Roche Emmets/Na Piarsaigh's Lauren Meehan helped her side to this morning's Halpenny Travel Louth LGFA SFC victory over Cooley Kickhams. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Halpenny Travel Louth LGFA SFC
Roche Emmets/Na Piarsaigh 2-15 Cooley Kickhams 0-12
Roche Emmets/Na Piarsaigh overcome a slow start to the second half in deservedly recording a shock win over holders Cooley Kickhams at Páirc de Róiste on Sunday morning.
The hosts had taken a 2-7 to six lead to the interval, though Kickhams hit five unanswered points at the beginning of the second period to leave Roche nerves on edge.
But the winners were worthy of a second championship victory on the bounce, following a strong finish, while Cooley will acknowledge that improvement is needed ahead of their victor-takes-all clash with St. Kevin’s in the next round, having failed to lead at any stage here.
County stars Lauren Boyle (8) and Niamh Rice (4) accounted for all of their team’s total, whereas Roche had a more significant spread of contributors.
The first goal came with the match deadlocked at 0-3 apiece, a barnstorming run by Aoife Halligan resulting in a penalty from which Sarah McArdle slid low past Coirin Rice.
Indeed, the whistler, inter-county panellist Paul Burke, was the focal point of Cooley’s frustration; the champions often making their displeasure at his officiating be known.
But, in truth, the Glen Emmets man certainly wasn’t the difference and Roche can contend that the second of their sin-bins was, indeed, extremely harsh; Niamh Callan having merely stood her ground as Boyle attacked in possession. At a crucial, late juncture, Roche having to play with 13 players - after Lauren Meehan had been ushered off - for a spell could have altered the outcome.
The move of the affair produced Emmets’ second major. A turnover picked up in her own half by Callan was sent the way of Halligan, who picked out midfield partner Louise Byrne and the diminutive No.9 sweetly picked her spot in the corner of the net.
Having only returned to action in recent weeks, Caroline O’Neill was hugely effective in the home side’s forward division, while Aisling Begley matched O’Neill’s 0-3 tally in equally as impressive fashion.
A purple patch shortly after the restart suggested that Cooley were beginning to find the type of form which delivered the ultimate glory last October. However, admirably, Roche recovered after Jenni McCourt's introduction, the forward registering four-pointed frees as her team settled into a groove which saw them prevail comfortably, with Cooley scoring only once across the final 20 minutes of the game.
Roche Emmets/Na Piarsaigh: Claire McCann; Katie Halligan, Fiona Levins, Lauren Meehan; Aisling Sloan, Niamh Callan, Caoimhe Treanor; Aoife Halligan, Louise Byrne (1-1); Sarah McArdle (1-3, 1-0 penalty), Tracey Rogers, Aisling Begley (0-3); Caoimhe Maxwell, Dearbhla Begley (0-1), Caroline O'Neill (0-3)
Subs: Jenni McCourt (0-4, frees), Ana Murphy
Cooley Kickhams: Coirin Rice; Debbie Malone, Lisa McCarragher, Shauna Murphy; Renee McGlynn, Orlagh McGuigan, Aoife Treanor; Laura Grills, Claire Donnelly; Lauren Boyle (0-8, three frees), Laura Treanor, Niamh Rice (0-4, one free); Leane Tuohy, Eibhlin Rice, Megan Ferguson
Sub: Aoife McDaid
Referee: Paul Burke (Glen Emmets)