Offaly Finish With Flourish To Deny Waterford
Thursday, 16 March 2017
GOALS win games is the old cliché and that was certainly the case for the Offaly minor camogie team. Even a late comeback from the Deise wasn't enough to steal a win last Saturday afternoon as Offaly eventually prevailed to register their first win of the Minor All-Ireland A Championship.
Playing with a slight breeze on their backs, Offaly really dominated the game from the throw in. Sharpshooter Sarah Harding was in spectacular form popping over a number of frees in the opening ten minutes. Offaly were switching the play intelligently, mixing it up with diagonal balls left and right into the forward line, and the movement inside was causing the Waterford defence all sorts of bother.
Offaly's defence was rarely tested in the first half and this was testament to the pressure applied in the opposition half. Alana Roddy anchored a tough defence and was ably assisted by Trudy Feenane, Amy Byrne, Alana Roddy, Eadaoin Kilmartin and Helen Healy. The Offaly defence held firm for the majority of the first half, pushing Waterford back and forcing them to shoot from afar.
The tenacity of Louise Mannion earned Offaly three frees before sending her own score over the bar. Eventually the visitors came to form as Annie Fitzgerald hit two points back to narrow make it 0-5 to 0-2 at fifteen minutes.
With no wind or rain to deal with, this game provided end to end entertainment in a high scoring affair for this time of year. These points were quickly cancelled when a long range strike from the stick of Ciara Brennan deceived the Waterford keeper and bounced over the goal line from midfield. Waterford hit a purple patch mid-way through the half with placed balls from Kaiesha Tobin and a point from Margaret Anne Boland cutting the Faithful's margin to three.
Two more scores from Sarah Guinan and Sarah Harding edged Offaly further ahead as the half time whistle blew with a five point advantage for the home team. Offaly 1-7 Waterford 0-6.
Waterford started the second half with intent with points from Shauna Fitzgerald and Kate Lynch in a bid to cut the Offaly lead. Two Sarah Harding frees kept Offaly ahead as the Deise struggled to cancel Ciara Brennan's goal. It was a real battle of the free takers in the second half as Kaiesha Tobin sent three placed balls over Waterford continued to take their points slowly eating away Offaly's lead.
Running attacks from Kaiesha Tobin and Annie Fitzgerald forced Offaly into submission and Aoibhe Whelahan was forced to foul. Referee Eoin Cassidy handed Whelahan a yellow and awarded Waterford a penalty. This penalty was stopped and cleared and a quick turnover saw Louise Mannion strike her second point.
Minutes later Offaly were reduced to fourteen players as Whelahan was given her marching orders after pulling down Shauna Fitzgerald as Waterford piled on the pressure hunting for goals. A second penalty was taken again stopped on the line and cleared. With fifteen minutes to go Offaly looked under pressure. A goal and two points from Tobin put Waterford in the driving seat. However, the Faithful regained their composure in the final minutes to once again pull away from Waterford.
A great series of play saw midfielder Kaitlyn Kennedy blast the ball to the right of Waterford keeper Ciara Jackman and put an end to a Waterford comeback. Player of the match Harding then converted a '45 and was involved in a goalmouth scramble to give Offaly a comfortable five point win over Waterford.
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