Laois goal scorer Meaghan Dunne. Pic: Alf Harvey
The Laois ladies footballers road to the NFL Division 2 final was ended on Sunday afternoon when they suffered an agonizing defeat to a strong Westmeath side.
Laois started on the front foot and dominated the first ten minutes of play. Teenager Emma Lawlor got Laois off the mark after three minutes when she put over a well taken free.
The same player added a point from play a minute later when she took an excellent pass from Mo Nerney. Westmeath added two frees after five minutes of play from centre forward Leona Archibald to get them up and running.
Westmeath then took control as Laois found it difficult to work the ball up into their own half. Ciara Blundell, Leona Archibald and Maud Annie Foley added further points for a strong Westmeath side. Laois suffered a major blow after after 23 minutes when Fiona Claffey gave an excellent pass to Ciara Blundell who made no mistake about the finish past Laois goalie Ciamh Dollard.
Westmeath added further scores before the break through Maud Annie Foley and Ciara Blundell. Westmeath had hit 1-7 in the first half without any reply from the Laois girls and this left Westmeath leading at half time 1-9 to 0-2.
Laois stepped up to the task in the second half as captain Aileen O’Loughlin added a point to the Laois tally. Substitute Clare Conlon was dominant when introduced and she put over an excellent point with her left foot.
Aileen O’Loughlin also had a goal chance but the shot was saved brilliantly by Westmeath keeper Karen Walsh. Westmeath continued to keep the margin at a distance however Fona Claffey and Leona Archfield pointed to leave the score 1-12 to 0-5 after 40 minutes of play.
The Laois backs worked hard to keep out a Westmeath goal but Kelly Boyce Jordan managed to find her way past the Laois defence and finish the ball into the back of the net. A minute later Leona Archifiled added a free for Westmeath and this left Laois with a big gap to bridge.
However, the Laois girls fought back and substitutes Alison McEvoy, Clare Conlon and centre back Aileen O’Loughlin pointed to leave the score 2-15 to 0-10 after 50 minutes of play.
Westmeath added two further frees through the predominant Leona Archibald, but Laois’s hard work in their forwards eventually paid off. Unfortunately it came too late, but Meaghan Dunne found a way past the Westmeath defence to finish the ball neatly into the Westmeath goal.
This was the final score of game and it resulted in a disappointing defeat for the Laois ladies who lost out by 10 points on a final score line of 2-17 to 1-10.
Scorers: Clare Conlon 0-4 (0-2 frees), Aileen O’Loughlin 0-3, Meghan Dunne 1-0, Emma Lawlor 0-2 (0-1 free), Alison McEvoy 0-1.
Team: Ciamh Dollard (Portlaoise); Amy Potts (Ballylinan), Jenny McEvoy (Sarsfields), Laura Nerney (Foxrock Cabinteely); Aine Haberlin (St Cloneth's), Aileeen O’Loughlin (Sarsfields), Anna Healy (Park Ratheniska); Eva Galvin (St Cloneth's), Joyce Dunne (Sarsfields); Erone Fitzpatrick (Park Ratheniska), Mo Nerney (Timahoe), Caoimhe Simms (Ballylinan); Rachel Williams (Sarsfields), Ciara Burke (Sarsfields), Emma Lawlor (St Paul's). Subs: Martha Kirwan (Shanahoe) for R Williams (HT), Clare Conlon (Sarsfields) for Nerney (HT), Meaghan Dunne (Sarsfields) for C Burke (HT), Alison McEvoy (Sarsfields) for Healy (45 mins), Mags McEvoy (Sarsfields) for Simms (37 mins)
Scorers: Leona Archibald 0-10 (0-8 frees), Ciara Blundell 1-2, Maud Foley 0-3, Kelly Jordan 1-0, Lucy McCartan 0-1.
Team: Karen Walsh; Rachel Dillon, Amie Giles, Aileeen Martin; Fiona Coyle, Rebecca Dunne, Laura Brennan; Karen McDermott, Maud Annie Foyle; Fiona Claffey, Leona Archibald, Kelly Boyce Jordan; Tracey Dillon, Laura Lee Walsh, Ciara Blundell. Subs: Lucy McCarthon for Tracey Dillon (12 mins, inj), Katie Dunne for R Dillon (30 mins), Chloe Kelly for F Coyle (55 mins), Johanna Maher for K Jordan (56 mins)
Referee: Colm McManus (Meath)