It was a very warm day for football in Clane Co. Kildare on Sunday where Louth came up against the Lidl National League Division 4 South Group winners Offaly.
The warm dry conditions suited the fast pace of our Louth Ladies and it was a great day at the office. Our first score came after 3 minutes in the form of a point from Cooley shooter Lauren Boyle and a great point from Denise McKenna shortly afterwards from a long way out. Then after a good pass out to the corner, Lauren Boyle got in behind her marker and dropped the ball over the Offaly goalkeeper’s head for the first goal of the day.
It took Offaly 9 minutes to take their 1st point but on 13 minutes a goal from Grainne Egan brought them back into the game. With a further point from Kate Flood, Louth led 1 – 3 to 1 – 1 at the first water break.
Offaly made their first substitution No. 30 Aoife Carey for No. 9 Niamh Lydon. The Louth defense was very strong and they moved the ball quickly and accurately from the back right through to the forwards. Offaly got the first score after the water break but then Louth had 4 unanswered points from Niamh Rice, Denise McKenna and 2 from Lauren Boyle.
At the half time whistle Louth led 1- 7 to Offaly’s 1- 2.
Offaly came out after the break like a team on a mission and Grainne Egan scored a goal after 4 mins and a point almost immediately.
A great run from Roisin Kavanagh who passed to Ceire Nolan who was fouled and a free was awarded. The free was taken, the ball came in high to Kate Flood who fisted it into the net. This seemed to change the momentum of the game and the Louth Ladies seemed to grow in confidence. Kate Flood seemed to epitomize this confidence when scoring a spectacular point kicking the ball over her shoulder with her back to the goal.
At the second water break Louth led by 2- 8 to 2 – 4
Offaly did not score after the break. Michelle McMahon received a heavy tackle and play was stopped but thankfully she was ok, as Michelle is an integral part of the Louth defense. Louth backs were solid and when Amy Gavin Mangan did a great run Una Pearson pulled off a great save.
Two more points for Louth from Lauren Boyle and Kate Flood and victory was secured when Kate Flood scored her second goal. Louth ran out comfortable winners by 9 points,
The team will now look forward to a National League Final against Leitrim on 27th June with the venue to be arranged.
Report by Martina Nolan | Photos by Warren Matthews