Match reports and reactions from Louth U16 Leinster final victory and narrow loss for Minors

Leinster U16 ‘C’ Championship final 2019:  Louth 3–13 Laois 1–10

Louth U16s produced a brilliant display against Laois in Athy on Sunday 12th May to deservedly lift the Leinster U16 C Championship trophy.

Celebrating U16s

The Wee County’s start matched the bright, sunny weather and they almost made an early breakthrough when Rachel Leonard won possession from the throw-in and went on a strong run before finding Ellen McBride but the full forward  saw her shot brilliantly kept out by Laois goalkeeper Aoibhe Brennan. The Reds  dominated the early exchanges and Mia Duffy opened the scoring with a free before further points from Sophie Turley, Roisin Maguire and Seona Halligan put them four points clear midway through the half.

Louth would have been further ahead but for the exceptional display of the Laois net minder Brennan minder who kept her side in the game by making three excellent stops  and their dominance could be measured by the fact that Laois didn’t advance past the halfway line until the seventh minute!

A fourth goal chance fell Louth’s way in the 18th minute when Player of the Match Roisin Maguire beat a couple of defenders only to see her shot kept out by the woodwork.

Laois eventually got off the mark when the lively Leah Tarpey shot over with 20 minutes played and the same player quickly added a further point before late scores from Maguire (2) and McBride left three between the sides, 0–7 to 0–4 at the break.

Leah Tarpey and Ava Briscoe swapped points after the resumption before Louth took a firm grip on the game when Roche Emmets’ Abi Keenan won possession near the touchline and jinked past a couple of defenders before firing a brilliant angled shot into the back of the Laois net. Tarpey and Maguire exchanged points before Keenan took centre stage again, collecting a brilliant pass from Rachel Leonard in space to drill home her second goal of the afternoon.

Louth almost had a further goal moments later but the unlucky Ellen McBride shot inches wide. There was no let-up, however, and they were rewarded when Leonard bagged a third goal in seven minutes to increase the lead, 3–9 to 0–8.

Laois hit back immediately with a well-taken goal of their own through Ava Lalor but Louth never looked in danger and added further points through Roisin Maguire and substitute Sarah Gilmore to emerge as comfortable winners.

Louth two goal hero Abi Keenan who qualifies to play in this grade next season was thrilled with the outcome;
“I am over the moon with the victory and scoring two goals. It was a tough match and we were a little concerned to be only three points in front at half time, but the management were great.My first goal I just saw the goals and I just kinda went for it and thankfully it went in.”

U16 player of the match Roisin Maguire

Player of the match Roisin Maguire felt the win was a​ tribute to an all round team effort, “While it was great to get the award I couldn’t have gotten it without my teammates and the subs who came on. Our midfield and defence is so good and I am dependent on the quality of ball they give and it’s great. Everyone is so committed and the management have done so much to improve us as players” added the St. Kevin’s star.

Louth mentor Gerard Roe spoke of the potential in this young squad, “It was an absolutely brilliant win. We took control early on and we never let it slip. We could have been further ahead at half time but I wasn’t too concerned as we were on top at midfield and have a solid defence,it was about keeping the player’s settled. There is fantastic talent in this panel, football in Louth is very strong at this level and the future looks very promising” added the Faughart native.

Laois manager Paul Mulhall, was full of praise for the Louth performance; “Martin (Duffy) and his backroom team have done a great job as they are a very well drilled outfit, we knew it was going to be very tough today as we played them last year up in Dundalk. I was happy enough at half time to be just three behind, and while we got the first score, they didn’t panic and they came back at us strongly and got the early second half goals to put the game was beyond us. We have had a tough year but I am very pleased with the efforts of the team,​ our girls never gave up” said the Laois boss

Louth;​ Rebecca Lambe Fegan, Amy Farrell, Caitlin O’Reilly, Aine Carolan, Ella McEntaggert, Kelly Carolan, Louise Johnson, Sophie Turley, 0:1; Mia Duffy, 0:2, Ava Briscoe, 0:1, Rachel Leonard, 1:00, Roisin Maguire, 0:4, Abi Keenan,2:00, Ellen McBride, Seona Halligan, 0:1.
Subs: Sarah Gilmore (0–01), Alice Ferguson, Laoise McElroy, Leah McArdle, Sinead Kneel.

Laois: Aoibhe Brennan; Jasmine Kinsella, Sarah Tuohy, Aoibhe Mulhall; Grainne Cotter, Georgina, Fiona Fennessy; Aishling Fitzpatrick, Ava Lawlor (1–00); Rachel Glynn, Anna Lalor, Ellen Donohue; Kelly O’Neill (0–02), Leah Tarpey (0–07), Ciara Crowley. Subs: Niamh Conroy (0–01), Eleanor Healy, Chloe Conroy, Sinead Good.

Referee: Cathy Ford (Wicklow).

