All Ireland ladies football champions Limerick suffer narrow league loss to Carlow

Jerome O'Connell


Jerome O'Connell


All Ireland ladies football champions Limerick suffer narrow league loss to Carlow

Limerick centre back Olivia Giltenane breaks past a Carlow challenge

A first defeat for Limerick since winning the All-Ireland junior Ladies Football Championship in Croke Park last September.

It finished Limerick 2-9, Carlow 4-4.

But the John Ryan managed Limerick will look back on his round two Division Four Lidl league tie and think they could very well have added to their round one win over Louth.

But crucially Limerick were down five of the starting team from All-Ireland final day for this defeat to Carlow in Askeaton.

These sides met in the round robin phase of the All-Ireland last Summer and Limerick were big 6-10 to 1-3 winners.

But Carlow made a pre-season signal of intent when appointing 2010 Dublin All-Ireland senior Ladies Football Championship winning manager Gerry McGill to lead their charge. 

They defeated Kilkenny in round one and now took the scalp of the All-Ireland champions.

In the end, the difference between the teams was Bennekerry-Tinryland corner forward Lauren Dwyer who finished with a personal tally of four goals and a point.

At half time it was 1-3 to 0-2 to the visitors to Limerick.

Limerick were first off the mark with a Mairead Kavanagh point but they weren’t to score again for over 30-minutes until an injury time Catriona Davis free.

In between there was much to be positive about for Limerick but the final pass never seemed to find it’s target. Overall, Limerick went to half time without threatening the Carlow goal enough – just one wide to add to the two points.

At the other end, Lauren Dwyer had already announced her intentions with 1-1.

All could have been different had a Katie Heelan effort in first half injury time found the net. The pint-sized attacker lofted from the right of goal and the ball appeared destined to nestle in the net just inside the post but alas it struck the upright and then bounced back into play off the goalkeeper’s knee.

So a four point interval deficit to make up for Limerick and matters got worse within a minute of the restart when Lauren Dwyer had her second goal – a fortitious goal that the Limerick goalkeeper would have hoped to keep out.

The Limerick response was impressive though and they went straight up the field when Davis was fouled for a penalty. She dispatched with aplomb to the net to leave it 2-3 to 1-3.

Caroline Hickey reduced the lead soon after but a goal could have been in the offering for the St Ailbes midfieder.

At the other end, there was a goal and again it was Dwyer. There appeared to be some confusion in the Limerick rearguard but Dwyer’s effort ended up in the net with the referee confirming he had played advantage. The lead now seven points for Carlow.

Once more Limerick showed great character and two Davis frees came in reply. The Monagea sharpshooter was then sin-binned for 10-minutes but the Limerick fightback continued.

As the game entered it’s final quarter Limerick earned another penalty – this time Hickey fouled and with Davis off the field of play, captain Cathy Mee coolly tucked-away the penalty.

When substitute Kristy Carroll added a point, Limerick had reduced the deficit 2-6 to 3-4.

But up the field went Carlow and Dwyer found another goal – their only score in the final 21-minutes of the game.

Maire Lyons in the Limerick goal saved the first effort but the rebound fell kindly for the Carlow corner forward who stretched their lead back out to four points with 10-minutes to play.

Limerick didn’t throw in the towel and Katie Heelan hit back with a point.

Davis added another two frees and Limerick were primed for the great escape again.

In injury time there was almost a winning goal but when the Carlow goalkeeper failed to deal with a free into her goalmouth, there was a defender on hand to clear the danger and deny Limerick last gasp drama.

SCORERS: Limerick: Catriona Davis 1-5 (1-0pen, 0-5frees), Cathy Mee 1-0 (pen), Mairead Kavanagh, Caroline Hickey, Katie Heelan and Kristy Carroll 0-1 each. Carlow: Lauren Dwyer 4-1, Cliodhna Na She 0-2 (2frees), Edel Hayden 0-1.

LIMERICK: Maire Lyons; Ciara Ryan, Sarah O’Sullivan, Kristine Reidy; Megan O’Shea, Olivia Giltenane, Cathy Mee; Loretta Hanley, Caroline Hickey; Cliona Na Cheallaigh, Mairead Kavanagh, Katie Heelan; Ava Hartigan, Catriona Davis, Andrea O’Sullivan. Subs: Kristy Carroll for Mairead Kavanagh (h-t), Eimear Kirby for Cliodhna Na Cheallaigh (45mins).

CARLOW: Niamh Hanley; Aoife Hayden, Anne Roche, Laura Corrigan; Maria Kinsella, Nuala Mohan, Ciara Mullins; Antoinette Dowling, Michelle Dermody; Niamh Forde, Edel Hayden, Ellen Atkinson; Maria Hayden, Cliodhna Ni She, Lauren Dwyer. Subs: Rosin Byrne for Maria Hayden (28mins), Leah Mullins for Laura Corrigan (35mins), Laura Regan for Lauren Dwyer (59mins).

REFEREE: Shane Curley (Galway).