LIMERICK ladies football team missed out their chance for some silverware on Sunday when they lost 1-15 to 1-8 to Longford in the NFL Division 4 final.
Limerick, as slight underdogs, looked the sharper of the two teams in the opening half. After a promising start with points from Catriona Davis, Caroline Hickey and Dymphna O Brien, it appeared that Limerick had the measure of Longford.
However, were it not for the goalkeeping heroics of Martina Giltenane, Limerick would have been well behind at half time. Martina’s sister Rosie found herself being sin binned after 10 minutes and this allowed Longford to steady their ship and overcome their nervous opening period.
The concession of several frees by Limerick in the first half helped Longford to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Limerick opted for shots on goal when tagging on points might have been the better option but further points through Claire O’Riordan, Dymphna O’Brien and Joanne O’Gorman helped them to a 0-6 to 0-5 lead at the break.
Limerick almost had a goal straight from the throw-in of the second half but a cracking shot from midfielder Niamh Richardosn hit the cross bar when it looked to be heading for the back of the net. This let Longford off the hook and Limerick were left wondering what might have transpired if Longford had fallen four points behind at this juncture.
Limerick continued to trouble their opponents and Catriona Davis shot for goal, when a point was the smarter option. Longford shot a poor wide from a free before converting one through Claire Green 10 minutes into the second half, to level the game. This was followed three minutes later by a decisive score as Michelle Farrell outsmarted the Limerick to hit a fine shot past the despairing dive of Martina Giltenane.
Limerick hadn’t recorded a score in the third quarter but a mis-kick by Claire O’Riordan found its way to Dymphna O Brien who coolly side-stepped her two markers to plant the ball in the corner of the net.
Sub Roisin Browne pointed with her first attempt on goal to put Limerick ahead by one point, with 11 minutes left to play. Stephanie Carroll replaced Mai Kenneally and made an immediate impact with some probing runs and managed to score a point to level matters after Longford had scored two points at the other end.
But this was to be Limerick’s final score as Longford dominated the closing proceedings as they scored seven points from frees and some fine points from play, without a Limerick reply, in the closing 10 minutes.
SCORERS - Limerick: D O Brien 1-2, J O Gorman 0-1, C Davis 0-1, C O Riordan 0-1, S Carroll 0-1, R Browne 0-1, C Hickey 0-1
LIMERICK - Martina Giltenane (Mungret); Emma McGuire (St. Ailbes), Alva Neary (Old Mill), Rosie Giltenane (Mungret); Carla Sheehy (Athea), Yvette Moynihan (Mungret), Janet Garvey (Fr Caseys); Niamh Richardson (Monaleen); Joanne O Gorman (Drom Broadford); Paula Donnelly (St Ailbes), Caroline Hickey (St Ailbes), Mai Keanelly (Old Mill); Catriona Davis (Gerald Griffins), Dymphna O Brien (Gerald Griffins), Claire O’Riordan (Monagea). Subs Used: Olivia Giltenane (Mungret St Pauls), Roisin Browne (Monagea)