Longford suffered a fairly emphatic defeat against a slick Westmeath side at the Kinnegad grounds on Friday evening last to make their exit from the All-Ireland Ladies Intermediate Football Championship and it leaves them facing a make-or-break match against Fermanagh this weekend in a bid to avoid the relegation play-off after also losing against Cavan and Waterford.
Longford actually started quite brightly in Kinnegad and launched the first four attacks of the game. They failed, however, to raise a flag and were made to pay for their wastefulness when Westmeath ripped open the defence with fantastic speed to score their first goal after six minutes.
For the following twelve minutes Westmeath dominated the game and punished some slack Longford defending. Two points were followed by another goal, which despite looking like an obvious “square ball” was allowed to stand.
A missed Westmeath penalty minutes later, however, seemed to give a lifeline to Longford. Siobhan McGowan, now operating at full-forward, began to win ball and Fiona Gettings, already with two points to her name, converted a free closely followed by an excellent goal to bring Longford back into the game. The teams exchanged points before half-time to leave the score 2-8 to 1-4 in favour of the home county.
Unfortunately for Longford, Westmeath started the second half strongly and a powerful shot over the outstretched hands of Longford goalkeeper, Michelle Kilkenny, gave the leaders further breathing space. Although Longford tried valiantly, they could not get inside the Westmeath defence to score the goals which were necessary to pull back the deficit.
Instead they had to be content to convert the frees which the opposition were happy to concede whenever Fiona Gettings, Siobhan McGowan or Michelle Hannify threatened their rearguard. Westmeath closed out the game with a number of points.
For Longford, Mairead Moore was outstanding in defence, winning any number of personal battles, while Jacinta Brady worked tirelessly in the middle of the field. Up front, Fiona Gettings continued her remarkable scoring feats, kicking all of Longford’s tally of 1-12.
LONGFORD: Michelle Kilkenny; Niamh Devaney, Sharon Treacy, Sinead Farrell: Mairead Moore, Lizzy Brady, Antoinette Brady: Jacinta Brady, Siobhan McGowan: Fiona Farrell, Orla Noonan, Anne Burke: Michelle Hannify, Fiona Gettings, Michelle McElvaney.
Subs:- Gemma Kenny for F Farrell; Kathryn Lynch for N Devaney; Ailbhe McGowan for O Noonan.