LOUTH Ladies face another year in the NFL Division Four after losing their semi-final against Roscommon in an absorbing game in Kingspan Breffni Park.
Louth led by two points at half time but Roscommon got the better of the first twenty minutes of the second half where they scored an unanswered 2-09, at which stage the tie was virtually decided. Louth however showed a measure of pride and true grit in the latter stages, scoring 1-2 while attempting to pull back the deficit, going for goals only and pinning Roscommon back.
The home side only scored one point in the final ten minutes at which stage they were under a virtual siege from Louth.
Roscommon took an early lead through Cliodhna McHugh, but Louth replied immediately, advancing downfield as Tara Lynch pointed.
Spectators had to wait till the eighth minute of play for another score with Sarah Finnerty of Roscommon pointing from a free. Louth did not have to wait long though for the equaliser with Jenny McGuinness putting the ball over the bar on ten minutes after fine approach work by Tara Lynch and Susan Byrne.
Within a minute Louth took the lead for the first time with Jenny McGuinness again firing over the bar.
The game again flowed from end to end without score until the 19th minute when Jenny McGuinness popped up to point after a rushed clearance from Bridgetta Menton in the Roscommon goal leaving the score at 0-4 to 0-2. This followed a missed attempt at goal after a strong run by Emma Conlon from a beautiful cross field pass by Patricia Marmion
Throughout the first half both defences held out strongly with Louth’s back line of Patsy McGuinness, Sandra Lynch and Aine McGee forcing Roscommon into hurried inaccurate shooting when they threatened.
For most of the first half Anne Marie Lynch , Grace Lynch and Patricia Marmion in the half back line along with the their backs confidently snuffed out the Roscommon play and provided support to Grace Rogers and Rosanna Heeney in midfield. On the few occasions that Roscommon breached the Louth defence Kelly Cunningham in goal was there to tidy up and start a fresh attack from the back. Their fluidity of play opened up opportunities for their forwards on numerous occasions with Michelle McMahon and Maria Reid continually worrying the Roscommon defence with their movement.
On 21 minutes Louth had a slice of good fortune when a free taken by Emma Conlon on the 45 bounced over the Roscommon goalkeeper into the net. Roscommon replied a minute later with a point and soon after they made the best of a mishit pass to fire over again, leaving it 1-4 to 0-4 at half time.
a mishit Roscommon free in midfield by Sinead Cooney was collected by Sarah Finnerty and put straight over the bar to leave the score 1-04 to 0-05 at half time.
The second half began similar to the first half with Roscommon scoring from their first attack with Emer Casey pointing directly from the throw in. On this occasion Louth failed to reply and Roscommon dominated for the next twenty minutes.
Louth played well and were unfortunate with a few opportunities but Roscommon were definitely in the ascendency.
After three minutes Cliodhna McHugh put the ball in the back of the Louth net putting Roscommon back in the lead on a score of 1-6 to 1-4. Seven points followed before McHugh again found the Louth net with an unstoppable shot on 50 minutes which once again gave Kelly Cunningham no chance.
In an effort to change Louth’s fortunes Ciara O’Connor had been introduced for Maria Reid on 45 minutes and Niamh Reid for Grace Rogers on 48 minutes. Jenny Downey added another point for Roscommon to leave the score at 2-14 to 1-4 before Louth finally saw a reward for their efforts.
On 52 minutes Susan Byrne netted after a strong individual effort and Ciara O’Connor followed up with a point after good work by Emma Conlon and Grace Lynch. Louth continued to push hard to get back into the game and were rewarded with a point by Emma Conlon. This was to be the last score for Louth as they pressed for goals knowing that that was the only way to have any chance in the latter stages.
Roscommon got the last point of the game to leave the final score 2-15 to 2-06.
The day was to be Roscommon’s but the Louth team can be proud of their achievements to date and can look forward positively to the Championship later in the season.
LOUTH: Kelly Cunningham (Dreadnots); Patsy McGuinness (Cooley Kickhams), Sandra Lynch (Geraldines), Aine McGee; Anne-Marie Lynch, Grace Lynch (Stabannon Parnells) Patricia Marmion (Cooley Kickhams); Rosanna Heeney (Roche Emmets), Grace Rogers (Stabannon Parnells); Susan Byrne (St Kevin’s) Tara Lynch (Stabannon Parnells), Emma Conlon (St. Mary’s); Jenny McGuinness (Stabannon Parnells), Michelle McMahon, Maria Reid (St Mary’s).
Subs: Kate Flood (St Patrick’s) for Michelle McMahon, Ciara O’Connor (Dowdallshill) for Maria Reid, Niamh Reid (St Mary’s) for Grace Rogers.