and they could have levelled matters but for missed opportunities from the dead ball. With the majority of the pressure on the Wexford back line, once they got a chance to break, they did so with speed, and the woodwork came to Meath's rescue as a certain goal chance ricocheted off the upright.
A serious injury to Wexford defender Cora Rowe halted play as an ambulance was called, and with the momentum very much with Meath, the break was needed given the humidity.
On the resumption, Wexford held a one-point lead and stretched it to two on 57 minutes through the boot of Sophie Boxwell. Meath's reply was instant, as Keri Martin grabbed her third point on 59 minutes.
As the ball went back into midfield, both teams played a good, clean game of football working the ball up and down the pitch. Wexford fouled Meath about 25 yards out on the left-hand side. Meath's Emma Duggan coolly put the ball over the bar, leaving the game to go to extra-time (2-6 to 0-12).
Extra-time was a tight and tense affair with just one score for either side in the opening ten minutes. Boland was on target for Meath.
Wexford were not giving in and they pointed to level matters once again through Boxwell.
As the half-time break came, thoughts of the game going to a replay were prevalent on the sidelines.
With just ten minutes remaining, either side was well within reach of the Leinster title. It was Meath who opened the scores in the second-half, and they went ahead for the first time.
Meath started piling huge pressure on the Wexford defence and, although the girls never gave up they played their hearts out, the scores arrived for Meath who won by 1-16 to 2-7.
This was a tremendously hard-working performance from both sets of footballers. Wexford and Meath can both be very proud of their efforts.
Neither side gave up and, given the sunshine and humidity and 80 minutes of tough football, this is a huge achievement in itself.
Wexford went in the underdogs though they did not do themselves justice the last time they played Meath, but from then on the girls worked very hard and gave it 110% to pull off the game they had.
The management of this team said that they are very proud of all 24 girls on the panel. Both Wexford and Meath ladies would like to send speedy well wishes to defender Cora Rowe who was forced off the field through injury.
Wexford: Alibeth Curran (Glynn-Barntown); Cora Rowe (Glynn-Barntown), Ciara Walsh (St. James', capt.), Katie Kehoe (Horeswood); Shauna Hackett (Gusserane), Loren Doyle (Crossabeg-Ballymurn), Lorna Fortune (Clonee); Juliet Rochford (St. Anne's), Susan Boyle (Castletown); Eadaoin Kent (Horeswood), Sophie Boxwell (Kilmore, 1-3), Eimear Gabbett (Gusserane, 0-1); Kate Foley (Horeswood, 1-0), Cathryn Dempsey (Horeswood, 0-1), Michelle Kinsella (Horeswood, 0-2). Subs. - Niamh McHugh (Baile Dubh Tíre) for Kent, Molly Redican (Taghmon-Camross) for Boxwell, Liadh Dwyer (Volunteers) for Gabbett, Rachel Power (Adamstown) for Foley, Muireann Fitzpatrick (Castletown) for Dempsey, Kaitlynn Gabbett (St. Anne's) for Rowe, also Aoife Dunne (Baile Dubh Tíre), Shauna Nolan (Baile Dubh Tíre), Aine Redmond (Baile Dubh Tíre).
Meath: Aoibheann Corcoran; Orla Conlon, Ali Sherlock, Tegan Gordon; Tia Nulty, Mollie Browne, Caoimhe McPeake; Aoibhin Bracken, Aisling McCabe (capt.); Olivia Gore (0-2), Méadhbh Byrne, Eimear Fay; Alice McGrath, Emma Duggan (0-4, 1 free), Aideen Jones (0-3). Subs. - Ellen Grant for Bracken (HT), Keri Martin for Gore (38), Alannah Boland for Byrne (38), Orla Finnegan for McGrath (54), Olivia Gore for Fay (64), Lauren Donnelly for Sherlock (77), also Karen McNulty, Holly Kealy, Saoirse O'Kane, Lauren McCarthy, Maeve Reilly, Rebecca King, Caoimhe Leddy, Orla Hayes, Katie Carragher, Meghan Corish, Grace Gavigan, Niamh Mulvihill, Caragh Monaghan, Zoe Matthews, Aoibhe Monaghan.
Referee: Derek McKittrick (Dublin).