A fantastic second-half display in Portarlington saw Louth Ladies book their place in the Lidl National Ladies League Division Four final as Micheál McKeown’s side overcame Limerick by nine points on Sunday afternoon.
The Wee County went into the break one point adrift but they turned it on in the second-half, hitting 1–10 and limiting the Shannonsiders to just four further scores to set up a showdown with Wicklow in the decider on Bank Holiday Monday, May 7th.
McKeown’s primary objective at the start of the season was to book a place in the league final and the Channonrock man has seen his team deliver that. Mission accomplished, maybe, but silverware is now in Louth’s sights and this squad of talented players will be determined to take the trophy home.
They can take great confidence from their performance at McCann Park. Playing against the elements in the first-half, Louth found themselves three points down with just 10 minutes played as an early brace from Caoimhe Clancy was followed up by Cathy Mee’s effort to put Limerick in charge.
St Kevin’s duo Susan Byrne and Paula Murray both registered early wides but Louth found their range with Kate Flood getting them off the mark in the 11th minute before Lauren Boyle, making her return to the starting XV, followed suit.
Clancy’s third of the afternoon from open play put Limerick 0–4 to 0–2 ahead but Louth pulled level with Murray and Flood scoring within three minutes of each other.
Quickfire efforts from Catriona Davis and Clancy put Louth on the back foot again but the Reds went in at the break happy with their display. Flood left them just one behind, 0–6 to 0–5, safe in the knowledge that the wind would be at their backs after the restart.
Lauren Boyle drew the sides level again in the third minute of the second-half and Louth continued to create chance after chance, firing 34 attempts at goal, in contrast to Limerick’s 16.
Aoife Russell moved the Reds ahead for the first time in the game with 36 minutes played and although Davis made it all square again, Louth took a firm grip on proceedings with a three-minute purple patch which saw them hit 1–3 without reply.
Joint captains Murray and Flood led by example, the St Kevin’s forward getting the ball rolling with a fine score before Flood ran riot, adding a goal and two points to put Louth in the driving seat, 1–10 to 0–8 ahead with 16 minutes to play.
Limerick showed faint signs of life with Davis adding two more to her tally but they tired as the game entered the final stretch. McKeown utilised his panel wisely and further scores from Boyle, substitute Michelle McMahon, midfielder Rebecca Carr and Susan Byrne put the seal on a fantastic win.
LOUTH LADIES: Grainne Boyle; Emma Singleton, Rachel Kane, Shannen McLaughlin; Ceire Nolan, Deirbhile Osborne, Bronagh McGrane; Sinead Woods, Rebecca Carr (0–1); Paula Murray (0–2), Susan Byrne (0–1), Aoife Russell (0–1); Lauren Boyle (0–4, 2f), Kate Flood (1–5, 1f), Michelle McArdle. Subs: Michelle McMahon (0–1) for A Russell, 40 mins; Catherine McGlew for M McArdle, 44 mins; Coirin Rice for G Boyle, 56 mins; Eimear Murray for B McGrane, 59 mins; Eilis Hand for E Singleton, 59 mins.
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