Longford Slashers and Carlow’s Old Leighlin battle it out for Leinster Final spot

Ladies Football Leinster Junior Club Championship semi-final on Sunday

Ladies Football Leinster Junior Club Championship

Orlaith O'Brien pictured in action for Longford Slashers against Kilcullen (Kildare) in the Ladies Football Leinster Junior Club Championship quarter-final at Fay Park on Saturday last. Pic: Syl Healy

Longford Slashers advanced a stage further in the Ladies Football Leinster Junior Club Championship following a  fine win over the Kildare junior champions Kilcullen in a very entertaining game at Michael Fay Park on Saturday last.

Longford Slashers . . . 3-11      Kilcullen (Kildare) . . . 1-13

The Longford ladies intermediate champions Slashers will now play the Carlow senior champions Old Leighlin in the Leinster Junior Club semi-final at the Bagenalstown GAA grounds this Sunday, throw-in 2.30pm.

Old Leighlin scored a very easy 3-19 to 1-3 win over the Westmeath junior champions Caulry on Saturday and will provide stiff opposition in the battle for a place in the provincial title decider.

Slashers had the benefit of the breeze in the first half which was played in a downpour. Kildare opponents Kilcullen got an early point before Emily Reilly followed in a speculative shot and bundled the ball over the line for the first goal of the game. This was followed by fine Jessica Barry and Grace Shannon points before Kilcullen pulled one back with a point by full forward Nanci Murphy in the 14th minute.

Corner forward Ruth Birchall then goaled for Kilcullen after hesitation in the Slashers defence.  A further point by captain Jayne Peacocke put Kilcullen up by a point 1-3 to 1-2 with 15 minutes gone on the clock and Slashers looked in trouble.

Another point by Jessica Barry was cancelled out by a point for Nanci Murphy before Slashers hit back with a Grace Shannon point and a Jessica Barry free and had a great opportunity for a goal but a super double save from Kilcullen goalkeeper Eleanor Traynor kept her net intact.

Two more points by Peacocke put the visitors back in front in the closing stages of the first half.  Kilcullen midfielder Kate Willis was then replaced after suffering an injury by Aoibhe Burke and in first half injury time, Orlaith O’Brien poached a Slashers goal at a vital time to leave the home side leading by 2-5 to 1-6 at half-time.   

Kilcullen started the second half meaning business and early points by Peacocke and Grace Rogers levelled up the game.  Jessica Barry put Slashers in front with another point before she turned her marker to shoot low into the bottom corner for a cracking goal.

This was followed by another point by Barry. Centre forward Peacocke then got a point back for Kilcullen before their full back Eimear McBride was replaced by Clare Kelly and Emily Reilly was replaced by Sarah Madden on the Slashers team midway through the second half.

A Kara Shannon point was sandwiched between two Peacocke points and Jessica Barry tacked on another point before Kara Shannon beat her marker on the right wing and fired off a shot which cannoned back off the goalpost and wide.  

Kilcullen then brought on another sub Sydney Sheridan  and she immediately made her mark with a good point and another from full forward Clare Kelly left two points between the teams entering the last five minutes of the game. The game was there for the taking for either side at this stage but the Slashers ladies took control at this point and closed out the game with points by Grace Shannon and Lisa Nolan.

This was a great all round performance from the Slashers girls against a very strong Kilcullen team and they had to dig deep to secure the win.

 LONGFORD SLASHERS:  Emer Casey; Ciara Flynn, Aine Barry, Laura Kenny; Aishling Cosgrove (C), Eimear O’Brien, Orla Nevin; Lisa Nolan (0-1), Aoife O’Brien; Clare Farrell, Grace Shannon (0-3),  Emily Reilly (1-0); Jessica Barry (1-6), Kara Shannon (0-1), Orlaith O’Brien (1-0).

 Sub:- Sarah Madden for E Reilly (44 mins).

KILCULLEN: Eleanor Traynor; Karen Bell, Eimear McBride, Clare Mulrennan; Brona Dooley, Lorraine Schwer, Tara Breen; Laura Quigley, Katie Willis; Molly Aspell, Jayne Peacocke, Grace Rogers; Clare Kelly, Nanci Murphy, Ruth Birchall.

 Subs:- Aoibhe Burke for K Willis (30 mins); Daire Smyth for E McBride (45 mins); Sydney Sheridan (0-1) for N Murphy (55 mins).

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