After a nine-month absence Louth Ladies return to action when they take on Longford in Clones in the Intermediate Championship on Sunday afternoon.
It will be the fifth meeting of the counties in championship fare with the Midland county winning on three occasions to Louth’s one. Louth LGFA Dermot Woods looks back over the four previous meetings as we build up towards to the 2020 encounter this weekend.
The first time they met was in the 1996 Leinster Junior Final in Cullen Park.
Longford 2-15 Louth 4-01
Louth went into the 1996 final with high hopes after good wins over Carlow and Offaly and a good run in the League which put them through to the quarter final and a meeting in August with Monaghan at home.
However on this occasion they never got going and were very disappointed with their performance. Longford settled much quicker than the Reds and had two points before Louth got a goal direct from a Linda Finnegan free.
Louth had to work very hard to get into a scoring position with Longford tackling and chasing as if their lives depended on it. Just before half time a superb pass from Linda Finnegan found Sinead Mulligan who fired in a great goal to give them a major boost for the second half.
After the break Roisin Hanlon replaced Susan Robinson and Elaine Rogan went to midfield to partner Orlaith Kirk. During this period, Louth played their best football with Orliath Kirk scoring a brilliant goal and Finnegan added a further goal and a point. But Longford were able to add points to keep Louth at bay and ran out deserving winners.
Louth; Laura Cunningham, Pamela Kirwan, Elaine Rogan, Ann Mulligan, Sharon Drumgoole, Edel McKeown, Joan McCarragher, Linda Finnegan,2-01, Fiona Sweeney,(Capt) Karen Connor, Orlath Kirk, Julie Fitzpatrick, Sinead Mulligan 1-00, Amanda Brennan. Susan Robinson Sub used; Roisin Hanlon
Louth 2-19 Longford 1-14
The 1999 Senior Championship game was a meeting of the counties who had won the All-Ireland Junior title in 1997 and 98. The game played in Fr. McEvoy Park, Cooley, saw Louth produce a tremendous second half performance in which they scored 2-10 to their opponents 0-04 to pave the way for a superb win.
It was the visitors who started the better with Fiona Blessington pointing after just 30 seconds. Louth were level three minutes later as Ann Maree Murphy converted a free awarded for a foul on Roisin Hanlon.
The same player gave the home side the lead as she again converted a free, her task made easier by dissent shown by a visiting defender which resulted in the ball being brought forward.
Sharon Drumgoole then extended the lead with two excellent long range points. The St. Joseph’s player was proving a real handful for the opposing defence and was unlucky to be denied a goal by a brilliant save from Karina Mulvihill. The home team continued to dominate with a Roisin Hanlon point giving them a 0-5 to 0-1 lead midway through the half.
Longford came back strongly with points from Mary Bourke (3) and Michelle Haniffy but Louth replied with scores of their own from Hanlon, Drumgoole and a wonderful effort from AM Murphy.
Longford then had the games first goal which came off a six player move-Helen Flanagan had time and space to fire past Lyn Savage in the 23rd minute.
Louth were rocked by this goal with both Roisin Hanlon and Murphy hitting wides from good positions. Longford turned up the heat with three unanswered points and might have had a second major but their forward hesitated and the chance was lost. They did add a further point giving them a 1-10 to 0-09 lead at the break.
Louth tore into their opponents with renewed determination on the resumption and had early points from Hanlon and Elaine Rogan. The Reds then got their first goal as Jennifer Mulligan drove an unstoppable shot in off a post. Sharon Drumgoole extended the Louth to 1-12 to 1-09 when she finished off good approach play by the impressive Ann Maree Murphy.
Fiona Blessington narrowed the gap as she pointed but Drumgoole converted a 40 yard free before she rounded off an excellent ten minute spell with a fine individual goal to put them 2-14 to 1-11 in front with just ten minutes remaining and ultimately run out convincing winners.
Louth; Lyn savage, Jenny Agnew, Lorraine Muckian, Karen Kane, Nicola White, Edel McKeown, Grace Lynch, Karen Connor, Elaine Rogan 0-03, Nuala Murphy, Roisin Hanlon 0-03 Tara Lynch 0-01, Ann Maree Murphy 0-06, Sharon Drumgoole 1-06, Jennifer Mulligan 1-00. Subs; Leona Bennett, Majella Agnew, Annmarie King, Kate Gerard
The counties met again a year later in 2000 with Longford gaining revenge in controversial circumstances for their defeat in Cooley.
Longford 3-11 Louth 1-08
The goal scored by full forward Amanda Lennon eight minutes into the second half proved crucial in Longford’s Leinster SFC win over Louth at a sunny Pearse Park.
