A VERY determined Laois outfit arrived in Ratheniska on Sunday last for the third round of the national football league.
Suzuki Ladies National Football League Div.1
Scorers - Laois - Gemma O’ Connor (1-1), Eimear Fitzpatrick (1-0), Mary Kirwan (0-1)(free) Tracey Lawlor, Kay O’ Reilly, Martha Kirwan, 0-1 each.
Armagh – Marie O’ Donnell (1-1), Shauna O’ Hagan, Aileen Matthews (free), Sharon Duncan 0-1 each.
Amy O’ Callaghan Reports
The game began at a furious pace as the O’ Moore woman set about breaking down last years All Ireland finalists. The strong wind was a huge factor in the game sending many efforts off target. However the overall dominance of both defences was the predominant factor for the very low scoring.
It was at midfield that Laois gathered most possession thanks to the hard work of Tracey Lawlor and Anna Moore. Moore, making her senior debut had a fantastic day and was instrumental in setting up many of the Laois attacks and worked tirelessly in defence also.
It was the pace of the Laois forwards in the first few minutes that caused most of the problems for Armagh. Laois pressed forward from the throw in only to find the first effort just float wide. Gemma O’ Connor scored Laois opening point giving them the confidence they needed and a lead that they would not relinquish. The first goal of the game came in the fifth minute from Eimear Fitzpatrick who finished off a fantastic move involving Anna Moore who sent in a long ball into the space for Fitzpartick to run onto.
Armagh did not score until the 14th minute when their top scorer for the day Marie O’ Donnell kicked a point over followed by two bad misses from Aileen Matthews, one a close in free straight in front of the posts. Patricia Fogarty worked hard from the kick out and found Noirin Kirwan with a hand pass, Kirwan’s long ball up the field to Shona Barry resulted in Tracey Lawlor’s shot landing in the goalies hands only to be cleared by the Armagh full back Fiona Quinn.
The Laois full back line Of Laura Hyland, Noirin Kirwan and Emma Mc Evoy were impeccable sweeping across and cutting off any Armagh attacks, winning the fifty fifty balls and clearing cleverly downfield. Bernie Deegan dealt well with a tricky hopping ball and with 28 minutes gone in the first half Tracey Lawlor’s free went due to the strong wind leaving a goal separating the teams at half time with Laois leading 1-2 to 0-2.
Laois devastated Armagh right from the start and bombarded their goal for the first 5 minutes. Despite Armagh setting out on the first attack in the 32nd minute, they were dispossessed by Patricia Fogarty who found Kay O’ Reilly with her clearance. Kay gave a beautiful pass into Gemma O’ Connor and she set the tone for the rest of the game adding three points to her tally. Martha Kirwan struck immediately from the kick out with a point that had a real touch of class about it. At the opposite end Caroline O’ Hanlon hit the post from a free only to be mopped up by Kirwan who in her transformation to full back was outstanding for Laois. Armagh’s first score of the half came in the form of a goal. Their midfielder Almagh O’ Donnell did most of the hard work and laid of to Marie O’ Donnell whose shot was struck low into the bottom left corner giving Bernie Deegan no chance. Caroline O’ Hanlon was again involved in a threatening Armagh attack, the mid fielder this time soloing in nearly fifty metres before finding her full forward Shauna O’ Hagan. However Deegan was not to be beaten this time as she denied O’ Hagan a certain goal. O’ Hanlon’s free seconds later went wide showing the difference in the sides. Laois’s ability to score from so few chances pulled them ahead as Armagh couldn’t capitalise on their opportunities.
Shauna O’ Hagan redeemed herself with a point in the 50th minute and a free four minutes later from Aileen Matthews gave Armagh some hope of a draw however the better team won on the day as Laois’s dogged determination and hassling for the ball denied Armagh the possession they badly needed for any hope of a goal. Mary Kirwan’s free in the 58th minute gave Laois the safe four point lead as they counted down the minutes to the final whistle. Patricia Fogarty’s long rage effort went wide but it ate up valuable seconds and Angela Casey’s brave take on the Laois forty five ensured the last move of the game was her long relieving clearance into an empty Laois forward line to seal their first victory in their national league campaign.
Teams: Laois: Bernie Deegan, Emma Mc Evoy, Noirin Kirwan, Laura Hyland; Patricia Fogarty, Angela Casey, Aisling Quigley; Anna Moore, Tracey Lawlor; Martha Kirwan, Kathleen O’ Reilly, Shona Barry; Gemma O Connor, Mary Kirwan, Eimear Fitzpatrick. Subs; Charlotte Delaney for Fitzpatrick (44mins).
Armagh; Denise Hagan; Caoimh Marley, Fiona Quinn, Orlaigh Murtagh; Sinead Cleary, Bronagh O’ Donnell, Rhona O’ Mahony; Almagh O’ Donnell, Caroline O’ Hanlon; Mags Mc Alinden, Sharon Duncan, Mabh Mariarty; Marie O’ Donnell, Shauna O’ Hagan, Aileen Matthews.
Filed under: Laois Football