Leitrim 1–8 Louth 2–10
Report by Dermot Woods | Photos by Warren Matthews
Louth will travel to Division Four league leaders Carlow in fine form this Sunday after picking up a very important victory in Leitrim at the weekend.
Two brilliantly taken goals by Kate Flood of St Patrick’s and Niamh Rice of Cooley Kickhams, allied to some brilliant defending, proved vital as the Reds deservedly made it two wins from three outings for Darren Bishop’s side.
Despite playing against the breeze, the home side opened the scoring within 30 seconds when Michelle Heslin fired over. Louth looked to have pulled level just two minutes later when Lauren Boyle’s effort appeared to have drifted over but, to the surprise of many in attendance, the umpires waved a wide.
The Wee County did, however, reel off the next two scores through Kate Flood and Boyle but things remained tight with a Bronagh O’Rourke brace for Leitrim and a wonderful score from Boyle leaving things all square at 0–3 apiece after 20 minutes.
Louth again edged in front courtesy of Susan Byrne (0–2) and Boyle but Laura O’Dowd and Bronagh O’Rourke reduced it to a one-point game before Louth struck for the crucial score of the half when Flood exchanged passes with Jennifer McGuinness before fisting the ball past the advancing Michelle Guckian to give the visitors a 1–6 to 0–5 lead at the break.
Leitrim enjoyed the majority of possession on the resumption but it was Louth who added to their lead when a foul on Flood afforded Lauren Boyle the chance to extend the gap to five.
O’Rourke kept the home side in touch with a free during a sustained period of pressure and Louth were dealt a major blow shortly after when Boyle was sin-binned following a collision with Guckian.
Despite being down to 14, Bishop’s team continued to look the more dangerous and added points from substitute Ciara Woods from Clan na Gael and Susan Byrne made it 1–9 to 0–6 with the clock showing 48 minutes.
Bronagh O’Rourke landed another free and Leitrim were given renewed hope when Carmel McGovern found herself well placed to find the net with eight minutes to go, 1–9 to 1–7.
The Louth management team reacted by introducing rising star Niamh Rice and the Cooley Kickhams player was only on the field a couple of minutes when she unleashed an unstoppable shot past Michelle Guckian — after a brilliant 50 metre run by Michelle McMahon — to kill off any hope of a Leitrim comeback.
LOUTH: Una Pearson; Eilis Hand, Sarah Quinn, Shannen McLoughlin; Ceire Nolan, Michelle McMahon, Sinead Woods; Eimear Byrne, Aoife Byrne; Rebecca Carr, Susan Byrne (0–3), Jennifer McGuinness; Aoife Russell, Kate Flood (1–2, 2f), Lauren Boyle (0–4, 1f). Subs: Ciara Woods (0–1) for J McGuinness; Deirbhile Osborne for S Woods; Niamh Rice (1–0) for S Byrne.
LEITRIM: Michelle Guckian; Abbi Sweeney, Aine Heslin, Karen Connolly; Emma McGovern, Sinead Tighe, Clare Owens; Deirdre Moran, Eilish O’Dowd; Laura O’Dowd (0–1), Michelle Heslin (0–1), Deirbhlie Beirne; Carmel McGovern (1–0), Vivienne Egan, Bronagh O’Rourke (0–6, 6f).