New York’s hopes of All-Ireland glory were dashed on Sunday by a Wicklow side that finally put paid to the Big Apple’s drive for success.
The excellent Wicklow was too strong for a battling New York team that gave their all as they looked to bring an All-Ireland title across the pond for the first time ever.
Second half goals from Méadbh Deeney and Lucy Mulhall secured the victory for Wicklow, but the displays of Alison Leyden, Cathriona Brady, who for the second day in a row was outstanding, Molly O’Rourke and the rest of the panel who crossed the Atlantic six times in recent weeks will be talked of for years to come.
The game hung in the balance at the break with just two points between the sides. Thirteen wides over the hour didn’t help the New York cause either, but they will agree that Wicklow were more than deserving of their win with an all around team display.
Wicklow captured a first All-Ireland crown since the 1990 victory over London.
New York won the throw-in and had the lead for the only time in the game when O’Rourke kicked over after Brady had a lovely ball into Kelly Roche who then worked with Emma Clarke to set O’Rourke up.
Wicklow replied with five points in the next 10 minutes, with Mulhall already making her presence felt with two of those scores.
Clarke did have a free that dropped under the crossbar and ricocheted off the keeper and corner back before bouncing off the right post and being cleared to safety.
Wides by New York, four in total in the first 15 minutes, also hurt their cause. Linda McKeon had one after a breathtaking 50 yard solo run that deserved a possible a free at the end.
New York did have their best period of the game in the closing 10 minutes of the first half. They scored three of four points, with Clarke annexing all by the way of frees.
Niamh Carroll had the Wicklow point, but it could have been more as it screamed over the bar. It left the sides sitting at 0-6 to 0-4 for Wicklow at the break.
O’Rourke added to New York’s total with a point within 30 seconds of the restart as the visitors again won the throw in.
Wicklow started to put extreme pressure on the New York defense, though, and it was rewarded when Aine Doran was fouled for a penalty and Clare Deeney slotted low to the right just beyond the outstretched fingertips of Leydon.
They added two further points but were reduced to 14 players for a 10 minute period when full-back Catríona Byrne, who was unable to resume due to injury, was sin binned with almost nine minutes gone.
New York had a dominant period in the final five of the 10 minute sin bin, but five wides hurt them tremendously.
Mary O’Rourke blasted wide after 16 minutes when she looked at the left side of the goal with a brilliant chance after Rosie O’Reilly Broderick and Clarke set her through. This was followed within a minute by a penalty chance after Linda McKeon was fouled.
Clarke’s low shot to the right was pushed to safety by Miley in the Wicklow goal, who shortly after denied Linda McKeon with another save to her left.
New York continued to press, with Maebh DeBurca and Molly O’Rourke adding points to leave four points between the sides, 1-8 to 0-7 and eight minutes on the clock.
The game was decided with five minutes left when Mulhall clinched the title and the player of the game award by collecting a magnificent long pass from substitute Laurie Ahern and finishing clinically into the bottom corner of the net at the Hill 16 end of Croke Park.
While Michelle Brennan had a New York point before the end, Wicklow tacked on a further brace to run out eight points winners.
New York captain Mary O'Rourke led by example with three points from play. Alison Leydon did well under intense pressure. Cathriona Brady was outstanding, while Imelda Mullarkey also had some positive moments at the back.
Linda McKeon had some good runs up the middle, while Maebh DeBurca and Kelly Roche, who was surprisingly taken off, also fared well.
Rosie O’Reilly Broderick and Michelle Brennan had the desired effect off the bench, but Emma Clarke was restricted to three points from frees.
Deeney and Mulhall, who saw an early goal chance saved by Alison Leyden, led the attacking charge for Wicklow, while corner forward Niamh Carroll also impressed with three points from play.
New York: 1 Alison Leyden, 2 Louise Lilly, 3 Tracey Ann McCullough, 4 Jesse Garcia, 5 Caroline McBrien, 6 Cathriona Brady, 7 Joanne Monaghan, 8 Linda McKeon, 9 Áine O'Dwyer, 10 Molly O'Rourke (0-3), 11 Kelly Roche, 12 Courtney Traynor, 13 Emma Clarke (0-3), 14 Imelda Mullarkey, 15 Maebh De Búrca (0-1). Subs: Michelle Brennan (0-1) for Roche (39), Rosie O'Reilly Broderick for Traynor (44), Clare McElroy for Lilly (55), Michelle McVann for McBrien (57), Mary O'Rourke for Mullarkey (58).
Wicklow: 1 E. Miley; 2 J. Miley, 3 C. Byrne, 4 A. Heffernan; 5 L. Fusciardi, 6 C. McKeon, 7 N. Kelly; 8 J. Kinch, 9 L. Gilbert; 10 A. Doran, 11 C. Deeney (0-1), 12 M. Deeney (1-2 goal from pen); 13 L. Hogan, 14 L. Mulhall (1-3), 15 N. Carroll (0-3). Subs: S. Miley (0-1) for Kelly (half), A. Ní hAnnaidh for Byrne (47), L Ahern for Hogan (50), C. Walsh for J. Miley (57), G. Norton for Doran (57).
Player of the match: Lucy Mulhall (Wicklow), Cathriona Brady (New York).
Referee: M. Doherty (Wexford).