Louth travelled to Derry to open their Lidl National League Division Four campaign on Sunday.
The game was switched from Celtic Park in Derry to Dungiven and played on the all weather surface at Owen Beg due to the poor weather conditions over the weekend.
With the game being played in rain soaked conditions, making handling difficult throughout, it was a credit to both teams to see a game played with such fluidity on the day.
Louth will have harder games this season but they showed a sense of accomplishment in their play and showed an accuracy in front of goal with a high percentage of scores from attempted efforts.
The Wee County got off to the perfect start with a goal within the first minute from full forward Kate Flood and they continued the pressure throughout, scoring 4-10 in the first half and another 4-8 in the second.
Within a minute the Reds showed their ability to move the ball with Susan Byrne taking the ball in midfield and finding Rebecca Carr who passed forward to Flood who played in captain Paula Murray to point. Carr then increased the lead with a straight run though the Derry defence before pointing from distance. A minute later Paula Murray was fed by Alanna Conlon and finished the ball to the net.
The Reds defence held firm throughout and were forcing Derry to play deeper as the game progressed with Aine Breen playing almost as a third midfielder. The pressure told on Derry as they conceded a free on the edge of the 20 metre line which Flood converted with ease.
Derry began to come more into the game and in the 11th minute they earned a free which Aoife Laverty failed to convert. Louth made them pay as they worked the ball upfield with Ciara O’Connor pointing, followed quickly by a point from Alanna Conlon.
It took till the 15th minute for Derry to register their first score with Annie Crozier pointing from a free. Undeterred, Louth continued playing their attacking game with points from Paula Murray and Rebecca Carr following before Derry’s Ciara Moore scored their second point on 20 minutes.
Again this spurred Louth forward and after constant pressure they were awarded a penalty in the 22nd minute which Flood placed just wide of Derry’s right hand post.
This did not unsettle the Reds at all as they continued pressuring Derry and before long Rebecca Carr found the back of the net.
Derry were spurred into action themselves and converted two points in quick succession but Louth finished the half with points from Emma Singleton, Susan Byrne and Paula Murray and a second goal from Kate Flood leaving the score 4-10 to 0-4 at the break.
Derry began the second half with intent, pointing from the throw in, but the Reds applied immediate pressure as soon as they got the ball with Paula Murray finishing to the net before Rebecca Carr won the resulting kick out and advanced to again find the net for the Reds.
A minute later Alanna Conlon got her goal after further sustained pressure and a minute later Conlon scored again, pointing after good work from Susan Byrne in the fourth minute of the half.
On five minutes the Louth management began to ring the changes giving them an opportunity to look at new members to the squad. The Reds kept the momentum going with Aine Breen pointing and Emma McArdle getting her first score on 11 minutes. A minute later Flood added another point from a free.
Louth then made another change as Hannah O’Neill came on for Kelly Gaffney with management reorganising team positions. On resumption Paula Murray pointed from a free.
Louth kept the pressure on with Catherine McGlew playing a one two with Flood and pointing from in front of goal.
Derry added two points from frees but with three minutes left to play Tracey Rogers finished the Louth scoring with a goal and Beth Heaney replying with a goal for Derry with the last kick of the game.
Due to unavailability of players from last season and work commitments on the day Louth started with three players, Rebecca Howell, Kelly Gaffney and Catherine McGlew making their debuts. They played with conviction and the introduction of substitutes Tracy Rogers, Christine Carolan, Shannon White, Emma McArdle and Eimear Curtin also making their debuts suggests good things to come with an increasing depth to the squad.
LOUTH LADIES: Una Pearson (Alannah Finn), Janine Kelly, Michelle McMahon, Aine Breen (0-1), Emma Singleton (0-1) (Eimear Curtin), Eimear Murray, Rebecca Howell (Shannon White), Kelly Gaffney (Hannah O’Neill), Rebecca Carr (2-2), Paula Murray (2-4, 1f), Susan Byrne (0-1) (Tracy Rogers (1-0), Alanna Conlon (1-2) (Emma McArdle (0-2)), Ciara O’Connor (0-1) (Christine Carolan (0-1)), Kate Flood (2-2, 0-2f) (Emily Norton), Catherine McGlew (0-1).