Louth Ladies one win away from place in the semi-finals

Louth Ladies 3–13 Derry Ladies 1–11

Paula Murray was in fine form for Louth Ladies in their win over Derry. Picture: Ciaran Culligan

A scoring burst of of three goals and three points in a 10 minute period either side of half time proved enough for Louth to notch another win in Division Four of the LIDL National Ladies Football League.

The results maintains the Wee County’s hopes of a place in the league semi-finals after this victory over Derry in a very entertaining contest at the Dundalk Young Irelands GFC grounds on Saturday evening.

Derry came into the game having lost all of their five matches to date but they started much the better side and raced into an early 0–3 to 0–0 lead after just five minutes.

Three minutes later, Louth’s Paula Murray recorded the home side’s first score from a free following a foul on Aimee McNally.

This seemed to settle Louth down and further points from Murray and Susan Byrne had the sides level at 0–3 each midway through the half.

Susan Byrne, from a free, put the Reds ahead for the first time but Derry were soon back level courtesy of a superb point from Aoife Laverty.

Aimee McNally saw two attempts drift wide before Derry had two major slices of good fortune, first when Aoife Byrne got in behind the defence and hit a vicious shot which came back off the crossbar.

Then, a superb Ann Maree Murphy pass found Paula Murray in space but as the Derry keeper advanced the St Kevin’s attacker opted to lob the ball over the netminder and saw her effort drift inches wide of the post.

Louth did, however, get the goal their good play merited on 26 minutes when Aimee McNally found space and shot low into the net.

The hosts added further points through the deadly duo of Murray and McNally giving them a four-point lead at the interval, 1–6 to 0–5.

Louth moved quickly into their stride on the resumption and an Ann Marie Murphy pass put Murray in on goal and the Kells native rifled home in style.

Midfielder Rebecca Carr then added a further point before Murray was denied a second goal by a foot block which earned Derry keeper Caitlin Doherty a yellow card.

Murray’s penalty went over the bar and the same player added another fine point after Aimee McNally had turned over possession to extend Louth’s lead to 2–9 to 0–5 after 35 minutes.

Emma Doherty gave Derry renewed hope with three converted frees before good Derry play put Rachel Walls in on goal and the Ballymaguigan star beat Alannah Finn with a sublime finish to cut the deficit to just five points, 2–10 to 1–8.

Doherty tacked on another point before Carr calmed Louth’s nerves with another excellent point after good work by Kathy Reilly.

Well taken scores by Danielle Kivelhan and Emma Doherty had the northern side back in the hunt at 2–11 to 1–11 by the 53rd minute of play.

The home side then sent on star forward Kate Flood and the St Patrick’s player marked her return from a serious facial injury with a delicious point on the run.

The spirited Derry resistance was finally ended when Ann Marie Murphy’s wonderful pass found Eimear Byrne and the young St Mochtas player found Aimee McNally who delayed her run and came off her shoulder at just the right time to smash the ball to the visitors net.

This win means that victory in their home game against Fermanagh on Sunday will Louth a place in the semi-finals.

LOUTH LADIES: Alannah Finn; Eimear Murray, Dearbhla O’Connor, Aoife Halligan; Kathy Reilly, Sara Moore, Roisin Kavanagh; Aoife Byrne, Rebecca Carr (0–2); Eimear Byrne, Sinead Woods, Paula Murray (1–7); Susan Byrne (0–2), Ann Marie Murphy, Aimee McNally (2–1). Subs: Kate Flood (0–1), Aoife Gregory, Catherine McGlew.

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