All-Ireland Ladies Football Junior Championship Final – Limerick 4-10 Louth 3-8

Limerick defeated Louth by 4-10 to 3-8 in the All-Ireland Ladies Football Junior Championship Final on Sunday at Croke Park.

TG4 All-Ireland Ladies junior football championship final

Limerick 4-10 Louth 3-8

by Jackie Cahill at Croke Park

LIMERICK came from six points down at half-time to claim the All-Ireland ladies junior football championship crown against Louth at Croke Park on Sunday.

The Shannonsiders, beaten finalists against Antrim last year, came storming back in the second half, having trailed by 1-4 to 3-4 at the break.

Tommy Stack’s charges completed a remarkable turnaround in the second half, outscoring Louth by 3-6 to 0-4 as the West County Hotel Cup was secured in emphatic style.

This success marks a very first All-Ireland Ladies football crown for Limerick in the adult ranks and they will now make the step up to the intermediate grade in 2011.

Ultimately, it was the scoring prowess of Marie-Claire Curtin and Dymphna O’Brien that settled an exciting Croke Park decider, as the lethal pair hit 3-10 between them.

Curtin finished up with 2-5, including 1-4 in the second half, while sensational full-forward O’Brien took her championship tally to 13-39 with a 1-5 haul.

Clodagh Reidy completed the scoring for Limerick, beaten Bord Gáis Energy NFL Division 4 finalists this year, and it was the wing-forward’s stunning goal four minutes into the second half which sparked a spirited revival.

Having cruised into the final with four comfortable victories, Limerick received their stiffest test of the entire season as Louth, who had come through arguably the tougher side of the draw, produced their best performance of the year.

2-1 from full-forward Anne-Marie Murphy helped to establish that six-point lead for the Leinster outfit while influential centre forward Kate Flood scored the other first half goal.

The sides were level at 0-2 apiece with 17 minutes on the watch before the game exploded into life when Murphy bagged two Louth goals in as many minutes.

Wing forwards Susan Byrne and Sandra Lynch combined to place Murphy for her first goal to hand Louth a 1-2 to 0-2 lead.

And within a minute, Murphy was fouled by experienced Limerick full-back Sandra Healy, who later went off injured, before picking herself up to convert the resultant 19th minute penalty.

Limerick badly needed a kick-start and they got it in fortuitous fashion in the 20th minute of a goal-filled spell as Curtin’s free from 30m drifted into the net over the head of Louth goalkeeper Caoimhe Breen at the Canal End.

Reidy went close to a second Limerick goal two minutes before half-time when her shot drifted just wide before Louth struck again at the perfect time, just seconds before the half-time hooter, for a third goal.

Lynch was involved again as her free was superbly fisted home by Flood to give Louth valuable breathing space at the midway point.

The second half was a different story, however, as Limerick piled on the pressure and Louth lost two players – corner back Aine McGee and wing forward Byrne – to yellow cards.

Limerick hit Louth with an unanswered 1-2 after half-time, the goal brilliantly smashed into the top corner at the Hill 16 end by Reidy in the 34th minute, before experienced midfielder Orlaith Kirk hit Louth’s opening point of the second half.

Back came Limerick with a 40th minute goal to take the lead for the first time in the match as O’Brien’s shot came off the crossbar and Curtin picked up the pieces from close range.

Now 3-6 to 3-5 clear, Limerick had a lead they would not relinquish and O’Brien put the icing on the cake six minutes from time when she slotted the ball into an empty net after Breen had tipped Reidy’s shot onto the post.

Scorers for Louth: A.M. Murphy 2-1 (1-0 pen), K Flood 1-2, O Kirk 0-2, S Byrne, M Reid (f) & C Page 0-1 each.

Scorers for Limerick: M.C. Curtin 2-5 (1-3f), D O’Brien 1-5 (0-2f), C Reidy (1-0).

LOUTH: C Breen; A McGee, S Quinn, G Lynch; P Marmion, A.M. Lynch, S McDonald; O Kirk, R Heaney; S Byrne, K Flood, S Lynch; M Reid, A.M. Murphy, C Page.

Subs: G Rogers for McDonald (36), G Mackin for Reid (41), L O’Neill for Marmion (41).

LIMERICK: C Murphy; M O’Brien, S Healy, A Neary; E McGuire, Y Moynihan, P Donnelly; E Enright, S Larkin; J Garvey, M Flanagan, C Reidy; J O’Gorman, D O’Brien, M.C. Curtin.

