Tinahely and St Patrick’s will go at it again in a repeat of the 2017 Ladies senior championship final on the fourth Saturday of September. Tinahely, of course, are going for four-in-a-row and as a spectator throughout this year’s championship, it’s very hard to look past the red and white who have been outstanding throughout 2018.
Tinahely are coming into the final as favourites with a league title already in the back pocket but the young guns of Wicklow town will undoubtedly want to spoil the celebrations.
Last year’s final saw Tinahely come out on top with by 2-9 to 0-11 after a strong rally throughout. With 15 minutes left, Aoife O’Gorman came out of the sin bin and motored up the pitch to score a goal, which was the tipping point for the tinbox ladies. Pats fought hard over the 60 minutes and would have been deserving winners if they had gone the whole way.
Both sides are bursting with talent and have an excellent mixture of veterans and new kids on block, one being St Patricks’ speedy corner forward Saoirse O’Reilly who shone on her debut year with the Wicklow Ladies. Then there’s experienced leaders like goalkeeper Jennifer Lyons – a smart player between the posts – sharp shooter Sarah Delahunt who can score from long range and the hard grafting Niamh McGettigan who doesn’t mind showing her team mates how to work hard.
You can’t ignore the fact that Tinahely aren’t short of talent either with a handful of household names throughout the panel. The two Hogans pose serious threat at either end of the pitch – Sarah will stop attackers whilst Laura at the other end will no doubt continue the form we have seen all year. Ciara Byrne had two excellent displays from corner forward in the league final and the championship semi-final. And it’s hard not to mention Jackie Kinch, who doesn’t need an introduction – I’m sure she’ll put on a display of fielding and smart decision making.
“We take nothing for granted,” the Tinahely management told a young Bray side after the semi-final. These Girls are at the top of their game but they are fully aware that this winning streak can come to an end and a hungry St Patrick’s team are standing in the way of four-in-a-row.
These two teams have been the top teams in Wicklow for several years and as a player who has played with and against a lot of girls on both sides, I have admired the standard that has been kept up year after year and the hard work that goes into continuing to play at this level.
I, for one, am looking forward to seeing this rivalry play out once again on the biggest day of the year in our club championship season.
And with that, whoever gets over the line will most definitely be serous contenders in the Leinster club championship.