Report by Dermot Woods

On Saturday 11th May, a 4-07 haul for Louth Captain Niamh Rice wasn’t enough for the Wee County as Wexford became Minor C Champions in a thrilling game in Blessington.

Supporters were served up a thrilling contest that was still in the balance deep into injury-time with only a kick of a football separating the sides. A hat-trick from Wexford skipper Jane Rossiter and a Player of the Match performance from Ciara Bridges ensured victory for MJ Berry’s side.

Wexford raced into an early three-point lead with a pointed free from Jane Rossiter followed by a brace from the boot of Maeve Sinnott. Both sides traded points before the games opening goal came via Niamh Rice to level matters. The game was played at a high tempo and no sooner was the green flag raised at one end of the pitch, the umpires at the other end were following suit as the goals rained in with six more coming before the break, leaving the half-time score: Wexford 4-4 Louth 3-2.

Rice pointed from a free on the resumption of the second half, but Wexford were gaining the upper hand with points from Sophie Boxwell and Maeve Sinnott. The Slaneysiders’ fifth goal came after they were awarded a free and captain Rossiter going for the point, couldn’t believe her luck as she saw her shot drop short to dip under the crossbar deceiving everyone on the goal line. That goal spurred Louth into life responding with a trio of white flags, two from Rice and one from Lee Lawlor, although had the latter’s shot been just a fraction lower, it would have taken the net off the stanchions such was the power in her effort. Louth now were gaining in confidence with Rice leading the assault. Louth’s efforts were rewarded when Rice was fouled and a penalty awarded. After some treatment, Rice stepped up and finished to the net. 

A point from Wexford’s Ailis Neville and some long treatment to a Wexford player didn’t deter the Louth attack as points from Rice and Roisin Crowe left just three between the sides.

Ailis Neville seemed to have put the icing on the cake for Wexford as she grabbed another brace of scores scoring 1-1 to leave the gap at seven points, but Louth showed remarkable resilience and cancelled that out with Rice securing her fourth goal, scoring 1-1 making the final moments of the game very nervy for Wexford. An audible sigh of relief was heard for Wexford on the final whistle as they secured a three-point victory.

Speaking afterwards, Louth manager Chris Doyle said:

We started slowly and missed some early chances, and again at the end of the half. We were unfortunate to concede two goals in the second half, which left us  nine points in arrears at one stage, but with the help of a number of subs we got right back into it and got within three points of them but unfortunately the clock beat us. 

I feel if we had a little bit more time we could have forced extra-time, but it wasn’t to be. We had many fine performers today, but Niamh Rice to score 4-7 in a Leinster final is sensational.

It has been a very good campaign and I am very proud of every member of the panel. I have been with this group of players for nearly seven years and we’ve had some wonderful times.

The players have been a credit to themselves, their families and clubs over this time. I would also like to acknowledge the help and support given to me over this time by the Louth Co. Board, my colleagues, John Carr and Lisa Duffy, and also Gerry Smith, who came aboard for this campaign.

Wexford: Aoife Dunne; Mairead Crean, Grace Clooney, Geri Rose O’Connor; Ciara Banville, Susan Boyle, Lisa Kelly; Juliet Rochford, Rachel Power; Sophie Boxwell (0-3), Maeve Sinnott (0-3), Ailis Neville (1-2); Ciara Roban (1-0), Jane Rossiter (3-1), Ciara Banville (1-0)
Subs: Maria Sutton, Josephine Gahan, Ciara Bridges, Libby Whelan, Ellen Berry, Lorna Fortune, Aoife Bridges, Grainne White, Shauna Nolan, Niamh McHugh, Eimear O’Hagan, Ciara Murphy, Orla Fitzgerald, Sherene Hamilton.
Subs introduced: Shauna Nolan for Banville, Ciara Bridges for Power, Aoife Bridges for Crean.

Louth: Emma McDonald; Meabh Hickey, Holly Lambe-Sally, Katie McCarole; Ava Kiernan, Katie Matthews, Leah Hoey; Grace Treanor, Katelyn Quinn; Kodie McEneaney, Sarah Morgan, Cara McKeever; Roisin Crowe (1-1), Niamh Rice (4-7, 0-3 frees & 1-0 pen), Lee Lawlor (0-1)
Subs: Eimear McEntegart, Jade Connor, Aoife McDaid, Kellie O’Donoghue, Lana Devine, Ellen Carolan, Ciara Quinn, Anna Murphy, Katie Jennings, Sarah McArdle, Emma Rodgers, Rebecca Mooney, Roisin McDaid, Kayla Byrne, Kayleigh Everett
Subs introduced: Ellen Carolan for McEneaney, Lana Devine for McKeever, Ciara Quinn for Katelyn Quinn, Aoife McDaid for Matthews, Anna Murphy for Morgan.

Referee: Finbarr Shanahan (Dublin)

Report by Dónal Fitzpatrick/Dermot Woods