Valentine gift for Wanderers in Junior ‘E’ C’ship title match

By Daire Walsh

DANIELLE Valentine struck a goal deep into second-half stoppage-time at Blunden Drive to clinch Wanderers a dramatic 2-8 to 2-7 triumph in the Dublin Junior ‘E’ Ladies Football Championship Final, writes Daire Walsh.

Their opponents, Templeogue Synge Street, looked set to prevail when Lucy O’Donovan's 1-1 salvo helped them to establish a two-point buffer in the dying moments.

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Wanderers players and supporters celebrate their victory in the Dublin Junior ‘E’ decider

 

However, Valentine’s second major ultimately swung the game in Wanderers’ favour.

Initially, it was Gerry Whelan’s Wanderers who had the measure of their opponents.

 

The excellent Caroline Conway kicked a point at the end of a blistering run and Emma Murphy’s free doubled their advantage in the fifth-minute.

Templeogue eventually settled with a pointed free from the influential Sophie Quinn, but Wanderers continued to prosper in attack. TSS netminder Roisin O’Reilly produced an excellent double save out of Mary Gaynor, only for Conway to add her second point under intense pressure.

Gaynor was turning into a potent threat for the Frank Kelly Park outfit, and she raised white flags either side of another point courtesy of Conway. This increased their lead to five points (0-6 to 0-1) on the stroke of 20 minutes.

Yet, just when it all looked to be going according to plan, Templeogue came storming into the contest.

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Templeogue Synge Street played their part in a thrilling Junior ‘E’ Championship title match

 

A lot of their approach play had been quite impressive in the first-quarter and once they got on top of possession around the middle-third, it paid dividends on the scoreboard.

O’Donovan’s first point of the night got them up and running and she subsequently turned creator for Quinn’s goal on 26 minutes. After being released by her attacking partner, she fired a shot through the fingertips of Nicola Doran.

Templeogue’s challenge had suddenly come to life and they wiped out the Wanderers cushion with an outstanding Rachel Dunne point. An injury to Wanderers centre-forward Maria Redmond held up play towards the end of the half, but when the game resumed, an O’Donovan free meant Templeogue were a point to the good - 1-4 to 0-6 - at the interval.

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Redmond was replaced by Danielle Cassidy for the start of the second period and, in her absence, Wanderers fell further adrift. O’Donovan was turning into a reliable source for scores and her third point boosted Templeogue’s prospects three minutes after the restart.

Wanderers very much remained in the reckoning and Murphy converted a free at a distance of 25 metres to cut the gap to the bare minimum. Her effort was matched at the opposite end by O’Donovan and moving into the final-quarter, Quinn rattled the bottom of the Wanderers posts at a tight right-hand angle.

Doran turned away another strike from the forward and having survived this scare, they turned the tables on Barry Quinn’s side at the opposite end.

Conway was once again the instigator for the latest foray into the TSS ’45’ and after linking up to good effect with Cassidy, it was left for Valentine to clinically find the bottom right-hand corner.

Wanderers suddenly found themselves within touching distance of the title again and Murphy’s third successful free soon followed. The tension was significantly ramped up as the final whistle approached and a resilient Templeogue displayed their mettle with a second goal on 55 minutes.

Quinn burst forward into enemy territory and laid off for O’Donovan to smash home in emphatic style. TSS suddenly had victory in their sights once more and when O’Donovan claimed a point two minutes into time added on, it seemed like it might be enough to get them through.

Wanderers and Valentine had other ideas, though - the elusive inside forward finding room inside to plant a precise effort into the back of the net.

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