The Wicklow Ladies Football Team was well represented with 7 players selected on the TG4 Ladies Junior Football Team of the Year. Unfortunately our ladies were just pipped in the All Ireland Final but the excellent displays on the way to the final were recognised with Wicklow providing the most players with 7 while Fermanagh provided 5, Limerick 2 and Antrim 1. Fermanagh’s Eimear Smyth was awarded the Player of the Year and also was the championship top scorer.
Our Wicklow Ladies All Stars:
Emily Mulhall (Tinahely) – Right Corner Back
Tough, Tenacious and as consistent as rain in Ireland. The Tinahely Star has been a mainstay of the ladies team and has stifled many of the best attackers in the country for both club and county and never has a bad game. Emily bagged a senior club title, as well as helping her club to a Leinster club final and helping Wicklow to an All Ireland final..
Sarah Jane Winders (Baltinglass) – Full Back
In the form of her life in 2020, Sarah Jane was stellar throughout the championship campaign and the Baltinglass full back was the rock at the heart of the Wicklow defence. Her displays in 2020 would have put her very much in the mix for the Player of The Year frame and 2021 might just be the year as her already exceptional standard from previous years has only got better as each year she ups her level and is a marquee defender on a national scale.
Alanna Conroy (Bray Emmets) – Right Half Back
The Bray Emmets star was exceptional for club and county in 2020 and pulled off one of the best dispossessions of an attacking player seen in any grade. Guided her club to Intermediate glory and was a key player in Wicklow’s All Ireland run, with her versatility to play in numerous roles a real testament to Alanna’s ability. Her ability on the ball was pivotal in Wicklow’s transition from defence to attack and another exciting year awaits in 2021.
Aoife Gorman (Tinahely) – Midfield
If there’s a more promising player to take the field when action resumes in 2021 then we haven’t heard of them. Tinahely’s Aoife Gorman was the driving force behind Wicklow and Tinahely’s impressive runs in 2020 with her marauding runs terrorising every team she faced and her ability to powerfully carry ball directly into opposition defences is a huge addition to the Wicklow and Tinahely causes and the young star has a very bright future ahead.
Laura Hogan (Tinahely) – Centre Forward
Like a fine wine that only gets better with age, Laura Hogan has been a sensation for club and county for the last decade and the better news is that she’s still only at the halfway point in her career. If Inter County Managers were told they could choose one player from another county to add to their attack then Laura’s phone would be overheating with the incoming calls. She captained the team to an All Ireland Final and bagged another senior club title while also firing her Tinahely side to the yet unplayed Leinster Club Final. Oh and if that’s not impressive enough she was also the Senior Club Football Championship Top Scorer in 2020.
Meadhbh Deeney (Thomas Davis) – Full Forward
You can bet your last cent that the name Meadhbh Deeney was oh so close to being the name on Player Of The Year Award as the Greystones lady was majestic in the 2020 championship with her wand like foot firing so many of Wicklows scores and has arguably the best strike of a placed ball from the turf in the Ladies Game. What is even more impressive about Meadhbh is her extreme resillience after an accident while mountain biking in May of 2020 left her with extremely serious injuries that led to her being only cleared to pay a week before the championship so to put up the performances to the level she did was superhuman. Just imagine the torment that awaits opposition defences in 2021 with a fully prepared Meadhbh heading their direction.
Marie Kealy (Baltinglass) – Left Corner Forward
D.N.A evidence can prove lots of things but if you were to check the D.N.A of Marie Kealy you will find that football excellence is hereditary as she comes from a family that provided the famous Kenny footballers that backboned the Baltinglass and Wicklow team of the 90’s and Marie is well on her way to eclipsing the outstanding careers of her famous uncles. Goals win games they say and so does Marie Kealy as she has one goal in mind when she gets possession of the ball and that is goal. An absolute joy to watch and it took amazing heroics at the death from the Fermanagh Keeper Shauna Murphy in the All Ireland Final to deny a Kealy rasper. In her words “We bury Teams” and that’s the mentality of a winner so expect Marie to bury plenty more in 2021.
Congratulations to all the recipients of the Awards for Team of the Year and hopefully we can look forward to more awards in 2021.