LADIES GAA | Louth cruise past Kilkenny but thoughts turn to health of McKeown

Leinster Ladies Junior Championship
Louth Ladies 5–31 Kilkenny 0–5

It was a stroll in the morning sunshine for Louth Ladies on Sunday as they put Kilkenny to the sword in their Leinster Junior Championship opener in Philipstown.

Playing their first game since the National League Division Four Final loss to Wicklow, the Reds produced a commanding display to book a place in the provincial decider against Carlow on July 3rd and take the first step towards a possible All Ireland final date at Croke Park.

Despite the absence of Micheal McKeown from the touchline, the Louth boss rushed to hospital on Sunday morning with a serious illness, the hosts sparkled in the first-half, hitting 2–14 and holding Kilkenny scoreless at the other end.

A total of seven players found their way onto the scoresheet in the opening half with Cooley’s Lauren Boyle scoring five points, two of them of the very highest standard.

Kate Flood, who got Louth off the mark after just two minutes, also raised the green flag on two occasions, her first goal coming from the penalty spot in the 12th minute after a fantastic break from the back by Shannen McLaughlin.

The Clan na Gael defender, along with Sinead Woods and Michelle McArdle, added her name to the scoresheet and Louth’s forward line continued to punch gaping holes in the Kilkenny defence with Boyle, Catherine McGlew and Aoife Russell all on target before Flood rifled home goal number two with a crisp left-footed effort.

To their credit, Kilkenny kept plugging away and the healthy crowd who enjoyed the beautiful sunshine at the home of St Kevin’s GFC were genuinely pleased to see the visitors get off the mark through an Ailis O’Shea free after two minutes of the second-half.

The Thomastowm midfielder added two more before the end but Louth kept reeling off the scores with the impressive Ceire Nolan setting up Boyle for another well-worked goal while Aoife Russell caught the eye with some excellent dribbling and finishing.

Louth’s fourth goal was made in Lordship; Flood’s pass picking out Aine Breen who made no mistake and Woods added a fifth shortly after with a sweetly struck effort from distance.

Kilkenny were glad to see the back of Boyle in the 45th minute, the Cooley ace going off with a tally of 1–7 to her name, but Louth finished with a flourish with Russell, Flood and McGlew all amongst the scorers.

The round robin format of the competition means that Louth will meet Carlow next week in a dress rehearsal for the Leinster final on July 3rd. Football, however, will be put on the back burner in the coming days with the health of McKeown a much more pressing concern.

May he make a full and speedy recovery.

LOUTH LADIES: Una Pearson; Eilis Hand, Rachel Kane, Shannen McLaughlin (0–1); Michelle McArdle (0–1), Ceire Nolan, Shauna Markey; Sinead Woods (1–1), Roisin Kavanagh; Aoife Russell (0–7), Kate Flood (2–7, 2f), Aine Breen (1–2); Lauren Boyle (1–7), Leanne Sharkey, Catherine McGlew (0–5). Subs: Orlagh McGeeney for L Sharkey, 36 mins; Coirin Rice For U Pearson, 45 mins; Alanna Conlon for L Boyle, 45 mins

KILKENNY: Niamh Sheehy; Ailbhe Galway, Ailish O’Neill, Lynn Beirne; Sarah Smith, Rebecca Brennan, Tina Wright; Caoilfhionn Ui Horgan, Ailish O’Shea (0–3, 2f); Jenny Reddy, Aoife Naddy, Niamh Ward; Aoife Dunne (0–1), Denise Love, Mary Beamish. Subs: Anna Boland, Frances Farrell, Ciara Coone, Ciara Coady, Eadaoin Doherty.

REFEREE: Finbarr Shanahan (Dublin).

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