The Under-16s had a busy week
playing two more championship matches with mixed fortunes of a loss and a win. However, the latter outcome ensures that we are through to the Wexford People Premier championship semi-final with one game in hand, so well done to everyone involved.
First up for the girls was a home game against Rathnure on Sunday evening last which they lost by 5-8 to 2-3. Some of our crew had been in Oakwood the day before, and a combination of sickness and tiredness didn’t help our cause against a team who look like being the favourites for outright honours on what we have seen so far.
Rathnure picked off the first two points before we had the boost of a well-taken solo goal from Sarah Harding-Kenny who sprinted down the centre and finished with aplomb in the 13th minute. It only took the visitors 60 seconds to draw level though, and they went on to lead by 2-5 to 1-0 at half-time. The margin widened to nine on the re-start before Shauna Kelly pointed a free and Sarah Harding-Kenny set up her first cousin, Jessie, for a goal less than five minutes in to reduce the gap to 2-6 to 2-1.
The margin remained at five midway through the half, with Mikaela Lanigan grabbing a point, but Rathnure hit three goals in the last quarter and our sole response was a Shauna Kelly point.
Team: Ailis Neville; Anna Whelan, Sadbh McCarthy, Chloe Mythen; Molly Byrne, Larah Campbell, Megan Scallan; Siobhán Doolan, Shauna Kelly (capt., 0-2, 1 free); Jessie Harding (1-0), Sarah Harding-Kenny (1-0), Fiona Kinsella; Lauren Murphy, Mikaela Lanigan (0-1), Eleanor Lacey. Subs. – Caitlin Carroll for McCarthy (42), Julia Halpin for Murphy (45), Thea Kehoe for Kinsella (52).
After beating them already at home, the girls knew that a victory away to Oulart-The Ballagh yesterday morning (Saturday) would make sure of a semi-final spot along with Rathnure, St. Martin’s and Craanford-Monaseed. And they duly delivered with a 4-6 to 2-5 win which is a fine achievement considering that every single one of the panel bar one (Shauna Kelly) will be Under-16 again next year.
This was the proverbial game of two halves as the wind had a big bearing on proceedings. We availed of it first and, while it took a while for our forwards to get their bearings and aim for the far post, eventually the scores came that pushed us into a commanding 4-4 to nil half-time lead. We got those four points in the first eleven minutes courtesy of Shauna Kelly, Zoe O’Leary, Shauna again from a free and Jessie Harding.
Jessie was deployed at corner-forward and she had a field day in the second quarter, grabbing a hat-trick of goals between the 14th and 20th minutes after good deliveries from out the field. Our fourth goal came from a Shauna Kelly penalty just before the break, with referee John O’Rourke confirming that her shot had crossed the line after being blocked.
However, the first-half also brought its disappointments as corner-back Chloe Mythen was forced off early on with a leg injury, and Sarah Harding-Kenny quickly joined her on the sideline after shipping a blow to the hand. It was a battle to preserve our lead after the break but our backs stood up well to the task, with Molly Byrne, Larah Campbell and Anna Whelan all to the fore.
Oulart-The Ballagh had pulled back three points before Shauna Kelly converted a free nearly ten minutes in, but we conceded 2-1 midway through the half and that made our task that bit harder. We managed to weather the storm quite well though despite the fact that many girls were tired after playing Under-16 football the previous night, and another free from Shauna only drew one response from the home side as we ended up victors by 4-6 to 2-5.
Team: Ailis Neville; Anna Whelan, Sadbh McCarthy, Chloe Mythen; Molly Byrne, Larah Campbell, Megan Scallan; Zoe O’Leary (0-1), Sarah Harding-Kenny; Siobhán Doolan, Shauna Kelly (capt., 1-4, 1-0 pen., 0-3 frees), Fiona Kinsella; Eleanor Lacey, Mikaela Lanigan, Jessie Harding (3-1). Subs. – Lauren Murphy for Mythen, inj. (17), Julia Halpin for Harding-Kenny, inj. (20), Thea Kehoe for Kinsella (49).
We have one away game to be re-fixed away to Craanford-Monaseed before the county semi-final on September 6th, with the decider down for a fortnight later