Ladies miss out on League semi-finals

Laois missed out on the chance to book a place in the NFL Division 1 semi-final over the weekend, as their recent downturn in fortunes continued with a three point loss at the hands of Dublin.

Laois missed out on the chance to book a place in the NFL Division 1 semi-final over the weekend, as their recent downturn in fortunes continued with a three point loss at the hands of Dublin.

The defeat means Laois will not have a chance to contest the Division 1 final for the second year in a row, as Dublin advance along with Cork, Monaghan and Meath.

Laois travelled to the capital on Sunday with it all to play for, as Joe Higgins side needed a win over the Dubs to secure a semi-final spot but from the start, Dublin appeared to have a slight edge on their Leinster rivals.

Traditionally Dublin and Laois clashes have been close tight encounters, the latest episode in this keen Leinster rivalry would prove to be no different.

Dublin left half forward, Olivia Leonard was first to register a point for the sky blues her well taken point came in the 4th minute of the game, two additional Dublin points came in quick succession from half forward Amy McGuinness and three times All Star, Sinead Aherne.

Seven minutes into the first half Aherne added a fourth Dublin point from a twenty metre free, two minutes later Orlaith Egan pointed from play giving the Dubs a five point lead. Laois were struggling to get with the pace of the game but to their credit they dug deep and began to take the game to Dublin.

Twelve minutes in, Dublin lost the services of St Sylvester’s midfielder Niamh McEvoy, who had to leave the pitch with a shoulder injury following a collision with Laois’s Maggie Murphy.

The delay in play gave Laois the opportunity to regroup, on the resumption Laois put together a quick movement of passes from their defence up the field, resulting in Dublin keeper Cliodhna O’Connor pulling off a superb save from Laois corner forward Grace Weston. Weston’s muffled shot was mopped up quickly by the Dublin defence but Laois now had a spring in their step finishing the half with three unanswered points, half time score Dublin 0-6 Laois 0-3.

Joe Higgins welcomed the interval, the break giving the Laois manager the opportunity to inspire his charges on, Higgins urging the Laois women to step up their second half performance. Despite the extra pep in the Laois step it was Dublin who where on the score board first, Amy McGuinness slotting over two fine points to push her side five points ahead.

Laois where starting to come more and more into the game with their midfield ace Tracey Lawlor starting to influence proceedings by making penetrating runs time and time again at the Dublin defence. Indeed Dublin can be thankful for the Portmarnock woodwork when a rasping shot from Mary Kirwan rebounded back off the cross bar in to a safe pair of Dublin hands.

Meanwhile down at the other end of the pitch Na Fianna star Orlaith Egan was using her body strength to good affect combining well with the experienced Sinead Aherne. This duo got the Dubs next three points, Egan with two from play, Aherne nailing a twenty metre free.

Laois raised the last white flag of the game when Mary Kirwan slotted over her third free of the match late into injury time but time had ran out for Laois with the O’Moore County playing no further part in this year’s Bord Gáis Energy Ladies NFL.

SCORERS - Dublin: Orlaith Egan, Amy McGuinness, Sinead Aherne (two frees) 0-3 each, Natalia Hyland (free), Olivia Leonard 0-1 each; Laois: Mary Kirwan 0-3 (all frees), Tracey Lawlor 0-2 (both frees), Martha Kirwan, Noirin Kirwan, Maggie Murphy 0-1 each

DUBLIN: Cliodhna O’Connor; Grainne O’Malley, Siobhan McGrath, Sinead O’Mahony; Gemma Fay, Denise Masterson, Fiona Hudson; Niamh McEvoy, Sinead Finnegan; Amy McGuinness, Natalia Hyland, Olivia Leonard; Amy Ring, Sinead Aherne, Orlaith Egan. Subs: Sinead Treacy for McEvoy, Anne Clarke for Ring, Ailish McKenna for O’Mahony, Siobhan Woods for Leonard.

LAOIS: Caoimhe Dollard; Jane Moore, Grainne Dunne, Ellen Healy; Mags McEvoy, Trish Fogarty, Sarah McEvoy; Tracey Lawlor, Sarah Quigley; Martha Kirwan, Noirin Kirwan, Maggie Murphy; Grace Weston, Anna Moore, Mary Kirwan.