Bord Gáis Energy Ladies National Football League Division 4 Final – Longford 1-15 Limerick 1-8

Bord Gáis Energy Ladies National Football League Division 4 final round-up

By Jackie Cahill

Longford 1-15 Limerick 1-8

LONGFORD manager Diane O’Hora admitted that her substitutions proved crucial in Sunday’s Bord Gáis Energy Ladies National Football League Division 4 final victory over Limerick at O’Connor Park, Tullamore.

Michelle Farrell came off the bench to score the vital second half goal and fellow sub Paula Kenny scored three points as the midlanders finally saw off the dogged challenge of Limerick to seal promotion to Division 3.

Longford, who had a seven-point haul from Claire Greene, were a point down at half-time, 0-5 to 0-6, having dropped no fewer than six balls into the hands of Limerick goalkeeper Martina Giltenane.

But Longford were far more clinical in the second half and a run of six unanswered point in the final ten minutes floored the Shannonsiders, who had a haul of 1-2 from ace forward Dymphna O’Brien.

O’Hora, a former All-Ireland senior medallist with Mayo, reflected: “There were a lot of nerves in the camp before the game and we didn’t do the simple things right in the first half, which was frustrating. Limerick worked very hard and defended very deep – we weren’t able to cope with that.

“It took us some time to get settled as well but we completely settled after five or ten minutes in the second half and played our normal football.

“The changes we made were crucial and came at the right time. The girls that came on did the right things.”

Limerick are consigned to another season of Division 4 football as this year, a ‘one up, one down’ system is in operation.

And O’Hora admitted: “With only one team going up, that put awful pressure on us.”

Limerick manager Ann Eager believes that it’s an “absolute tragedy” that her team won’t be playing Division 3 football along with Longford next year.

The Kerry native reflected: “We were right in it until about eight minutes to go. We had a spell where we lost concentration and things went pear shaped. Then we had too much to make up but in fairness to our girls, you couldn’t fault them. They gave it absolutely everything and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Eager added: “It’s an absolute tragedy that we’re not going up. I think two should go up and Diane said that too after the match.”

Meanwhile, Catherine Murphy announced her retirement from the intercounty game following Limerick’s defeat.

The Mungret/St Pauls player is stepping down after 20 years in the county shirt.

Scorers for Limerick: D O’Brien 1-2, C O’Riordan 0-2, C Davis, R Browne, J O’Gorman & S Carroll 0-1 each.

Scorers for Longford: C Greene 0-7f, M Farrell 1-0, P Kenny 0-3, A.M. Bratton 0-2, J Brady, L Farrell & A Reynolds 0-1 each.

Match Preview

Longford v Limerick

By Jackie Cahill

LONGFORD Ladies senior football team manager Diane O’Hora believes that the feel-good factor engulfing the county can inspire her team to victory in next Sunday’s Bord Gáis Energy National Football League Division 4 final against Limerick. Longford football is riding the crest of a wave following the success of the senior men’s team in last Saturday’s Division 3 NFL decider at Croke Park.

And O’Hora, a former All-Ireland senior medallist with Mayo, hopes that her players can be inspired by their male counterparts in the quest for silverware. O’Hora said: “There’s great interest at the moment, especially after the men won the Division 3 final, and they won Division 4 last year. All of the girls went up to support them last Saturday. Yvonne Barden has brothers (Paul and David) on the team, Edel Quinn has a brother (Michael) and Marie Brady’s brother (Dermot) was corner back. “I definitely think it’s a good opportunity to ride the crest of a positive wave. It’s very exciting and with the men doing so well, the girls would like to think that they can achieve something as well. Getting out of Division 4 and into Division 3 is the ultimate incentive for them.”

At O’Connor Park in Tullamore next Sunday, the stakes are higher for the Ladies as, unlike the men, just one team gets promoted from Division 4. And with three players facing fitness tests, O’Hora insists that her players are up against it, despite a 2-11 to 0-9 victory over Limerick earlier in the season.

She explained: “We can’t afford to take our eye off the ball – Limerick are a very strong team, a very good footballing side. And they’re tipped to win the All-Ireland intermediate title this year. This will be the hardest game that our girls have played this year. “But that’s the pressure – it’s winner takes all, no second chance after Sunday. You’ve got the mettle for it or you don’t. We’ll find out our true colours and how good we really are, and what we need to work on going forward.”

Limerick boss Ann Eager, meanwhile, has insisted that Longford are “overwhelming favourites” for victory as the mind games begin in earnest. The Kerry native said: “It’s a final and I’m delighted to be there because I only took over in January. Anything can happen on the day but to be honest, we would be underdogs. I know they beat us a good while ago but they would be overwhelming favourites for this. We have a good bit of work done and if we’re good enough, we should win it but if not, we won’t be found wanting in terms of effort.” Eager insisted: “I think both teams should be going up to Divisoin 3 – it’s disappointing and it’s the same with the Division 2 final, with Mayo and Galway there. Both of those teams deserve to go up but that’s the way the system is now and we have nothing to lose. Going by the results to date, everybody expects Longford to win it. They won their semi-final very convincingly (against Offaly) while we won ours by just a point (0-8 to 0-7 against Louth).”