Brave Laois fightback falls just short in second-half

Despite trailing by seven points at the break, Laois almost pulled off a great comeback to secure a place in the All Ireland Junior Camogie final.

Despite trailing by seven points at the break, Laois almost pulled off a great comeback to secure a place in the All Ireland Junior Camogie final.

However while Laois kept Down scoreless in the second-half, they couldn’t quite get enough scores on the board at the other end to overhaul their opponents

A lot of work had been put into preparing the girls for this game however the loss of full-forward Sarah Cuddy through a shoulder injury and with Goalkeeper Laura Dunne and Back Mairéad Burke only back from injury the stength of the squad was somewhat weakened. From the throw in Down took possession at the throw in and Fionnula Carr put the first point on the board.

Laois won the ball from the resulting puck out and Síle Burke leveled the score. Two minutes later Laois centre forward Eimear Delaney laid off a lovely pass to her Captain Louise Mahony who scored a point to put Laois ahead but Down’s Fionnula Carr leveled the score again from a free.

Laois blasted back into the lead when corner forward Laura Marie Maher broke through the Down defence and scored a cracker of a goal in the 8th minute, after the sliotar came back off of the upright from a Louise Mahony free.

Down’s Fionnula Carr scored her third point from a free on the 10th minute to narrow the gap, but Elaine Mahony, playing at midfeild for Laois cacelled it out with a well placed point on the 12th minute.

Down’s Laura Hughes and Laois’ Louise Mahony exchanged points and the score at this point was Laois 1-4 to Down 0-4. However Down rallied and points from Fionnula Carr, Lisa McRickard and Sara-Louise Carr brought them quickly level.

Nothing was going Laois’ way in the second quarter with four attempted points going wide in a succession. On the other hand Down’s corner forward Niamh Mallon had a five minute purple patch that completely turned the game on it’s head. She broke through the Laois defence and scored two goal’s and a point. The second goal came on the third attempt after Laois goalkeeper Laura Dunne and corner back Catriona Downey both made fantastic saves. The score at the break was Down 2-8 to Laois 1-4.

Whatever was said in the dressing room at half time, changed the run of play and Laois completely dominated the second half as Down failed to register a score.

Unfortunately Laois put another three attempts on goal wide before they got back on target when centre forward Eimear Delaney pulled on the end of a loose ball in front of goal and shook the net for a goal.

The ever dependable Sarah-Anne Fitzgerald, playing at centre back scored a point from a free after 55 minutes to narrow the gap to just three points and Laois piled on the pressure for the rest of the game. Unfortunately the scores never materialised for Laois as the Down back line cleared every ball and held on to win the game by three points against the run of play.

Laois Team; Laura Dunne, Aishling Dunphy, Anne Marie Purcell, Catriona Downey, Marion O’Grady, Sarah Ann Fitzgerald (0-1), Mairead Burke, Louise Mahony capt (0-2), Aisling Burke, Elaine Mahony (0-1), Eimear Delaney(1-0), Sharon Moylan, Síle Burke(0-1), Joan Dollard, Laura Marie Maher(1-0), Olga Parkinson, Casey Conroy, Yvonne O’Neill, Emma Phelan, Claire Walsh, Rachel Boyhan, Joyce Dunne, Niamh Coss, Sarah Cuddy, Súin Lennon, Lorna Campion and Kelly O’Neill.