Emma Lawlor on the attack for Laois against Cavan. Pic: Denis Byrne.
Laois got off to a disappointing start in their 2018 Lidl National Ladies Football League Division 2 campaign when they went down to Cavan in Mountmellick on Sunday.
The Breffni women led from start to finish, and were clearly the better team, but the final score does scant justice to the efforts of Laois girls, as the winners notched 1-2 of their tally in the last three minutes.
The result continued the recent poor form of Laois against Cavan, with the last four results going in favour of the Northerners, including last summer’s relegation battle.
On Sunday Laois started well and took the battle to the opposition, but their forwards failed to convert a few decent early opportunities. On the other hand, Cavan’s Bronagh Sheridan found the target on her side’s first attack and eased into a 1-3 lead, before Laois opened their account in the 17th minute with a point from Emma Lawlor.
The introduction of the experienced Clare Conlon and Noirin Kirwan gave Laois more options upfront, and they were instrumental in pushing the score up to the four point mark, with Cavan still ahead on 1-5 by half time.
The Laois management were obliged to rejig the team at the break when Jenny McEvoy was unable to resume, and Cavan were first off the mark as Aisling Doonan split the posts after just two minutes.
Laois worked hard but were unable to penetrate a well-marshalled Cavan defence led by Laura Fitzpatrick and Sinead Greene. At the other end Laois had excellent defenders in Anna Healy, Mags McEvoy, Amy Potts and Jane Moore, with midfielders Joyce Dunne and Laura Nerney also putting in a good hour’s work.
Further afield, Erone Fitzpatrick, Laura Marie Maher and Emma Lawlor did most of the ground work and points from Clare Conlon (3) and Noirin Kirwan (1) kept Laois in touch before Cavan’s explosive finish from Doonan and Bronagh Sheridan put the issue beyond doubt.
Round 2 for the O’Moore's is on Sunday next, February 4, away to Tipperary who are flying high after their 2017 Intermediate All-Ireland win.
Scorers: Clare Conlon 0-5, Emma Lawlor, Noirin Kirwan, Erone Fitzpatrick 0-1 each.
Team: Fiona Kelly (Park-Ratheniska); Aimee Kelly (St Conleth's), Jenny McEvoy (Sarsfields), Amy Potts (St Brigid's); Jane Moore (St Brigid's), Anna Healy (Park-Ratheniska), Mags McEvoy (Sarsfields); Laura Nerney (Foxrock-Cabinteely), Joyce Dunne (Sarsfields); Erone Fitzpatrick (Park-Ratheniska), Laura Marie Maher (Sarsfields), Caoimhe Simms (St Brigid's); Meaghan Dunne (Sarsfields), Aisling Kehoe (Portlaoise), Emma Lawlor (St Paul's). Subs: Mary Cotter (St Conleth's) for A Kelly; Clare Conlon (Sarsfields) for M Dunne; Noirin Kirwan(Shanahoe) for A Kehoe; Ciara Burke (Sarsfields) for J McEvoy; Ciara Langton (St Joseph's) for C Simms; Caoimhe Lalor (Park-Ratheniska) for E Lawlor; Victoria Byrne for LM Maher.
Scorers: Aisling Doonan 1-4, Bronagh Sheridan 1-3, Aisling Sheridan 0-3, Sinead Greene, Sinead McKenna 0-1 each.
Team: Evelyn Baugh; Rachel Doonan, Laura Fitzpatrick, Joanne Moore; Sinead McKenna, Sinead Greene, Neasa Byrd; Mona Sheridan, Sinead O’Sullivan; Donna English, Aisling Doonan, Ciara Finnegan; Bronagh Sheridan, Aisling Sheridan, Cathriona Smith. Subs: Ailish Cornyn, Grainne McGlade.
Referee: Des McEnery (Westmeath).