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All-Ireland hero Ger Brennan en route to New York City


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New York 0-9 Wicklow 0-9

With two minutes left in a riveting contest, New York was holding a slim one point lead in the All-Ireland junior final last Sunday.

With breaths being held on this side of the Atlantic in front of TV and computer screens, and in Croke Park shouting for Phil Sheridan’s side, substitute Laura Hogan salvaged a replay for Wicklow with a late equalizer.

New York had produced a brilliant display, in particular the back line who held up to tremendous pressure with a number of players having brilliant outings.

Emma Clarke was the scorer-in-chief at the other end of the field as she scored 0-8 from frees and play to lead the Big Apple, almost to the promised land.

The sides will need to do it all again, with October 8 a tentative date for the replay. The ideal circumstances would be to have the game in New York, but no word yet on the possibility of that becoming a reality.

New York opened the scoring with an Clarke point in the first minute. What was to be the theme of the day, however, was for the sides to be level, something that happened on no less than seven occasions.

Wicklow replied with a brace of scores, but Clarke did the same to give New York a 0-3 to 0-2 lead after 12 minutes.

New York was already showing their defensive prowess with timely interceptions by Joanne Monaghan, Tracy McCullough and Cathriona Brady. They were giving the forward line early ball, with the kick pass working particularly well.

Three wides from frees and play kept Wicklow in the game, however, and they put three points back to back to again grab the lead. Lucy Mulhall was showing her talents and would go on to have a very productive hour.

As the half came to a close New York regained parity when Courtney Traynor was fouled twice after good runs with Clarke able to fire the ball over from the resulting frees. It left the sides all square at 0-5 at the break.

Hogan and Mulhall kicked early second half points for Wicklow as they regained the initiative but New York, appearing in their first All-Ireland final since 1999, came roaring back with points from Mary O'Rourke and Clarke.

New York were defending doggedly, and corner back Imelda Mullarkey put her body on the line in the 10th minute of the second half , blocking Niamh Carroll's goal-bound effort with her face.

The sides swapped points in the 15th and 17th minutes with Mulhall and Clarke the scorers.

Clarke then converted a 50th minute free after Wicklow wing back Lorna Fusciardi was harshly penalized. The longest 10 minutes continued and Wicklow had numerous chances to get a result.

They had three wides before there was a late twist in the tale as Hogan, who also registered two second half wides, held her nerve to slot over the leveler from 20 meters out with two minutes left.

They did have a final free that could have given them the win, but it was from an awkward angle with a draw also being a very fair result.

New York had numerous stars. Alison Leydon was very assured under a number of dropping balls and always found a defender with her outlet passes. Imelda Mullarkey was brilliant. Not only her block with her face but throughout the hour. Her ball carrying and defensive play was outstanding.

Tracy Ann McCullough did well against a very tough opponent in Mulhall, while Joanne Monaghan (first half) and Cathriona Brady also were prominent.

Molly O’Rourke did a lot of foraging looking for ball, while Courtney Traynor was fouled for a number of scores and was very confident in the big arena.

Maeve DeBurca also had some very good runs while covering a lot of ground.  The side had an eight-point haul from Emma Clarke, who stunned Wexford in the semifinal with seven points. An all-star season for the forward.

For Wicklow, Lucy Mulhall was the star turn at full-forward with five points from play but the Garden County, appearing in a first All-Ireland final since 1990, were left to rue a tally of five second half wides.

New York: Alison Leyden; Louise Lilly, Tracy Ann McCullough, Imelda Mullarkey; Jesse Garcia, Cathriona Brady, Joanne Monaghan; Linda McKeon, Aine O'Dwyer; Molly O'Rourke (0-1), Kelly Roche, Courtney Traynor; Emma Clarke (0-8, 6 frees), Caroline McBrien, Maeve De Búrca. Subs: Mary O'Rourke for Roche (33), Katrina Lynch for McBrien (52), Michelle Brennan for McKeon (55).

Player of the game: Emma Clarke (New York)
Referee: Y. Duffy (Cavan). 



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