The Louth girls Under-16s got their Leinster League campaign off to a disappointing start with a defeat to a strong Longford side.
After two impressive displays in challenge matches against Armagh and Monaghan, expectations were high within the squad but they never really got going during this encounter in Dowdallshill.
Louth’s first shooting opportunity came in the fifth minute, with Emily Norton firing wide.
But a strong Longford outfit got straight back on the attack scoring two points from their next two openings showing their strength in attack.
Longford hit another wide a minute later and then the Louth attack mounted a three minute period of pressure where they created four good shooting chances.
Unfortunately for the girls three of these were fired wide and the fourth produced a great save from Shannon Woods in the Longford goal.
Louth suffered a further blow immediately after conceding as Lauren Meehan was forced off with a wrist injury. After the stop in play Longford kept up the pressure on the Louth defence adding another point and forcing goalkeeper Nicole Sheerin into two outstanding saves. Louth’s account was then opened by Aoife Halligan. Luck was on the Roche girl’s side as she found the back of the net, via the post, from all of 40 yards out.
Both sides then exchanged wides before Aine Breen doubled Louth’s tally with a powerful strike, to put Louth ahead for the first time in the match. It seemed at this stage that Louth might start to take control of the game but then Longford rallied and scored 2-4 in a five minute period where the Louth team couldn’t keep in touch with them. Eibhlin Rice reduced the deficit with a well taken goal after a good solo run.
Longford then added two more points before half time to leave Louth trailing by seven points at the break. Louth were offered a brief reprieve shortly after the second half got under-way when Longford’s Aoife Darcy was sin-binned for retaliating to having her shirt pulled. Sarah Fagan led the charge for Louth, scoring two points either side of a well taken goal.
Longford however scored a goal of their own before trading points with Louth with Aoife Murtagh on target for the wee county, leaving the score at 4-3 to 3-11 as Longford returned to their full contingent.
Over the next ten minutes of play Louth added two more points, one through Aoife Murtagh, and a free kick converted by Lisa McDonald, with both sides having difficulty finding the target. Then, with 14 minutes to go, Longford scored a goal which seemed to take the wind out of the Louth team.
Five minutes later, Aoife Murtagh was taken down, for a penalty, after a superb run from the half forward line.
Unfortunately this was to be Aoife’s last involvement in the match as she was forced off with an ankle injury, the fifth Louth injury on the day. To add insult to injury the Longford keeper produced a great save to keep out the penalty and Longford ran out winners.
Louth: Nicole Sheerin (St Brides), Jessica Browne (St Mochta’s), Samantha Newman (Newtown Blues), Sarah Brennan (Geraldines), Lisa McDonald (Stabannon Parnells), Kathy O’Reilly (Dowdallshill), Lauren Meehan (Roche Emmets), Eimear Murray (St Kevin’s), Rebecca Carr (Geraldines), Aine Breen (St Patrick’s), Aoife Halligan (Roche Emmets), Sarah Fagan (St Brides), Emily Norton (Dowdallshill), Aoife Murtagh (St Mary’s), Eibhlin Rice (Cooley Kickhams)
Subs: Christine Carolan (St Mochta’s) for L Meehan (13mins), Rebecca Carolan (Glen Emmets) for E Norton (41mins), Katie Flynn (St Fechin’s) for A Halligan (45mins), Tara McGivern (Roche Emmets) for N Sheerin (48mins), Lauren McFaul (Geraldines) for L McDonald (50mins), Roisin McCullough (Dreadnots) for A Murtagh (51mins), Aideen McGahon (Dowdallshill) for E Murray (53mins), Amy Dalton (Geraldines) for J Browne (55mins), Dearbhile Osborne (Naomh Fionnbarra), Niamh Murray (St Kevin’s), Shannon Begley (Dowdallshill), Chloe Watters (Clan na Gael)