Neville's goal secures title
U-16 girls win 'C' decider
Substitute Ailis Neville punched home a dramatic injury-time goal to give Wexford the Leinster ladies' football Under-16 'C' title after a ding-dong battle with Longford in Stradbally on Saturday.
Wexford 2-13 Longford 4-6
With the Slaneysiders trailing by a point in added time, Shelmalier starlet Neville reached highest to fist home a hopeful left-wing ball to the net to give her side their first lead since the opening half.
Yet, even then the game wasn't up. Longford went down the other end and won a free which they dropped into the danger area. They quickly won another dead-ball but, after it was sent over the bar, referee Jason Corcoran blew the full-time whistle and Wexford were champions.
When the chips were down, the victors played their best football. Sally Walker made a couple of good saves, Orla Fortune was powerful at full-back, while captain Sarah Harding-Kenny led by example with a superb performance from centre-back.
In midfield Rachel Bennett put in a good shift, Ciara Bridges was industrious when she dropped deep, and Britney Conroy had a superb second-half. But star again was Emily Coakley, as the St. Fintan's clubwoman claimed the 'player of the game' award and kicked nine points.
Wexford started the game on fire and were already three points up when Lauren Murphy cut in from the left wing and fired a shot to the Longford net. Slowly the north Leinster side recovered as they goaled through Ciara Healy to make it 1-3 to 1-1.
As the half wore on, Wexford started to go off the boil. By the interval Longford had dragged themselves all the way back to level (1-6 to 2-3). It wasn't much better after the re-start as the eventual runners-up scored 2-2 without reply to lead by eight.
With the game almost slipping away, Sarah Harding-Kenny made a few crucial clearances and her side gained some momentum. Emily Coakley kicked a treble and Britney Conroy scored two super points as Wexford got a run going.
From the 40th minute until injury time Wexford didn't concede. However, Longford lost their discipline and were reduced to 13 after picking up a yellow card, which was followed shortly after by a red for a tackle on Rachel Bennett.
It was 1-13 to 4-5 in added time when Neville punched to the net at the back post to give her side the lead they needed to hold on to claim the Leinster 'C' crown.
Wexford: Sally Walker (Volunteers); Imogen Fanning (Kilmore), Orla Fortune (Kilmore), Olivia McDonnell (Kilmore); Julia Dempsey (Volunteers), Sarah Harding-Kenny (Shelmalier, capt.), Niamh Dunne (St. Martin's); Rachel Bennett (St. Anne's, 0-1), Ciara O'Connor (Gusserane); Anne Marie Bennett (St. Anne's, 0-1), Emily Coakley (St. Fintan's, 0-9), Ciara Bridges (Sarsfields); Ciara Banville (Taghmon-Camross), Britney Conroy (HWH-Bunclody, 0-2), Lauren Murphy (Shelmalier, 1-0). Subs. - Michelle Carty (Taghmon-Camross for McDonnell, Ailis Neville (Shelmalier, 1-0) for Murphy, Sherene Hamilton (Ballygarrett-Réalt na Mara) for Conroy, inj., also Gráinne McCabe (Starlights), Geri Rose O'Connor (Baile Dubh Tíre), Ciara Roban (Baile Dubh Tíre), Kaitlyn Whelan-Kinsella (Crossabeg-Ballymurn), Aisling Halligan (Sarsfields), Orla Fitzgerald (Clonee), Kate O'Loughlin (Ballygarrett-Réalt na Mara), Sarah Lynch (Naomh Eanna), Emma O'Connor (Gusserane), Caragh Clarke (Naomh Eanna).
Longford: Sara Lee Greene; Megan Lynn, Jessica Barry, Sarah Horan; Orla Nevein, Orla Farrell (capt.), Muireann Claffey; Aisling McCormack, Niamh Brady; Cliodhna Allen, Ciara Healy, Aine Barry; Dearbhile Rooney, Ciara Foxe, Aine Bannon.
Referee: Jason Corcoran (Kildare).
The management of the Under-16 county team are organising a mid-summer ball on Friday, July 16, in Mooney's on the quay, Wexford, from 8 to 11.30 p.m. This is a strictly no alcohol event, for third years and over, and admission is €10. There is a dress code.
Meanwhile, the county adult team is playing the second round of the Leinster Intermediate championship against Louth on Sunday, June 26, at 2 p.m. in Innovate Wexford Park.
Co-manager Shane McCormack has a few minor injuries but the feels confident that the girls will give a great display of football at this home venue. They all played well in the first round of their championship against Wicklow. Wexford County Board would appeal to all clubs and supporters to come out and support this team. After all, they are playing for your county.
A fundamentals course will take place on Saturday, July 2, in a venue to be confirmed (possibly Farmleigh). The course runs for approximately five hours and includes lunch. This is an ideal opportunity for new mentors or anybody interested in getting involved in ladies' football.
The cost for the course is €25 and this includes lunch. We require 20 people to be able to run the course and places can be booked by contacting Robbie Garland at email@example.com or 087-9563221. Bookings need to be made by Thursday, June 23, at the latest to allow time to determine if we have enough participants to run the course.