LADIES GAA | Louth Ladies beaten but remain hopeful of a semi-final place

Leinster Ladies IFC | Longford Ladies 3–9 Louth Ladies 1–7

Louth’s Michelle McArdle in action against Longford on Wednesday night

An injury-hit Louth Ladies side fell to an eight-point defeat against group favourites Longford in the second round of the TG4 Leinster Ladies Intermediate Championship in Kenagh on Tuesday night.

John O’Leary and Fergal McNally’s side paid the price for a lack of scores in the first-half. Longford went in 2–4 to 0–2 ahead at the break but the outcome may have been completely different had Louth taken one three goal chances afforded to them in the first half.

Despite the loss, Louth will still qualify for the semi-finals if Longford overcome Offaly in Sunday’s final group fixture by virtue of their victory over the Faithful County last weekend.

Missing a number of regulars due to exam and work commitments, the Wee County got off to the worst possible start as Anna McDonald burst through their defence for the game’s first goal after just 35 seconds.

Things almost got worse for Louth but just two minutes later the impressive Michelle Farrell fired inches wide of the post.

Louth settled to the task and were unlucky not to hit the net with two well-worked opportunities. First of all, Rebecca Carr did brilliantly to create an opening but saw her shot go narrowly wide before Eimear Byrne was denied by some desperate defending.

The visitors did get on the scoresheet in the ninth minute when Paula Murray shot over the bar but they suffered a major setback just moments later as influential midfielder Rebecca Carr had to retire with a leg injury.

L-R: Kate Flood and Aoife Byrne in action against Longford Ladies

Full forward Eimear Byrne then forced the home side’s goalkeeper into a smart save as Louth pushed hard but Longford reasserted themselves and took a firm grip on proceedings through points from Farrell (0–2) McCormack and a goal from Sarah Tierney.

Louth did record the last score of half as great work by the Byrne sisters, Aoife and Eimear, put Susan Byrne through on goal.

The St Kevin’s star did brilliantly to get past two defenders but fired over when a goal looked certain to leave Longford 2–4 to 0–2 ahead at the break.

Louth needed a good start to the second half but it was the Midlanders who grabbed an early goal within seconds of the restart as Sarah Tierney hit her second of the evening.

That goal put the tie beyond a visibly tiring Louth side, who were playing their second away match in three days, and Longford added three further points to extend their lead, 3–5 to 0–5 after 49 minutes.

Louth hit two points of their through Kate Flood, playing her last match with the Reds before she departs for America later this month.

Anna McDonald and Paula Murray exchanged points before Louth got the reward their gutsy performance deserved in the 56th minute. A Murray piledriver came back off the crossbar and Flood was on hand to palm the rebound to the net.

It proved to be a case of too little, too late as Longford held out for a comfortable win but Louth remain optimistic that their win over Offaly will be enough to secure their place in the latter stages.

LOUTH LADIES: Una Pearson (Dowdallshill); Michelle McArdle (Stabannon), Dearbhla O’Connor (St Mochtas), Ruth Hanna (St Brides); Abbi O’Connor (Geraldines), Sara Moore (St Fechins) Ciara O’Connor (Geraldines); Aoife Byrne (St Mochtas), Rebecca Carr (Geraldines); Paula Murray (St Keins) (0–3), Kate Flood (St Patrick’s) (1–2), Sinead Woods (Kilkerley); Catherine McGlew (St Fechins), Eimear Byrne (St Mochtas), Susan Byrne (St Kevins) (0–2). Subs: Aoife Halligan (Roche) for S Moore; Roisin Kavanagh (St Fechins) for R Carr; Kate Wynne (St Brides) for E Byrne; Grainne Murray (St Kevins) for M McArdle.

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