Lidl Ladies National League Football Division 3A Round 2
Report by Patrick Flaherty (Dundalk Democrat), Photos by Warren Matthews
Louth 2-4 Roscommon 2-5
Louth are yet to pick up a win in the Lidl Ladies National League, as Roscommon narrowly hung on for the two points in Cooley. The home side gave away goals midway through both halves and twice fought their way back into contention. Yet in the end poor wides were their undoing.
The opening 10 minutes were played in very poor conditions, a mix of sheets of rain coupled with a significant breeze making life tough for both teams, particularly the home side who were up against the elements in the first half.
As a result, they needed to be patient on the ball, go through the phases with short handpasses that couldn’t be affected by the wind along with doing all they could to solo as close to the posts as possible. For a team with plenty of pace this wasn’t a problem.
Meanwhile Roscommon tended to get it out their hands fast, quickly blasting the ball forward and then trying to work it into scorable conditions. However, four times this tactic resulted in nothing more then the ball travelling over the endline as they failed to find their targets early on.
The Wee County took the lead seven minutes in, a fine solo run from Jenny McCourt helping to create a chance from close range for Niamh Rice. Sadly, their lead did not last long.
With their next attack, the visitors managed to draw a foul. Jenny’s Higgins shot was dropped short in front of Una Pearson in the Louth goals. She missed the ball completely, getting caught out by the unpredictable wind and allowed it to bounce in front of her goals and into the back of net.
The Rossies added to their lead seconds later, turning over the ball in midfield and teeing Laura Fleming up, who managed to successfully work out the wind and allow it to help her shot soar over the posts. Another free shortly before the water break left Louth trailing by 1-2 to 0-1.
They needed to act fast and did so with a goal of their own on 17 minutes, a long ball into the forward line was won by Rice, she duly glided past an array of Roscommon defenders and teed up an incoming Laura Collins. Her fine attempt was calmly slotted under Helena Cummins to narrow the gap to just a point.
The misses were adding up for the Westerners, who notched seven wides by the end of the half, however they did manage to grab one last score before the break, a point from Laura Fleming leaving the Rossies up by 1-3 to 1-1 at half time.
Wayne Freeman’s troops, now aided by the gale force breeze, came out for the second period with purpose as they turned over Roscommon from their own kick out three times in a row in the first three minutes of action.
Unfortunately, this pressure wasn’t paying off on the score sheet, Louth only bagging a single point from the boot of Collins. In response Roscommon were again gifted a goal, Aisling Hanley from close range went for a point only for the wind to send the ball once more past Pearson and into the net.
The visitors added to their lead with a superb free from Laura Fleming to go 2-4 to 1-2 up at the final water break. They were getting a lot more time on the ball then the Girls in Red and while creating little themselves, they knew keeping the ball for prolonged periods was the best way of defending their lead.
Even when chances came Louth’s way, they weren’t converted. The usually efficient Kate Flood notched three wides, two from frees well within her range. while her team overall finished with seven wides to their name in the second half. This was largely due to wind which was proving hard to decipher.
Another monster free from Fleming left five points separating the sides with just four minutes of normal time remaining. The Wee County could have thrown in the towel, as many sides would have done on a horrible afternoon for football. But giving up is not in the DNA of this group of players.
Ceire Nolan did well to intercept a short kick out from Roscommon and despite falling to the ground as she won possession, still manged to get the ball off to substitute Ciara Woods who was running off her shoulder.
The Clan Na Gael clubwoman soared goalward at pace, unleashing a bullet that left Cummins with no chance of stopping it. 58 minutes were gone on the clock, but Louth were back on top.
The home side began piling on the pressure, leaving the Rossies struggling to get out of their own half, two more scores from Flood and Rebecca Carr bringing them within a point of a draw.
Deep into injury time Carr had a chance to level proceedings, but sadly her attempt from range drifted wide. Seconds later, with four minutes of added time already played, referee Philip Conway blew the whistle for the final time, meaning the Louth Ladies narrowly came up short.
Louth: Una Pearson; Michelle McMahon, Eilis Hand, Holly Lambe Sally; Rebecca Carr (0-1 free), Shannen Mclaughlin, Ceire Nolan; Aoife Halligan, Eimear Byrne; Roisin Kavanagh, Kate Flood (0-1), Aoife Russell; Laura Collins (1-1), Niamh Rice (0-1), Jenny McCourt. Subs: Sarah Moore for Byrne (45), Ciara Woods (1-0) for McMahon (52), Ruth Hanna for Kavanagh.
Roscommon: Helena Cummins; Sinead Kenny, Rachel Brady, Megan Keily; Roisin Wynne, Rachel Fitzmaurice, Aisling McCaulliffee; Katie Nolan, Lisa O’Rourke; Laura Fleming (0-4, 0-2 frees), Abby Curran, Caroline Conway; Aisling Hanley (1-1, 0-1 free), Jenny Higgins (1-0 free), Niamh Feeney. Subs: Ellen Irwin (22), Mikaela McHugh for Conway (38), Rosin Lennon for Curran (42), Lauren Shanaagher for Niamh Feeney.
Referee: Philip Conway (Armagh)