Emer Heaney pictured in action for Longford against Meath in the TG4 Leinster Ladies Football Intermediate Championship semi-final at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday last. Photo: Syl Healy
It was always going to be tough for Longford in the Leinster Ladies Football Intermediate Championship semi-final clash against Meath at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday; last year Longford were in the Junior grade while the Royals were operating at Senior level.
Meath . . . 3-18 Longford . . . 1-7
Meath were clinical in front of the posts while mistakes that Longford made were capitalised on by their opponents. Several times passing went astray, shot selection was poor and they failed to win their own kick-outs on numerous occasions.
Having played at a higher level Meath were ruthless whenever scoring chances fell their way and when Longford went on the attack the Royals were back in numbers to crowd Longford out and make it tough for them.
Meath got their first goal in the 5th minute through Megan Thynne as they built up an early five point lead. Longford’s opening score came from Mairead Reynolds in the 7th minute but Meath replied with five unanswered points to extend their advantage to ten points by the 17th minute.
In the 20th minute Michelle Farrell opened her account with a point from a free. She was on target again minutes later with another free while Aisling Reynolds kicked over an excellent point in the 24th minute to close the gap to eight points.
Just before the break Meath got a second goal through Fiona O’Neill after a lovely passage of play and they now held a commanding 2-10 to 0-4 lead.
Longford started the second half brightly and forced Meath into conceding frees which Michelle Farrell pointed (three in a row). The home county continued to enjoy possession but failed to hit over further points as Meath defended well.
A pointed free from Stacey Grimes in the 42nd minute was Meath’s opening score of the second half. Orla Byrne followed up with a point before Marion Farrelly got Meath’s third goal in the 45th minute.
Meath’s physicality was causing Longford problems and they added two more points to their scoreline to stretch the lead to 16 points by the 48th minute.
Longford manager James Daly brought on a number of substitutes, including Leanne Keegan who was out of action for a number of weeks with a knee injury.
In the 53rd minute Longford got a consolation goal through Emer Heaney after the Ballymore player was moved into the forward line. That was to be Longford’s final score of the game. Aoife Darcy was unlucky on two occasions not to grab a second goal for Longford near the end.
Meath ended the game with points from O’Neill, Thynne and substitute Niamh Lister as they ran out most emphatic winners in advancing to meet Wexford in the Leinster final.
Longford, on the other hand, now have the qualifiers to prepare for and will be hoping to bounce back from this defeat to achieve an extended run in the All-Ireland Intermediate Championship.
LONGFORD: Michelle Kilkenny (Dromard); Niamh Darcy (Clonguish), Mairead Moore (Clonguish), Aisling Cosgrove (Slashers); Emer Heaney (Ballymore, 1-0), Mairead Reynolds (Dromard, 0-1), Michelle Noonan (Carrickedmond); Jacinta Brady (Killoe), Aisling McCormack (Ballymahon); Lauren Farrell (Fingallians, Dublin), Michelle Farrell (Colmcille, 0-5, 5f), Anna McDonnell (Killoe); Aoife Darcy (Clonguish), Aisling O’Hara (St Helen’s Drumlish), Aisling Reynolds (Ballymore, 0-1).
Subs:- Megan Lynn (Mostrim) for A McDonnell (half-time); Una Clarke (Grattans) for A O’Hara (half-time); Leanne Keegan (Mostrim) for L Farrell (49 mins); Ann Duffy (Rathcline) for A McCormack (51 mins); Aisling Greene (Clonguish) for A Reynolds (51 mins)
MEATH: Orlagh McLaughlin; Aideen Guy, Emma White, Kate Flynn; Emma Troy, Vikki Wall, Niamh Gallogy (0-1); Máire O’Shaughnessy (0-1), Kate Byrne; Megan Thynne (1-1), Niamh O’Sullivan (0-2), Orla Byrne (0-3); Stacey Grimes (0-3, 2f), Marion Farrelly (1-1), Fiona O’Neill (1-5).
Subs:- Katie Lewe for K Flynn (injured, 15 mins); Aoibhinn Cleary for O Byrne (44 mins); Niamh Lister (0-1) for E Troy (47 mins); Blathnaid Keogh for K Byrne (53 mins).
Referee: Paul Burke (Louth).