Louth LGFA Team made history on Sunday with their first ever National League title and they will play their football in the 3rd Tier next season. The ladies turned the tables on a gallant Leitrim team at a sunny St Tiernachs Park in Clones, and capped off a brilliant campaign.
Louth started the match at a blistering pace and scored 2-2 without reply in the opening 5 minutes, the Cooley Kickhams duo of Lauren Boyle and Niamh Rice scored a goal and a point apiece, and a further goal from Niamh Rice left the score at 3-2 to 0-4 in favour of the Wee County at the first water break.
Leitrim came more into the game after the water break but the Louth defense held strong and restricted them to just 4 additional points before the half time break, In this period, Kate Flood found the back of the net and a point from Denise McKenna left the score at half time, Louth 4-3 v Leitrim 0-5.
Muireann Devaney and Niamh Rice traded scores after the break and every time that Leitrim looked to get on top the Louth defence, marshalled by Captain Shannon McLoughlin, responded strongly. By the time the the second water break came round, Louth had maintained their comfortable lead with scores at 4-5 to 0-11. Leitrim were awarded a penalty in the final quarter, which Clancy converted. However, Louth once again responded, and points in quick succession from Denise McKenna and Emer Byrne kept the scoreboard ticking over in Louth’s favour.
Louth Goalkeeper Una Pearson capped off a great performance by stopping two late goal bound efforts from Leitrim and victory was secured. Niamh Rice deservedly was awarded Player of the Match, with a great all round performance and a final tally of 2-3.
Following a great campaign, and total commitment from all the panel, Wayne Freeman’s charges secured the Lidl LGFA National Football League Division 4 title on a final scoreline of Louth 4-9 to Leitrim1-14.
Scorers – Louth: N Rice 2-3 (1f), L Boyle 1-1, K Flood 1-0, D McKenna 0-2 (1f), Á Breen 0-1, R Carr 0-1, E Byrne 0-1. Leitrim: M Guckian 0-6 (5f), A Clancy 1-0, L O’Dowd 0-2, M Devaney 0-2, L Fox 0-1, B O’Rourke 0-1, A Cornyan 0-1, V Egan 0-1.
LOUTH: U Pearson; E Hand, S Quinn, E Murray; M McMahon, S McLaughlin, C Nolan; Á Breen, N Rice; A Russell, K Flood, R Carr; L Collins, L Boyle, D McKenna. Subs: E Byrne for Collins (40), S Matthews for Murray (44).
LEITRIM: M Monaghan; M A Maguire, S Tighe, S McCartan; C Tyrrell, C Owens, C La Guen; Á Heslin, A Cornyan; L O’Dowd, M Guckian, E Brun; L Fox, B O’Rourke, R McHugh. Subs: A Clancy for McHugh (21), M Devaney for O’Rourke (25), V Egan for Fox (35), S Ward for Brun (50), S Quinn for Heslin (59).
Report by Martina Nolan | Photos by Warren Matthews