The Laois Ladies U-16s had a good win over Limerick.
Laois U-16s powered their way into the LGFA All-Ireland B Final following a very convincing display against Limerick in the semi-final played in Cahir on Wednesday.
The O’Moores certainly did it the hard way as they were forced to dig deep to recover from a dreadful start, which saw them trail by 2-2 to 0-0 after six minutes.
Limerick went a goal up within 30 seconds of the throw-in as the defence were caught completely off guard and Sarah O’Brien palmed the ball into an empty net. Minutes later Phena Herbert added another for the girls in green and alarm bells sounded in the Laois rearguard.
It is to the credit of the team that Limerick didn’t score again until the 29th minute when another slip up allowed Limerick captain Annie Giltenane register goal number three.
In the meantime Laois, led by Sinead Farrelly, Rebecca Reddin and Jenny Murphy, raised their game and Leah Tarpey notched her side’s first score in the 10th minute. Orla Hennessy quickly followed with another point and then, after some great work by Emily Lacey and Della Doherty, Tarpey, who led by example, finished the move to the Limerick net.
The Laois fightback looked to be complete when Lisa Keane put the O’Moores a point up, with a goal on 25 minutes. Any complacency was quickly removed when Giltenane goaled for Limerick a minute before the break and it was a timely reminder that they were not going away.
However the half-time position, Limerick 3-2 Laois 2-3, was a lot healthier than it might have been.
The half-time whistle was a welcome sound for players and management alike and provided everyone with an opportunity to reassess, refocus and start afresh.
Laois emerged for the restart like a team possessed and within five minutes had regained the lead, with points from Doherty, Hennessy and Tarpey. Limerick again responded and in one of their rare up field forays, O’Brien grabbed a goal to give her side the lead once more at 4-2 to 2-7.
The one point gap remained at the midpoint stage of the half, after Herbert and Tarpey exchanged points, but from there until the end Laois simply upped the gears.
Their dominance in that period of the match was such that they were not at all flattered with the nine point victory. Doherty in particular stood out as she rattled off six points followed by sub Kelly O’Neill, who bagged 1-1, while Anna Lalor and Hennessy also found the range.
It was a very impressive performance by this young Laois side who will now meet Mayo in the All-Ireland final in a few week’s time. There were some negatives however and the management team, led by Paul Mulhall, will take due notice of the concession of four goals at vital times, at least three of which were preventable.
Overall it was an excellent result for Laois Ladies Football and was just reward for the players who have given huge commitment to training since the end of last year.
All-Ireland Final appearances are scarce and the next outing, against Mayo, will be a wonderful occasion for players, management and the county at large.
Scorers: Della Doherty 0-7, Leah Tarpey 1-3, Lisa Keane 1-1, Kelly O’Neill 1-1, Orla Hennessy 0-2, Anna Lalor 0-1.
Team: Nadine Dempsey (St Paul's); Aoibhe O'Brien (Portlaoise), Sinead Farrelly (St Joseph's), Georgina Donovan (Graiguecullen); Leah Kelly (Ballyroan), Rebecca Reddin (Portlaoise), Julia Cahill (Portlaoise); Aishling Fitzpatrick (The Heath), Jenny Murphy (Timahoe); Emily Lacey (St Joseph's), Leah Tarpey (Sarsfields), Orla Hennessy (Timahoe); Grace Salmon (The Heath), Della Doherty (St Conleth's), Lisa Keane (The Heath). Subs: Grainne Lalor (Sarsfields) for L Keane, Anna Lalor (The Heath) for E Lacey, Kelly O’Neill (Graiguecullen) for G Donovan.
Referee: PJ Aherne (Cork).