Sarsfields and Shanahoe served up a real championship encounter, tough, competitive and close, when the sides eventually met in this refixed Laois Ladies Senior Football Round 1 game in Shanahoe on Wednesday.
The eight point difference indicates a comfortable win for the title holders but in reality it was only in the last ten minutes that Sarsfields pulled away.
The win puts Sarsfields on top of the table with six points after two games followed by St Brigids on three and Park-Ratheniska and Shanahoe still to get off the ground.
The sides were level on three occasions in a nervous opening half, during which both sets of forwards were guilty of spurning some gilt edged chances, and it finished with Sarsfields ahead 1-5 to 0-7 at the break. Sarsfields scores came from Meaghan Dunne, Tracey Lawlor, Joyce Dunne and Ciara Burke while Mary Kirwan and Eimear Fitzpatrick replied for Shanahoe.
Exchanges of points between Mary Kirwan and Laura Dunne for the hosts and Clare Conlon and Tracey Lawlor for Sarsfields left the sides still deadlocked ten minutes into the second half. Then Sarsfields found a second gear and established control around the middle third of the field. The attack benefitted accordingly, with points from Rachel Williams, Conlon and Lawlor, and the visitors pulled away to finish very strongly and put clear daylight between the teams before the end.
Both teams were short a few established player with Shanahoe missing Noirin Kirwan and Sinead Lanham while Sarsfields had to contend with the absence of Mags McEvoy, Grace Weston and Lauramarie Maher.
Sarsfields: Clodagh Dunne, Siobhan Fitzpatrick, Jenny McEvoy, Amy Grehan, Sinead Walsh, Emma McEvoy, Aisling Dunphy, Tracey Lawlor, Alison McEvoy, Hazel O’Connor, Joyce Dunne, Louise Bergin, Ciara Burke, Ciara O’Loughlin, Meaghan Dunne. Subs: Clare Conlon, Rachel Williams, Becky Dowling, Chloe Dunne, Lisa O’Reilly, Amy Loughman.
Shanahoe: Eimear Barry; Hannah Bailey, Deirdre Moore, Linda Reilly; Lisa Dunne, Martha Kirwan, Áine Malone; Maggie Fitzpatrick, Marion O’Grady; Sharon Moylan, Mary Kirwan (0-6, 4F), Edel Siney; Eimear Fitzpatrick (0-2), Denise Quigley, Aoife Bergin. Subs: Laura Dunne (0-3) for Aoife Bergin, Claire Kirwan for Deirdre Moore.