Wicklow Ladies Football Manager James Kelly has named a strong starting 15 for Sunday’s TG4 Ladies Leinster Intermediate Football Semi Final Clash with Division 3 League Champions Meath in Navan.
Wicklow will go into this game with a point to prove after escaping with a narrow two point win in the quarter final against Offaly in Aughrim thanks to a late Marie Kealy goal and face a Meath side who have been in devastating form continuing where they left off in their victorious league campaign with a big win over last year’s Leinster winners Laois who Wicklow faced in last year’s Leinster decider. A very impressive league campaign for Wicklow just fell agonizingly short in the final game against Longford in a campaign where Meath got the better of us in Navan but only pulled away in the second half.
Meath’s current form would have them as heavy favourites but this Wicklow team do not fear Meath and why should they after turning Meath over in last year’s Championship in Roundwood and they will go into this game content to be giving the underdogs tag. James Kelly’s charges showed they are a match for any side in Division 3 on their day in their first year promoted and with such a strong panel at James Kelly’s disposal, Meath will be in for no easy ride. Their attack is spearheaded by the leagues top scorer Stacey Grimes while they have Monica McGuirk who was named as the Team Of The Leagues Goalie but with Laura Hogan and co she will be hopefully made prove her credentials while we have one of the greatest Keepers in any side across the country in Kim Connors who will be in no humour to let any Meath forward dirty her sheet.
The Wicklow Starting 15 sees 6 players from current Senior Football Champions Tinahely while Runners up, St Pats have two as do Foxrock/Cabinteely and An Tochar, Eire Og, Baltinglass, Bray Emmets and Blessington are all represented.
Blessington’s Kim Connors needs no introduction and has been a thorn in so many opposing sides while the Sarah Jane Winders, Sarah Hogan and Aoife Gillen are more than capable of curtailing a potent Meath attack. Lorna Fusciardi was named in the league team of the year and she brings a wealth of experience while anchoring the defence is the brilliant young Tinahely Star Aimee Maher who has shown she has the capability of being a huge talent for Wicklow in the coming years and what better Wingwoman to have beside her than clubmate and star defender Emily Mulhall. The engine room of this team is provided by two of the talented towering terrors in Wicklow Football, Tinahely’s Aoife Gorman and St Pats Sarah Delahunt. These ladies get through a mountain of work and both know where the posts are so they will be more than a match for any Meath Midfield Mary. The French gave us the best way of describing Wicklow’s half forward line with “Ooh La La”. In Jackie Kinch we have easily one of the most versatile players in Ladies Football as she is strong, accurate, skillful and a brilliant fielder of the ball and she is also by all accounts extremely sound so she must be shit at something but we have yet to discover what that is. The turnout for the Ellen Kinch 7’s day was testament to how highly regarded Jackie is within Ladies Football circles and we are lucky to have her in our ranks and her partner in crime Laurie Ahern is another ace in our pack. The Lionel Messi of Wicklow Ladies Football, Laurie is slick, so slick in fact she’s five times slicker than snot, four times slicker than snot on a door knob, three times slicker than owl shit, and twice as slick as greased owl shit, if you don’t get what we are saying basically Laurie’s Got Skills! Just when you thought it couldn’t get any slicker we have Meadhbh in the mix, we are fully convinced the Eire Og maestro has Cinderella’s glass slipper and she puts it on when she kicks those frees. Meadhbh Speed is something unique that has had huge benefits to Wicklow as Meadhbh may look like she’s moving at a slow and steady pace but for every three strides those of us born stumpy take, Meadhbh needs just one as her long legs and accurate boot have served Wicklow so well over the years. The inside line is like the starting line of the Women’s Olympic 100m Race as this is where our three speed merchants will be giving Meath defenders nightmares. Amy Murphy has been a long time star of this Wicklow team and if she finds even half her form from her club campaign she will be an extreme thorn in the Royals side. Laura Hogan is our ace and has been not only one of the deadliest forwards in Wicklow but nationally as well, racking up monster totals from play and placed balls with her free taking routine is Laurie slick! The last but by no means least attacking threat is St Pats Clodagh Fox. The Liverpool supporting speedster is as lethal as the attacking threat of her favourite team and if she gets a one on one with any Meath defender on Sunday god help them.
The key however for Wicklow is the strength in depth that we possess and that was very evident in the Quarter Final as Marie Kealy was sprung from the bench and came up with the match winning goal👌 Captain Niamh Mcgettigan is another who has been through the wars on the injury front along with Jessie Nolan Byrne who was injured in the earlier clash with Offaly and the list of talent is endless that can be called on. Players like Sarah Miley, Georgina Canavan and Aine Byrne are seasoned campaigners and bring huge experience while newer panel members like Megan Dunne, Erin Horan, Tara Costello, Kate Hennessy, Anna McGrath, Annemarie Keegan and Evelyn Deans are all hugely exciting prospects.
Wicklow will need to be in top gear against a Meath side who have been conquering all before them but Wicklow are the team that has halted their charge in the past and with a big support and a bit of luck we will have Wicklow booking their spot in a Leinster Final💪💙💛