By Ger McCarthy
Wicklow overcame a gallant Clare to win a pulsating All-Ireland LGFA U14 Bronze Championship final after extra-time at McDonagh Park in Nenagh on Saturday afternoon.
The Leinster county claimed their first U14 LGFA national success since 1991 after a terrific battle with Clare.
Wicklow struck first as Rose Donohoe’s long-range attempt found the net after two minutes. Abbie Cushen replied prior to Jessica Kennedy making it a one-point game.
Another Byrne free edged her side in front before Clare’s Abbie Cushen fired into the net and Kate Conlon raised a second green flag. Clare changed ends leading by 2-4 to 1-3.
The second half exploded into life with Wicklow’s Allanah Murphy flicking the ball into the net. A rampant Wicklow moved 2-6 to 2-5 ahead when Donohoe and Shannon found their range.
Another Collins point levelled matters for a third time with 10 minutes remaining. In a rip-roaring finale, Danielle Shannon and Sheena Beirne (Clare) each scored to make it 2-7 apiece and necessitate extra-time.
Danielle Shannon goaled immediately after the second restart only for Clare’s Katie Conlon to do likewise within two minutes. Brooke Byrne netted a third goal in as many minutes and Wicklow led 4-7 to 3-8 at the final break after Sophie Murray saved Abbie Cushen’s penalty.
Wicklow found another gear late on. Brooke Byrne (free), Danielle Shannon and Lena Gleeson scored to cement a memorable Wicklow victory.
Scorers for Wicklow: B Byrne (4f) and D Shannon (1f) 1-4 each, R Donohoe 1-1, A Murphy 1-0, L Gleeson 0-1.
Clare: K Conlon 2-0, A Cushen 1-2 (1f), A Collins 0-3, S Beirne 0-2, J Kennedy 0-1.
WICKLOW: S Murray; L Byrne, A Ryle, C Sheridan; H Flynn, N Winterbotham, D Shannon (captain); T Sterritt, I Parker; R Donohoe, P Tyner, M Carey; A Murphy; Z Byrne, B Byrne. Subs used: E Kirwan, S Byrne, L Gregan, E Lawless, L Fadian, M Corrigan, E Lalor, I O’Farrell, G Finnegan, K O’Brien, L Mellon, N Ni Chonchuir, L Gleeson, S Donohoe, H Flanagan, K Fleming, L Byrne, C Gregan, R Hughes, E Wylie.
CLARE: M Browne; A Roche, A Ring (co-captain), C O’Kane; K O’Shea, O McGee, A Keane; N Talty (co-captain), E Healy; J Kennedy, A Ryan, M Treacy; A Cushen, S Beirne, K Conlon. Subs used: E Tubridy, A O’Keefe, A Fitzgerald, A Carey, A Cleary, A Collins, A Finnerman, A Robertson, E Kelly, F O’Malley, L Scanlan, M Lynch, RA Liddane, S Murtagh, S Robertson.
Referee: Aaron Clogher (Roscommon).
Photo Credit: Sportsfile