Subs: L Higgins for Healy (inj, 22), L Higgins for Garvey (39), O Giltenane for Moynihan (inj, 46).

Referee: J Niland (Sligo)

All-Ireland Ladies Football Intermediate Championship Final – Donegal 2-12 Waterford 0-16

Donegal defeated Waterford by 2-12 to 0-16 in the All-Ireland Ladies Football Intermediate Championship Final on Sunday at Croke Park.

TG4 All-Ireland Ladies intermediate football championship final

Donegal 2-12 Waterford 0-16

by Jackie Cahill at Croke Park….

LETHAL full-forward Yvonne McMonagle bagged 2-5 from play as Donegal claimed the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies intermediate football championship title at Croke Park on Sunday.

The north-westerners captured the Mary Quinn memorial cup with a hard-fought two-point victory against Munster champions Waterford, who were appearing in their very first All-Ireland since the senior decider in 2000.

Ulster champions Donegal will make the step up to the senior championship in 2011 and what a season it has been for Michael Naughton’s team, who added the All-Ireland crown to the Bord Gáis Energy National League Division 2 title.

Donegal repelled a spirited fightback from Waterford and came again with a strong surge midway through the second half to clinch the silverware.

Donegal led by two points at half-time, 1-7 to 0-8, and stretched that lead to five less than two minutes after the restart when McMonagle rattled home the second of her two brilliant goals.

McMonagle’s first, in the 22nd minute of the first half, was brilliantly finished at the Hill 16 end with her left foot and she cracked home her second with her right boot.

The Glenfin star’s ability to kick off both feet makes her so difficult to mark and this was an attacking display right out of the top drawer as all five of her points from play were textbook efforts.

One first half point from tight on the endline was worth the admission fee alone and McMonagle would go on to torment the Waterford defence in a roving commission.

Overall, 2003 All-Ireland junior champions Donegal created the better goal chances, five alone in the first half.

Eilish Ward was denied by Waterford goalkeeper Aimée Jordan in the 14th minute, Niamh Hegarty shot wide soon after before McMonagle finally broke through the Déise resistance, after Hegarty had hit the post seconds earlier.

Hegarty went close again four minutes before half-time, after Geraldine McLaughlin had a goal ruled out.

An overworked Waterford defence had suffered an early blow when Gráinne Enright was sin-binned in the sixth minute but the damage was minor.

0-3 to 0-1 clear when Enright picked up her yellow card, the scores were tied at 0-4 apiece when she returned.

The star turn all through this game was McMonagle, who also starred when Donegal won the Division 2 final against Kildare earlier this year.

She bombed through for a sensational goal early in the second half but despite going five points down, Waterford refused to wilt.

And a run of five unanswered points, with top-scorer Michelle Ryan on song from frees, hauled Waterford level at 0-13 to 2-7 by the 44th minute.

Donegal had gone 13 minutes on the clock without a score before McLaughlin popped over a 45th minute point from play before McMonagle, one with her left and then with her right, slotted over two points from play.

2-10 to 0-13 clear, Donegal had breathing space again having weathered the Waterford storm and while Jason Lynch’s team twice got back to within a single point, the Ulster standard bearers held on to clinch a memorable league and championship double.

Scorers for Donegal: Y McMonagle 2-5, G McLaughlin 0-5 (3f), A McDonnell & G Houston 0-1 each.

Scorers for Waterford: M Ryan 0-8f, L Wall & S Ryan 0-2 each, G Enright, M McGrath, E Power & A Wall 0-1 each.

DONEGAL: R McClafferty; D Toner, D Foley, K Wilson; C Hegarty, M Herron, T McCafferty; A McDonnell, K Guthrie; G Houston, N Hegarty, K Feeney; E Ward, Y McMonagle, G McLaughlin.

Subs: N Stapleton for Foley (40), K Keeney for Houston (49), R Friel for Feeney (52).

WATERFORD: A Jordan; N Dunphy G Enright, L Hogan; L Ryan, M Foley, M Wall; M McGrath, E Power; G Kenneally, M Ryan, L Wall; M Delahunty, S Ryan, A Wall.

Subs: N Briggs for Delahunty (39), A Dunphy for M Wall (44).

Referee: D McEnery (Westmeath)