London v Louth, 12th August – big match preview


Louth travel to London this weekend safe in the knowledge that as result of convincing wins over Antrim and Kilkenny a place in the last four of the All-Ireland  Junior Championship has been secured with the hosts also  joining them after their impressive victory over Antrim recently.

In that game London started very  slowly and fell seven points behind inside the opening eight minutes but a strong comeback by the visitors saw them take a one point lead into the break.

Antrim were on top for most of the second half and It didn’t look good for Paddy Bowles’s team as they trailed by 5 points with less than ten minutes remaining. A Fiona Morrissey goal gave them renewed hope and a further four unanswered points ensured London were jubilant at the end winning on a 3.13 to 2.14 scoreline. Mayo native Lisa Cafferky was in sparkling form hitting 2.07. In a bid to curb her influence, Antrim moved their midfielder Jenny McCavana  back to keep tabs on the Parnell’s star but the corner forward continued to pose a constant threat.

With not being involved in league action the Antrim game would have been invaluable for the exiles. They now know where the bar is set and are not far off it. They have home advantage against Louth and Cafferky is a pivotal figure for them upfront and will be confident of making it three wins from as many outings and finishing the group stages with a 100% record

Antrim manager Paddy Bowles praised the resilience his charges showed in Belfast, “When a team has belief it usually always stands to them in challenging situations. There’s work still to be done but the important thing is the team learn from playing against physically stronger teams”. Bowles admitted he was relieved to get the victory  but was proud of his team after being given a stern test by an Antrim team who had to win to stay alive in the competition. “I knew this was going to be a tough test, but I also discovered how much spirit and character there is in this team. This result could be the making of the team. There will be even tougher challenges to come starting with Louth  on Sunday in Ruislip.” concluded the Limerick man

Louth are on a good run with impressive championship wins over, Kilkenny {twice) Carlow, and Antrim and their management will have been pleased with the showing of Jenny McGuinness and Alanna Conlon who hit 4.12 between them against Kilkenny in what was the duo’s first appearance for their county this year

Louth manager Darren Bishop says his side will be adopting the same routine as they always do,

“We will be approaching this match just like any other game. As I’ve said to the panel we can only control our own performance and that’s what we are looking to do every time we enter the playing field. A win in London will leave us Group winners and that’s what we set out to achieve in our three Championship matches

Confidence is high among the team after our previous championship performances, however we take nothing for granted as you are only as good as your last performance. We will be taking our full squad to London and we will get another look at one or two players  that are working hard in training.

Since the beginning of the year we have lost three key players that played in the Division 4 League final. We do hope to have at least one of these girls, Rebecca Carr back in the next fortnight.

This match will be a severe test for us as London have a large pick of players from many Irish counties with most of them playing for their home county before traveling to England. So they will bring a huge  test to our side” concluded the Louth manager.

In the only previous meeting of these counties a decade ago in Ruislip, London came on top by 2.10 to 1.07. Louth then managed by Ardee man Brian Carroll had a disappointing league campaign and received a bye into the Leinster Final due to the late withdrawal of Carlow.

Despite this Louth played some wonderful football in the provincial decider with the concession of three goals in as many minutes midway through the opening half crucial in their 5.08 to  0.16 defeat to Wicklow

The Louth team which lined out against London in 2008 was;

Caoimhe Breen, Karen Rafferty, Ciara Rafferty, Jenny Agnew, Grainne Mackin, Edel McKeown, Grace Lynch, Orlaith Kirk, Catherine McGee, Tara Lynch, 0-01, Roseanna Heaney 0-03, Linda Finnegan, Patricia Marmion, Michelle McMahon, 0-01, Maree Brennann 0-01,

Subs; Maeve O’Hare, 1-00, Deirdre Lynch, Niamh Reid, 0.01,Lyn Savage, Kim Lynch, AnneMaree Lynch, Broonagh McGrane, Olivia Grant.

Report by Dermot Woods

Graphic by Bronagh McGrane