Keeper Miley saves day for Wicklow

Wicklow 2-10 Wexford 2-9

Wicklow 2-10 Wexford 2-9

Wicklow retained their TG4 Leinster ladies junior football championship crown at a blustery Dr Cullen Park in Carlow on Sunday afternoon – and had goalkeeper Emer Miley to thank for a superb late save which denied Wexford what would have been a winning goal.

In the third minute of stoppage time, Miley somehow diverted a point-blank shot from Wexford full-forward Lisa Goff wide for a 45.

And although Wexford sub Linda Casey brought her side to within a point soon after, time ran out for the Slaneysiders as Wicklow collected a third provincial junior crown in four seasons.

Wicklow full-forward Lucy Mulhall scored 2-2 for the winners as centre forward Caoilfhionn Deeney showed flashes of brilliance on the forty, particularly in the first half.

Wicklow played with the aid of a stiff breeze in the first half and at the break, they led by 2-5 to 0-6.

And although Wexford won the second half by 2-3 to 0-5, it wasn’t enough to overhaul a Wicklow team that led by six points early in the second half.

Wicklow got off to the perfect start in the fourth minute when Muhall cracked home a superb goal after collecting a defence-splitting pass from Loretta Gilbert.

But Wexford, inspired by midfielder Fiona Rochford, fought their way back and were level at 0-6 to 1-3 by the 19th minute.

Wicklow lost corner forward Eadoine Lenihan to a yellow card and a sin-binning in the 18th minute but still managed to outscore their opponents by 0-2 to 0-1 during the time that Lenihan was off the pitch.

A minute before half-time, Mulhall was credited with a second goal when she fisted the ball over the line after Deeney’s long free caused havoc in the Wexford full-back line.

There was some degree of doubt about the award but the umpires behind the goal had little hesitation in nodding towards the green flag.

Wicklow were denied a third goal on the stroke of half-time as the hooter had already sounded before the ball hit the Wexford net.

After half-time, Wicklow sub Monica Lynch pointed with her first touch to send the Garden County 2-6 to 0-6 clear but Wexford quickly set about eating into that lead.

Tara Moloney banged home a 39th minute penalty but their hopes of a successful revival were dented by a yellow card award to Rochford in the 44th minute.

Trailing by five points in the closing minutes, Wexford found a lifeline when wing-back Julie Kelly, who was substituted just seconds later, found the back of the net with a shot which looped over Miley’s head.

Niamh Carroll hit back with a sensational Wicklow point but the winners were holding on and had Miley to thank for that magnificent late stop.

Carroll was awarded the player of the match award after contributing two points from play for Wicklow during the course of a hard-running display.

Scorers for Wicklow: L Mulhall 2-2 (0-2f), C Deeney 0-4 (1f), N Carroll 0-2, L Gilbert & M Lynch 0-1 each.

Scorers for Wexford: J Kelly 1-1, T Moloney 1-1 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), F Rochford 0-2, S Kehoe, L Goff, E Evered, E Hore & L Casey 0-1 each.

WICKLOW: E Miley; J Miley; C Byrne, A Heffernan; L Fusciardi, C McKeon, N Kelly; J Kinch, L Gilbert; A.M. Doran, C Deeney, L Ahern; E Lenihan, L Mulhall, N Carroll.

Subs: M Lynch for Lenihan (31), M Deeney for Kinch (45), S Miley for Ahern (56), E Sargent Kelly for Byrne (56).

WEXFORD: M.R. Kelly; M O’Neill, N Cullen, L Tector; J Kelly, N Scallan, S Doyle; F Rochford, D Fox; S Kehoe, T Moloney, N Crosbie; A Evered, L Goff, L Evered.

Subs: M Quill for O’Neill (30+1), S Hallahan for Moloney (49), E Hore for Crosbie (52), L Casey for J Kelly (55), K Kearney for Hallahan (60+2).

Referee: D McEnery (Westmeath).

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