A late point from substitute Iris Kennelly salvaged a well-deserved draw for Limerick ladies footballers against high-flying Offaly in Athea this Sunday afternoon. (Final Score: Limerick 2-9 Offaly 1-12)
Limerick fought right to the bitter end in search of their second win of the season, in what has been a Division 4 campaign of mixed fortunes so far, having trailed by two points with minutes to go.
Goals from Kathleen Bradshaw and Louise Ryan were enough to earn Limerick a share of the spoils.
A superb goal from the impressive Ryan had put Limerick ahead for the first time with 13 minutes remaining but Offaly fought back immediately to set up an exciting finish to the game.
It was a slow start to the game but Marie Byrne broke the deadlock in the fifth minute to give the visitors the lead.
Moments later Aine Cunningham and Katie Heelan linked up well but Bradshaw’s resulting effort was saved by Lauren Dunne to deny Limerick the opening goal.
Limerick’s first score of the game in the ninth minute came through a well-worked point from Cathy Mee who finished off a domination period for Donal Ryan’s side.
Mee grabbed a second minutes later but her effort kick-started Offaly into a 15-minute period when the visiting side scored five points without response.
Heelan hit the crossbar and her shot went over for a point to give the hosts a much-needed score as half-time fast approached - 0-7 to 0-3 in favour of Offaly.
The in-form Rebecca McDonnell had her hand passed effort on goal cleared off the line by Rebekah Daly before Limerick went up the other end of the pitch to find the back of the net.
Heelan had her shot on goal blocked but Bradshaw reacted quickest to give Limerick a much-need boost, narrowing the deficit to just a point at the break.
Offaly recorded the first two points of the second half and it took Limerick nine minutes to get off the mark again as Amy Ryan slotted over from close-range.
Limerick trailed by two points when Ryan fought off her marker to lay the ball off to Louise Ryan.
Ryan showed composure as she beared down on goal before blasting into the top corner to give Limerick the narrowest of leads for the first time of the afternoon.
Offaly showed their class to edge two points ahead with just two minutes to go.
A goal from Amy Gavin Mangan swung the momentum back in Offaly’s favour against a tiring home side but Limerick showed great character in the dying moments.
Donal Ryan’s charges didn’t give up and a free from Mee followed by a score from out wide by substitute Kennelly made it a draw game as Limerick’s high pressing game eventually paid off.
Limerick face a tough trip to Leitrim in two weeks time in a bid to keep their National League dreams alive.
LIMERICK: Cathy Mee 0-6 (four frees); Kathleen Bradshaw 1-0; Louise Ryan 1-0; Iris Kennelly, Katie Heelan, Amy Ryan 0-1 each
OFFALY: Amy Gavin Mangan 1-1; Rebecca McDonnell 0-3 (two frees); Marie Byrne, Emma Maher, Chloe Sheridan, Aoife Carey 0-2 each.
LIMERICK: Sophie Hennessy; Charlotte Walsh, Maedbh McCarthy, Rebekah Daly; Shauna Ryan, Niamh McCarthy (capt.), Caroline Hickey; Megan O’Shea, Rachel O’Dell; Aine Cunningham, Cathy Mee, Louise Ryan; Katie Heelan, Amy Ryan, Kathleen Bradshaw.
Subs: Meadbh McNamara for Rebekah Daly (37 mins), Iris Kennelly for Kathleen Bradshaw (42 mins), Andrea O’Sullivan for Racel O’Dell (47 mins),
OFFALY: Lauren Dunne; Nicole Farrelly, Orla Whelan, Emer Nally; Eimear Flynn, Katie Kehoe, Annie Kehoe (capt.); Amy Gavin Mangan, Katie Guinan; Roisin Ennis, Emma Maher, Chloe Sheridan; Marie Byrne, Rebecca McDonnell, Aoife Carey.
Subs: Sarah Cummins for Aoife Carey (44 mins), Tara Dunne for Katie Guinan (49 mins).
Referee: Austin O Connell (Galway)