Laois Captain Laura Nerney lifting the cup. Pic Sportsfile
Laois will play in Division Two of the LIDL National Ladies Football league next year after a spirited performance against Kildare in Baltinglass on Sunday evening. Mo Nerney’s last gasp point for Laois was the winner after Kildare’s Neasa Dooley had levelled the game with two minutes left. However, Laois’ response was excellent, and a strong Jane Moore run set Nerney up for the winner as they were crowned Division Three champions.
Played under sunny conditions, a strong cross field breeze made life difficult for both sides as they struggled to come to terms with the tricky breeze.
It was Laois who came racing out of the blocks and they got three on the bounce, two from Mo Nerney and a fisted effort from Fiona Dooley.
The early exchanges were cagey, as both teams enjoyed a high turnover rate, particularly Laois with Kildare struggling to retain any sort of possession inside the opening 10 minutes.
Kildare eventually found their stride, and two points from centre forward Lara Curran settled the Kildare ship as they went in trailing by the minimum at the first water break.
The second quarter was just as cagey as the first and with Kildare’s wide count rising, Laois looked in control. Eva Galvin pointed for Laois and another Mo Nerney point kept the scoreboard ticking over. However, another effort from Lara Curran cut the deficit to two, but Rachel Williams point right before the half time break gave Laois a three-point lead at half time.
Kildare started the brightest of the teams in the second half as they looked to plug away at the three-point deficit. Grace Clifford registered her first of the day before they somehow put the ball in the net. Clifford found herself on the end of some impressive play from the Kildare forward. Her shot was well saved by Eimear Barry, but the rebound bounced off an on-rushing Neasa Dooley and found its way to the back of the net.
Kildare almost had another goal just two minutes later, when Eimear Barry was beaten by a powerful shot but Clodagh Dunne did excellently to get back on the line and save.
Player of the match, Amy Potts
Two Nerney frees for Laois put them back in front and they carried a one-point advantage into the second water break with the game looking likely to go down to the wire.
Kildare levelled the game from a Lara Curran free soon after the water break, but Laois responded almost immediately. Laura Nerney and Jane Moore broke up the field at pace, and Nerney did brilliantly to find Sarah Anne Fitzgerald who calmly slotted to the net.
Laois had a second goal moments later when Mo Nerney was quickest to react to a loose ball in the small rectangle and she made no mistake in burying the ball to net to give Laois a six point lead with just under eight to play.
It looked as if Laois would push on, but Kildare were handed a lifeline when Neasa Dooley found a way past a number of Laois bodies on the goal line with a powerful free reduce the lead to just three.
It was set up for a grand slam finished and when Erone Fitzpatrick and Curran traded points, it left three in it, with two left to play. Neassa Dooley’s goal with two minutes left to play levelled it as the game looked destined for extra time.
However, Laois broke at pace and Jane Moore’s powerful run through the centre again teed up Mo Nerney and in typical Nerney fashion, she coolly slotted the ball over the bar, to carry her side over the line and into Division Two for 2022.
SCORERS BELOW LINK:
LAOIS: Mo Nerney 1-5 (0-2F), Sarah Anne Fitzgerald 1-1 (0-1F), Erone Fitzpatrick, Eva Galvin, Fiona Dooley, Rachel Williams all 0-1 each.
KILDARE: Lara Curran 0-5 (three frees), Grace Clifford 1-1, Neasa Dooley 1-0 (1-0 free)
LAOIS: Eimear Barry; Clodagh Dunne, Amy Potts, Aimee Kelly; Rachel Williams, Ellen Healy, Laura Nerney; Fiona Dooley, Jane Moore; Anna Healy, Eva Galvin, Erone Fitzpatrick; Mo Nerney, Sarah Anne Fitzgerald, Alannah Havill. Subs: Orla Hennessy for Williams (inj) and Leah Tarpey for Havill (both 35), Joyce Dunne for Dooley (40), Andrea Moran for Fitzgerald (50), Aoife Kirrane for Galvin (55)
KILDARE: Dervla McGinn; Claire Sullivan, Laoise Lenehan, Mia Doherty; Lauren Murtagh, Lara Gilbert, Hazel McLoughlin; Siobhan O’Sullivan, Grainne Kenneally; Ciara Wheeler, Lara Curran, Grace Clifford; Ellen Dowling, Neasa Dooley, Aoife Rattigan. Subs: Shauna Kendrick for Doherty and Triona Duggan for McLoughlin (both H/T), Mikaela McKenna for Wheeler (43), Orlaith Sullivan for Dowling (50), Caoimhe Fagan-Hynes for Murtagh (56)
REFEREE: Shane Curley (Galway)
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