Mo Nerney strikes at goal for Laois against Sligo. Pic: Denis Byrne
The Laois ladies went top of LIDL NFL Division 2 table on Sunday, after they breezed past Sligo by nine points in Killeshin.
Poor playing conditions didn’t do anything to help either team, but Laois were fully deserved winners, with Mo Nerney helping herself to 0-8 despite coming off twenty minutes from time.
Laois began on the front foot early on, with Mo Nerney firing over two points to get the hosts up and running. Sligo had a goal chance soon after when Ciara Gorman chipped over Laois keeper Ciamh Dollard, but Amy Potts was on the line to keep it from going in.
Mo Nerney and Caoimhe Simms fired over, before Sligo got on the scoreboard with a Ciara Gorman point from a placed ball. Two more Mo Nerney points followed, as the centre forward looked on fire.
Sligo then came looking for a way back into the game after a slow start from the Connacht side. Points from Elaine O’Reilly, Ciara Gorman (free) and Karen Moloney reduced the gap to two between the sides.
Laois had a goal chance when Meaghan Dunne found space inside the box, but she blasted to the left and wide of the target.
However, Laois would have another goal opportunity soon after, this time after a penalty was awarded. Laois’s Caoimhe Simms was deemed to have had her jersey pulled back in the square, and full forward Meaghan Dunne was given a second opportunity to put the ball in the net. This time, she made no mistake, firing it into the corner of Noelle Gormley’s goal.
Laois would end the half superbly, with Erone Fitzpatrick adding on to two Mo Nerney points. Laois went into the break up by eight, and had played against a strong wind as well.
Sligo began the second half brightly with three points, two frees from Ciara Gorman sandwiched a Karen Maloney point, and there seemed to be renewed hope in the Sligo players. However, Laois noticeably went up a gear, and they would kick over the next five scores to put the game beyond Sligo’s grasp.
Emma Lawlor, Mo Nerney and substitutes Clare Conlon and Noirin Kirwan put Laois ten points to the good. The substitutes came rolling in for both sides at this stage, after both knew their fate long ago.
Sligo, to their credit, didn’t stop battling, and added a further two points after Sarah McMoreland and Stephanie O’Reilly split the posts. Laois hit straight back with their second goal of the game, an unbelievable Erone Fitzpatrick thirty yard run resulting in Noirin Kirwan putting the ball into the back of net.
Sligo finished the game the stronger with Gorman putting over two points, one a free and one from play, to put some gloss on the score line. However, Laois ran out convincing winners, with another home match their next test against Westmeath.
Scorers: Mo Nerney 0-8 (0-2 frees), Noirin Kirwan 1-2, Meaghan Dunne 1-0,Emma Lawlor, Erone Fitzpatrick, Caoimhe Simms and Clare Conlon 0-1 each.
Team: Ciamh Dollard; Amy Potts, Jenny McEvoy, Martha Kirwan; Aine Haberlin, Mags McEvoy, Anna Healy; Eva Galvin, Laura Nerney; Rachel Williams, Mo Nerney, Erone Fitzpatrick; Caoimhe Simms, Meaghan Dunne,Emma Lawlor. Subs: Clare Conlon for Nerney (38 mins, inj), Noirin Kirwan for Lawlor (38 mins), Mary Cotter for Haberlin (50 mins), Fiona Dooley for Galvin (54 mins), Haberlin for McEvoy (54 mins), Olivia Deverell for Williams (56 mins).
Scorers: Ciara Gorman 0-6 (0-5 frees), Karen Maloney 0-2, Stephanie O’Reilly, Elaine O’Reilly and Sarah McMoreland 0-1.
Team: Noelle Gormley; Michelle McNamara, Grainne O’Loughlin, Etna Flanagan; Ruth Goodwin, Eilise Codd, Annmarie Coleman; Bernice Byrne, Sarah Reynolds; Laura Ann Laffey, Ciara Gorman, Rchel Monaghan; Karen Maloney, Stephanie O’Reilly, Elaine O’Reilly. Subs: Mary Ann O’Kennedy for Monaghan (half time), Leah Kelly for O’Loughlin (35 mins), Sinead Naughton for Maloney (42 mins), Sarah McMoreland for E O’Reilly (42 mins), Lisa Casey for O’Kennedy (57 mins).
Referee: Jonathan Murphy (Carlow).