Longford ladies win again

Deniese O’Flaherty reporting from Knockcroghery

Longford ladies made it three wins out of three in Group C of the All-Ireland Intermediate Football Championship but they were made work hard for it by Roscommon who will rue kicking a number of wides in the first half of the game at St. Dominic’s GFC, Knockcroghery on Saturday last.

It was another below par performance by Longford who know they can play a lot better but a win is a win and it sets them up nicely for a showdown at home to Sligo in the final group fixture on Saturday 11th August.

Longford made a terrific start to the game and raced into a four point lead inside the opening three minutes; Anne Marie Bratten with a point in the 2nd minute and one minute later she scored a goal after receiving the ball from Aisling Reynolds.

Roscommon began to come into the game and had enough chances to register scores on the board but kicked some bad wides. They were dealt a blow in the 10th minute when Longford grabbed their second goal. Orla Noonan played the ball to Sharon Treacy who came bursting through and the captain found Michelle Farrell who made no mistake in finding the net.

But bad defending from Longford saw Roscommon get a goal in the 12th minute through Natalie McHugh, although Longford replied with points from Anna McDonnell and Anne Marie Bratten.

McHugh was on target for Roscommon again in the 18th minute, scoring their first point. They then squandered a number of chances to add to their score and the next point of the game came from Bratten.

A great point from midfielder Jennifer Higgins brought Roscommon to within five of Longford in the 29th minute before Longford full-back Lizzie Brady was sin-binned. Right on the stroke of half-time Claire Greene pointed a free to give Longford a six point lead at the break, 2-5 to 1-2.

Longford started the second half brightly and within the opening minute Aisling Reynolds forced Roscommon keeper Carol Manning into making a good save. Diane O’Hora’s charges then took control of the game and three scores from Greene (two frees) saw them stretch their lead to nine points by the 39th minute.

Two minutes later Roscommon closed the gap when they got their second goal through Claire Rafferty. One minute later Joanne Cregg had a great chance to get another goal but his effort just went wide.

Longford responded with two neat points from Jacinta Brady. Although Roscommon had chances they just couldn’t add to their tally as Longford began to dominate and their fitness really told in the closing stages.

Anne Marie Bratten got her fourth point in the 51st minute and moments later substitute Edel Quinn was on target with a nice score. Right at the end Aisling Reynolds shot over the bar to leave Longford eleven points clear at the final whistle.

ROSCOMMON: Maura Mullooly; Helen Egan, Niamh Beirne, Louise Tully; Carla Collins, Sharon Ryan, Sarah Brady; Claire Rafferty (1-0), Jennifer Higgins (0-1); Joanne Cregg, Niamh Ward, Aideen McDonacha; Martina Freyne, Emer Casey, Natalie McHugh (1-1, one free).

Sub:- Carol Manning for M Mullooly (half-time).

LONGFORD: Michelle Kilkenny; Leanne Keegan, Lizzie Brady, Marie Brady; Michelle Noonan, Antoinette Brady, Sharon Treacy; Jacinta Brady (0-2), Aisling Reynolds (0-1); Patricia Reilly, Michelle Farrell (1-0), Anne Marie Bratten (1-4); Claire Greene (0-4, three frees), Orla Noonan, Anna McDonnell (0-1).

Subs:- Lauren Farrell for A Brady (24 mins); Edel Quinn (0-1) for P Reilly (29 mins); Sinead Farrell for M Noonan (40 mins); Louise Monaghan for M Farrell (42 mins); Paula Kenny for A McDonnell (55 mins).

Referee: Paul Swift (Monaghan).