The goal came at a time when the visitors were enjoying almost total dominance and arrived as a result of a misdirected Louth pass when a promising move broke down. To add insult to injury the home side’s score happened while Sharon Drumgoole lay injured felled by a Longford player off the ball. She was only able to resume after lenghty treatment.
Louth officials were annoyed by the Cavan official’s failure to take action against some questionable Longford tactics with Orlaith Kirk also the victim of a dangerous tackle which went unpunished.
Longford backed by the breeze were first to score with Louth’s only point of the half coming shortly after courtesy of a Roisin Hanlon free. The mid-land county went on to build a commanding 1-8 to 0-1 lead, but with the last kick of the half Karen Fealey did brilliantly to set up Catherine Reynolds for a goal.
That was the boost Louth badly needed because their performance wasn’t up to the required standard. The half time pep talk from Alo McGrath and Dermot Agnew clearly had the desired effect as Louth tore into their opponents from the re-start. Within four minutes Annmaree Murphy converted three frees and when Claire Mullholland added a further point from a difficult angle the deficit was reduced to just three points.
It appeared that Louth were set for a famous win until that goal changed everything and the eight minute delay that followed didn’t help Louth either. They battled on to add a further three points but a third Longford goal deep in stoppage time gave the home team a flattering nine point winning margin.
Louth; Lyn Savage, Jenny Mulligan, Edel McKeown, Annemaree King, Karen Kane, Sharon Drumgoole, Nicola White, Elaine Rogan, Orlaith Kirk, Nuala Murphy, Roisin Hanlon 0-02, AnnMaree Murphy 0-04, Claire Mullholland 0-01, Catherine Reynolds 1-00, Karen Fealey. Subs; Anne & Jacqui McArdle, Linda White, Trina McDonagh, Majella Agnew
The last meeting between these Leinster rivals took place in 2017 when an injury-hit Louth side fell to an eight-point defeat against group favourites Longford in the second round of the TG4 Leinster Ladies Intermediate Championship.
John O’Leary and Fergal McNally’s side paid the price for a lack of scores in the first-half as Longford went in 2–4 to 0–2 ahead at the break, but the outcome may have been completely different had Louth taken one of three goal chances afforded to them in the first half.
Missing a number of regulars due to exam and work commitments, the Wee County got off to the worst possible start as Anna McDonald burst through their defence for the game’s first goal after just 35 seconds. Things almost got worse for Louth but just two minutes later the impressive Michelle Farrell fired inches wide of the post.
Louth settled to the task and were most unlucky not to hit the net with two well-worked opportunities. First of all, Rebecca Carr did brilliantly to create an opening but saw her shot go narrowly wide before Eimear Byrne was denied by some desperate defending.
The visitors did get on the scoresheet in the ninth minute when Paula Murray shot over the bar but they suffered a major setback just moments later as influential midfielder Rebecca Carr had to retire with a leg injury.
Full forward Eimear Byrne then forced the home side’s goalkeeper into a smart save as Louth pushed hard but Longford reasserted themselves and took a firm grip on proceedings through points from Farrell (0–2) McCormack and a goal from Sarah Tierney.
Louth did record the last score of the half as great work by the Byrne sisters, Aoife and Eimear, put Susan Byrne through on goal. The St Kevin’s star did brilliantly to get past two defenders but fired over when a goal looked certain to leave Longford 2–4 to 0–2 ahead at the break.
Louth needed a good start to the second half but it was the Midlanders who grabbed an early goal within seconds of the restart as Sarah Tierney hit her second of the evening.
That goal put the tie beyond a visibly tiring Louth side, who were playing their second away match in three days, and Longford added three further points to extend their lead, 3–5 to 0–5 after 49 minutes.
Anna McDonald and Paula Murray exchanged points before Louth got the reward their gutsy performance deserved in the 56th minute when a Murray piledriver came back off the crossbar and Kate Flood was on hand to palm the rebound to the net.
It proved to be a case of too little, too late as Longford held out for a comfortable win.
Louth: Una Pearson (Dowdallshill); Michelle McArdle (Stabannon), Dearbhla O’Connor (St Mochtas), Ruth Hanna (St Brides); Abbi O’Connor (Geraldines), Sara Moore (St Fechins) Ciara O’Connor (Geraldines); Aoife Byrne (St Mochtas), Rebecca Carr (Geraldines); Paula Murray (St Keins) (0–3), Kate Flood (St Patrick’s) (1–2), Sinead Woods (Kilkerley); Catherine McGlew (St Fechins), Eimear Byrne (St Mochtas), Susan Byrne (St Kevins) (0–2). Subs: Aoife Halligan (Roche) for S Moore; Roisin Kavanagh (St Fechins) for R Carr; Kate Wynne (St Brides) for E Byrne; Grainne Murray (St Kevins) for M McArdle. Coirin Rice (Cooley) for C.McGlew