A goal three minutes into injury time, by Waterford full forward Aoife Murray, put paid to a gallant fight back by Laois U-14’s in this All-Ireland Ladies Football semi-final played in Bagnalstown on Saturday.
It was a particularly difficult outcome to stomach as Laois had just fought their way back to level terms as the game passed the 60 minute mark and looked like holding out for at least a replay. The result was a disappointing end to great run, stretching back to the early Spring, which culminated in Laois overcoming Kildare to take the Leinster title in early May.
Saturday’s performance by the Laois girls never reached their expected standard and few would argue that the best team won on the day. The Laois forwards had an off day and failed to operate as a unit, consistently taking wrong options and kicking away numerous scoring opportunities. The game was a dour contest dominated by the respective defences ,with both sets of forwards finding it difficult.
After 15 minutes the score stood at one point each, by half time Waterford led by 0-4 to 0-3, which was still the case with 15 minutes left to play. Ciara Hurley and Emma Power then pushed the Southerners ahead with two excellent points but Lauren Kearney converted a free for Laois which was cancelled out by Kate McGrath to leave Waterford with a comfortable cushion as the game eased into injury time.
Most of the excitement of the game was condensed into the injury time period. Firstly a promising O’Moore’s move started by Orla Carroll was carried on through Laura Peake who fed Kimberley Webster and the full forward gave Caoimhe Veale no chance to level the game. Seconds later Laois got an opportunity for a win as substitute Liz Brophy collected the kick out but failed to find the target.
Waterford then worked the ball up the field from the next kick out and Aoife Murray made no mistake. While the Laois forwards were generally off form on the day Caoimhe Lalor, Lauren Kearney and Kimberley Webster never gave up trying. At the other end the Laois backs were excellent and defended like demons. Lisa Daly was outstanding and in front of her full back Maeve Phelan was a tower of strength throughout with Orla Carroll and Victoria Byrne also impressive.
Scores: K. Webster(1-1), L. Kearney (0-2), C. Lalor (0-1).
Team: Lisa Daly, Lorna Butler, Maeve Phelan, Deirdre Phelan, Victoria Byrne, Orla Carroll, Nicole Havill, Marie Byrne, Laura Peake, Caoimhe Lalor, Lauren Kearney, Alanna Havill, Niamh Coss, Kimberley Webster, Ciara Ward. Subs: Mikaela Kelly, Ailbhe Lacey, Eimear Kelly, Jenny Smith, Elanna Elgard, Sinead Ryan, Caitriona Crosby, Emily Moore, Rebecca Maher, Maeve Phelan, Liz Brophy, Emma Murphy, Aideen O’Neill, Orla Lyons.