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Friday 15 December 2017

Under-16 Leinster 'C' victory

Wexford 3-9 Westmeath  3-5

The successful Wexford squad before their Leinster final win
The successful Wexford squad before their Leinster final win

The Under-16 ladies' football inter-county campaign ended on a winning note for Wexford in Stradbally when they defeated Westmeath by four points to capture the Leinster 'C' championship title.

Wexford started with the aid of a strong breeze and went on the attack from the off. Stout in defence and with the forwards playing impressive attacking football, they raced into a 1-2 to nil lead by the fifth minute with a goal and a point by the flying Ciara Bridges aided by an Ailis Neville point.

Westmeath scored a breakaway goal when the ball came back off an upright into the grateful arms of an attacker, but they only added one point to their tally before the break despite their best efforts.

Wexford proceeded to go on all-out attack, with Neville and the elusive Jane Rossiter causing the Westmeath defence all sorts of problems.

Fast-flowing forward play set up Ciara Banville for two goals and a point in quick succession, with further points added by Sherene Hamilton (two) and the tireless Ciara Roban.

Wexford led by 3-6 to 1-1 at half-time but faced a strong challenge from the wind-assisted Westmeath on the re-start.

They started strongly though and matched their opponents score for score in the first ten minutes of the half with a point apiece from Hamilton, Roban and Banville.

That was the end of the Wexford scoring, and it was now the turn of the backs to stand tall as Westmeath pushed forward with menace and scored a questionable goal that looked a square ball.

The Wexford backs then really came into their own, with the safe handling of Aoife Dunne in goal helped by the flying Rosie McGuckin, Grace Cooney and Lorna Fortune in the full-back line.

Tireless work by the strong-running Geri Rose O'Connor, Mairéad Creane and Michelle Carty (until she retired) in the half-back line, aided by the hard-tackling Juliet Rochford and Susan Boyle in midfield, restricted the Westmeath attack to two points until the final minute when they scored a goal from the penalty spot.

Wexford ran out comfortable winners by four points to take the cup. This was a great all-round performance by M.J. Berry's youngsters, and great credit goes to him and his management team for their efforts. There wasn't a weak link in this team or substitutes.

With so many outstanding displays it was difficult to pick a player of the match, but in the end it went to the stylish, free-running Ciara Banville.

Captain Ciara Bridges accepted the cup on behalf of Wexford and gave a rousing acceptance speech as Gaeilge, much to the delight of her team-mates.

The County Board greatly appreciates the work done by Under-16 manager M.J. Berry and his mentors, plus the commitment and dedication of all players and their parents and guardians.

A special thank you to Myles Roban of Roban Insurances Ltd., Enniscorthy, who sponsored a set of jerseys, and on behalf of the players, a big thank you to Stafford's Bakery, Gorey, for the delicious cake.

Wexford: Aoife Dunne; Rosie McGuckin, Grace Cooney, Lorna Fortune; Mairéad Creane, Michelle Carty, Geri Rose O'Connor; Juliet Rochford, Susan Boyle; Ciara Bridges (capt., 1-1), Ciara Banville (2-2), Sherene Hamilton (0-3); Ciara Roban (0-2), Jane Rossiter, Ailis Neville (0-1). Subs. - Loren Doyle for Carty, Molly Bates for Hamilton, also Alibeth Curran, Aine Fitzgerald, Aishling Dunne, Michelle Cullen, Clodagh Walsh, Kathryn Dempsey, Eimear O'Hagan, Ellen Berry, Emily Rochford, Bernie Kinnaird, Jade Power, Orla Fitzgerald.

Management: M.J. Berry, Aideen Sutton, David Shiggins, Laura Stafford, Kevin Burke. Physio: Ann Whelan.

Wexford People

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