Thriller in Laragh!
Longford 10-6 Wicklow 5-13
Wicklow and Longford served up a very competitive and enjoyable under-16 ladies football championship game in sunny Laragh on Sunday last.
Both sides had very effective attacking units. The main difference was that Longford possessed a lethal goal scoring machine in corner forward Clodagh Lohan, who finished the day with five goals to her credit.
The absence of Wicklow's midfielder Anna Vas for a period of the second half on a 10-minute yellow card sending off did not help the Wicklow cause either.
This game was vastly different from Wicklow's last outing against Kilkenny, when they recorded a facile win.
The home side got off to a confident start, establishing an early dominance at midfield through Saibh Byrne and Anna Vas.
Centre forward Siofra Byrne was very prominent in these early stages and had three points on the board by the 11th minute.
Anna Vas had pointed, Aoife Kavanagh had goaled and wing forward Eimear O'Brien had brought a great save from goalie Rinah McGrath.
While the flow of play was going much to Wicklow's advantage, there were still alarming signs whenever Longford did attack. Wing forward Laura McGuire scored three points in the first half but more worrying was the fact that corner forwards Hannah Glennon (2) and Clodagh Lohan scored three goals from a limited supply of ball.
The Wicklow forwards continued to play well and had goals from Niamh Caffrey and Eimear O'Brien.
Points from O'Brien, Caffrey and Siofra Byrne brought the Wicklow total to 3-7 by half-time.
However, Longford were only a few points behind at 3-3 having enjoyed a very limited supply of ball.
Anna Vas got Wicklow off to a flying start in the second half when she won the throw in and travelled through the heart of the visitors defence to add another point in the first ten seconds.
However, the home side were not to score again until the 12fth minute. Longford gained a foothold in the middle third of the field and by the tenth minute they had notched three further goals from Clodagh Lohan, Laura McGuire and substitute Camille Burke. Points from Burke and midfielder Grace Shannon brought the Longford total to 6-5 against Wicklow 3-8 at this stage.
The home side struck back with a Niamh Caffrey pointed free and a goal from Siofra Byrne.
Around this stage Wicklow lost Anna Vas and in a disastrous three-minute period Clodagh Lohan scored three goals in a row for Longford to push them well out into the comfort zone.
To their credit Wicklow didn't die. Siofra Byrne scored a great goal with a ground shot and when Anna Vas came back to the game Wicklow came back strongly with points from Aoife Cullen, Eimear O'Brien, Kerry Ann Hamilton and another Siofra Byrne point to bring the home side total to 5-13.
Longford added a goal through substitute Derville Duggan and Laura McGuire completed their account with a point.
The game finished with Wicklow back in the ascendancy but ten goals against them was hard to roll back.
Wicklow were disappointed with this loss but there are many positives about this team.
Obviously they will have to stop the leakage of goals, but they have many good footballers spread throughout this team and have good forwards who will do lots of damage if the ball is delivered more quickly to the scoring area.
Scorers - Longford: Clodagh Lohan 5-0, Hannah Glennon 2-0, Camille Burke 1-1, Laura McGuire 1-4, Derville Duggan 1-0, Grace Shannon 0-1.
Wicklow: Siofra Byrne 2-5, Niamh Caffrey 1-2, Eimear O'Brien 1-2, Aoife Kavanagh 1-0, Anna Vas 0-2 Aoife Cullen 0-1, Kerry Ann Hamilton 0-1
Wicklow: Abby Healy; Zoe Armstrong, Clodagh Kelly, Laura Murphy; Jade Shannon, Anna Lawlor, Lucy Dunne; Saibh Byrne, Anna Vas; Aoife Cullen, Siofra Byrne, Eimear O'Brien; Aoife Kavanagh, Daise Summer Cullen Dunne, Niamh Caffrey. Subs: Erin King, Leah Geraghty, Naoise O'Reilly, Kerry Ann Hamilton, Amy McManus and Shona Byrne.
Referee: Jason Corcoran (Kildare)