Mo Nerney chases this ball for Laois in their LIDL NFL clash with Longford at Heywood CS. Photos: Denis Byrne
After a rather tough start to life in Division 3 for the Laois ladies this year following a draw and a loss in their opening two league fixtures, Donie Brennan’s charges grabbed their first victory after a late goal from Erone Fitzpatrick.
LIDL Ladies National Football League Division 3 Round 3
The hosts, Laois, found their rhythm swiftly and fired over 1-3 without reply to place themselves into a healthy position. Emma Lawlor landed a point before Kate Whelan would dispatch the first of her two goals away after excellent build-up play from teammates Erone Fitzpatrick and Eva Galvin.
Mo Nerney and Fiona Dooley delivered further scores before Longford finally began to get into the swing of things. A goal from Kara Shannon got them right back into the game, and they dominated most of the remainder of the half.
Grace Shannon and Michelle Farrell points left just one in it as Longford were winning possession from the Laois kick-out continuously. They could’ve had another goal soon after, but Aoife Darcy’s attempt was brilliantly blocked on the line by Laois full-back Laura Nerney.
Longford continued to control proceedings and took the lead for the first time after both Michelle Farrell and Kara Shannon raised white flags. For Shannon’s point, it looked a certain goal the first time but Sinead O’Rourke in the Laois goal pulled off a spectacular save.
Laois ended their scoring drought by kicking the last point of the half through Kate Whelan (free), and the sides went in level at the interval.
Again, Laois came out of the blocks in the second-half sharply and roared back into the lead. Erone Fitzpatrick fired over a point from play, before Whelan found the bottom corner with a neat finish for her second goal.
Laois defended strongly for a while after that, frustrating the visitors. However, they couldn’t tack on those few more scores to give them breathing room, and Longford managed to get back into it as we approached the final whistle.
Signs of danger were beginning to become clear when Laois keeper Sinead O’Rourke was again brought into action, as she pulled off a sublime save from Longford full-forward Aisling Greene.
However, Longford did get their goal to pull within one point of Laois, with their captain Michelle Farrell bursting the roof of the net from a close-range free.
Laois got back on the scoreboard through the lively Caoimhe Simms, as she popped over from a pinpoint Fitzpatrick pass. Longford looked like they grabbed a sharp of the points though, as Ciara Mulligan and Farrell points left nothing in it.
However, Fitzpatrick bravely charged forward, sold a beautiful dummy to a Longford defender, before sending the Laois supporters into celebration by bulging the net.
Scorers: Kate Whelan 2-1, Erone Fitzpatrick 1-1, Emma Lawlor, Fiona Dooley, Mo Nerney and Caoimhe Simms 0-1 each
Team: Sinead O’Rourke (St Paul’s); Andrea Moran (Ballyroan), Laura Nerney (Foxrock Cabinteely), Rebecca Balfe (St Paul’s); Casey Conroy (Sarsfields), Anna Healy (C) (Park-Ratheniska); Caoimhe Simms (St Brigid’s), Mo Nerney (Timahoe), Emma Lawlor (St Paul’s); Kate Whelan (Ballyroan), Erone Fitzpatrick (Park-Ratheniska), Rachel Fitzgerald (Ballyroan). Subs: Emily Mulhall (Ballyroan) for Nerney (16 mins, inj), Amy Potts (Park-Ratheniska) for Fitzgerald (36 mins).
Scorers: Michelle Farrell 1-3, Kara Shannon 1-1, Grace Shannon and Ciara Mulligan 0-1 each
Team: Riane McGrath; Niamh Darcy, Eimear O’Brien, Katie Crawford; Emer Heaney, Orla Farrell, Orla Nevin; Grace Shannon, Niamh Brady; Aoife Darcy, Michelle Farrell (C), Kara Shannon; Ciara Mulligan, Aisling Greene, Aisling McCormack. Sub: Lauren Burke for A Darcy (48 mins).
REFEREE: Kevin Corcoran (Mayo)