Louth 2:13 Carlow 0:11
Louth took the Leinster Junior Championship title for the second year in succession with a resounding win over Carlow in Dr.Cullen Park on Sunday afternoon.
Player of the match Lauren Boyle who fired a brilliant 1:7, had her side three points ahead within ninety seconds of the throw in, with the only Carlow player to touch the ball being keeper Nicole Hanley. In a rare attack Carlow opened their account after eight minutes when Rachel Sawyer after a cross field run sent over.
The prolific Boyle was again on the mark as she turned her marker superbly to fire over over in wonderful style, following a superb forty yard pass by impressive midfielder Eimear Byrne to leave Louth 0:5 0:1 ahead after twelve minutes.
It could have gotten worse for the Barrowsiders as Louth then missed three gilt-edged chances. Rebecca Carr raced through the middle and saw her shot go narrowly wide and then Kate Flood palmed an effort wide while centre back Michelle McMahon blazed a good chance over the top after driving through the middle.
They did add further points from Boyle (2) and Flood before the Wee County did convert one of their four goal chances. That came on 27 minutes with Boyle combining with Eimear Byrne, with the latter showing skill and vision to flight a perfectly weighted fist pass to the on running Lauren Boyle who smashed an unstoppable shot past Nicole Hanley. With Rebecca Carr adding another point the Wee County led 1:11 to 0:04 at the break.
Carlow to have any chance of getting back into the contest needed a good start to the second half and got it when Ni She tapped over but any hopes of a comeback quickly disappeared when a foul on Rebecca Carr saw Referee Finnbarr Shanahan point to the spot with Kate Flood expertly converting the penalty. Lauren Boyle had her last score of the day midway through the half with Kate Flood getting her Countys last score shortly after as Louth led by 2:13 to 0:07 in the 46th minute. Carlow to to their credit kept going to the very end and were rewarded as they had the last four scores of the day.
With his players facing a hectic schedule of club and county fixtures Louth manager Darren Bishop rang the changes in the last quarter.
We should have had goals and the girls were well aware of that at half-time.
The Manager will have been pleased to see his team get their season back on track following the loss to Antrm in the league semi-final; “They know how to grind out a result; they’ve learned from their league semi-final defeat and thankfully they’ve progressed.
“We should have had goals and the girls were well aware of that at half-time. But that was the past and we had to play in the present in the second half, which, to be fair, they did.
“The big thing was to not concede a goal and give Carlow any chance of getting back into the game. In fairness to our defence, they held very strong.”
I don’t think I’ve won a final since playing minor about five years ago. It’s brilliant to get playing and to get the win as well.
It was a memorable afternoon for Naomh Fionnbarra star Deirbhile Osborne who missed last year’s final through injury;
“Getting a good start, it builds confidence and gets the momentum going. I don’t think I’ve won a final since playing minor about five years ago. It’s brilliant to get playing and to get the win as well.
“I think today will bring great spirit to the younger girls to see what can be achieved. Everyone just wants to really try their best in training and the management do absolutely everything to get the best out of us.”
Carlow are walking off that pitch extremely disappointed and we’re going to have to face that in two weeks.
Attention now turns to the All Ireland series which gets underway on July 14 with Carlow again providing the opposition while a fortnight later Louth host London:
“We play Carlow again. If we were going to play another county it’d be a completely different scenario. But Carlow are walking off that pitch extremely disappointed and we’re going to have to face that in two weeks’ time. Then, you’ve London, which is a completely unknown entity,” said the Louth manager.
Louth: Una Pearson; Eilis Hand, Sarah Quinn, Shannen McLaughlin; Áine Breen, Michelle McMahon (0-1), Deirbhile Osborne; Eimear Byrne, Aoife Byrne; Rebecca Carr (0-1), Susan Byrne, Aoife Russell; Lauren Boyle (1-7), Kate Flood (1-3, 1-0 pen & 0-2 frees), Niamh Rice (0-1).
Subs: Sinead Woods for Rice (38), Jennifer McGuinness for Susan Byrne (48), Gráinne Murray for Osborne (52), Ceire Nolan for McMahon (53), Emily Norton for Carr (59)
Carlow: Nicole Hanley; Nuala Mohan, Breege Nolan, Anne Roche; Maria Kinsella, Oonagh Fitzpatrick, Ciara Mullins; Edel Hayden, Kerrel Clarke; Ellen Atkinson, Róisín Byrne (0-1), Niamh Forde; Rachel Sawyer (0-1), Clíodna Ní Shé (0-7, frees), Sarah Doyle
Subs: Leah Mullins for Kinsella (20), Amy Dooley (0-1) for Mohan (HT), Antionette Downey for Fitzpatrick (44), Niamh Kelly for Doyle (48), Aoife Hayden for Kerrel Clarke (53)
Referee: Finbarr Shanahan (Dublin)
Report by Dermot Woods | Photos by Warren Matthews