Hungry Bray side hurt Baltinglass at home
LGFA Division One League: Bray Emmets 2-12 Baltinglass 2-9
Baltinglass hosted Bray in Division 1 of the ladies Senior football league last Thursday on a sun-kissed evening in west Wicklow.
Going into the game the opinion of many was that Baltinglass were favourites to come out on top with the likes of county full-back Sarah Jane Winder lined out at centre field and the hat-trick hero from their recent league final victory over Louth in Marie Kealy named at top of the right along with the invaluable experience of Geraldine Norton in the Baltinglass goals, but on the day Bray looked the hungrier side and played with greater intent and hunger compared to the under firing Baltinglass side who seemed flat and simply less motivated than their opposition.
Over the course of this encounter, Bray proved that they are a quality side with fine defending, hard work and some very well polished moves up front with Alanna Conroy providing an engine in the middle of the field and the pace of Mikaela Shelly causing huge problems when she ran directly.
As mentioned previously, Baltinglass were most likely everyone's favourites to win this game, that theory would have been cemented after five minutes when they stormed out of the blocks with Rebecca Bowes opening the scoring within two minutes and then Marie Kealy doubling the advantage with a fine score from her right boot after a great break from Sarah Jane Winder with a long ball inside.
Bray then started to get their act together and were sparked into life after a fine run from Sinead Horgan where she ran straight down the heart of the Baltinglass defence to put Laura Durkin through on goal who made no mistake in finishing to the net.
Bray at this stage were moving the ball quickly and added their first point through Caoimhe Lohan after good play from Durkin and the troublesome Mikaela Shelly who caused problems all evening for Baltinglass.
At this stage, both midfield partnerships were burning a lot of diesel linking attack to defence. Chloe Farrell and Evelyn Deans provided an injection of pace in the Baltinglass half forward line in which they created the next score with Deans putting Farrell through for an easy score following an impressive build up between the two.
Caoimhe Lohan got her second of the day when great work from Aoife Gillan and that women again Mikaela Shelly. Niamh Brien responded immediately.
Then this game saw a period of stalemate where both defences were on top and forced a lot of wides and turnovers. Baltinglass broke this stalemate after a defensive error from Bray, losing the ball when coming out of defence is always dangerous as proved on this occasion as an attempted score for a point dropped under the bar and just over the fingertips of a reaching Eadoine Lenihan in the Bray goal.
With 20 minutes on the clock it was Baltinglass leading by two points. Bray finished out the half with two scores from Laura Butler and Caoimhe Lohan while Marie Kealy added one more to the Baltinglass account between the Bray brace.
Starting the second half, Bray trailed by the minimum but it wasn't long until Caoimhe Lohan levelled matters for the north Wicklow side, and it wasn't long till she put them into the lead after a fine build up involving Jane Butler and Alanna Conroy, this was after some wasteful efforts both ends of the field.
Then a killer blow to Baltinglass when Una O'Grady found the net from distance after an attempt for a point dropped short and found Ger Norton flatfooted.
Evelyn Deans replied swiftly to leave a goal in it. Laura Butler and Mikaela Shelly extended the Bray lead again. Bray further added to their lead after they capitalised on a defensive error in what should have been a goal for Butler but she had to settle for a point.
Marie Kealy cut the deficit with a goal from distance and, on the stroke of 20 minutes, Paula Faulkner added another Baltinglass score to set up a grandstand finish.
In the final 10 minutes, Laura Butler got her third of the day with a fine score from distance from her left boot just before Marie Kealy rattled the Bray post.
Bray substitute Eve Murphy eased the pressure slightly, Marie Kealy then had another goal attempt stopped which was followed up with a score from Evelyn Deans again.
Aoife Gillan then eased more pressure for Bray with a deserved score as she had worked tirelessly all day before the final act of the day was from a score from Sarah Jane Winder.
This was a highly entertaining game and if the two are to meet in the future it will sure to be a hotly contested battle with two teams playing fine football.
Bray Emmets: Eadoine Lenihan; Lauren Rowe, Erin Horan, Emily Devaney; Aoife Gillan, Una O'Grady, Jane Butler; Alanna Conroy, Alice Fitzgerald; Laura Butler, Mikaela Shelly, Sinead Horgan; Shauna Ryan, Laura Durkin, Caoimhe Lohan. Subs: Ashling McCabe for Laura Durkin; Eve Murphy for Shauna Ryan.
Baltinglass: Geraldine Norton; Sarah Fenelly, Jackie Byrne, Hannah Sheerin; Daly Dunne, Margaret Dowling, Ciara Lawlor; Sarah Jane Winder, Paula Faulkner; Susan Dowling, Evelyn Deans, Chloe Farrell; Niamh Brien, Rebecca Bowes, Marie Kealy.