Longford ladies football manager Enda Sheridan Picture: Syl Healy
Longford ladies travelled to Heywood College, Ballinakill Co. Laois on Sunday last to take on the Laois ladies in the National League Division 3 Round 3 re-fixture game which was cancelled the previous weekend due to Storm “Ciara” and Enda Sheridan’s side ended up losing narrowly after conceding a last gasp goal.
Laois . . . 3-6 Longford . . . 2-6
This game was played in terrible weather conditions as Storm “Dennis” caused havoc for both sides with wind and hail showers leaving conditions for football difficult throughout. Against the wind in the first half it was the Laois ladies who got the better start scoring 1-3 in the first 5 minutes with good points from play from Mo Nerney and midfielder Fiona Dooley with corner forward Kate Whelan scoring the goal after just five minutes played.
Laois continued to mount the pressure on the Longford goal with Riane McGrath bringing off some brilliant point-blank saves. Longford started to adjust to the terrible weather conditions. Michelle Farrell kicked three wides for Longford before she intercepted a short kick out by Laois goalkeeper and set up Kara Shannon in the 10th minute who raised the green flag with a well-taken goal.
Grace Shannon then split the posts for Longford before Farrell again intercepted a short kick out and scored her second point of the game in the 19th minute. This score was quickly followed by another Kara Shannon neat point which gave Longford a one-point lead.
As the hailstones came thundering down Laois’s tricky full forward Erone Fitzpatrick made a good run towards goal and was fouled as she did so. Kate Whelan converted the 30 yard free in front of goal and Mayo referee Kevin Corcoran brought the first half to a finish with the sides all square at 1-4 each.
Laois started the second half strong as they did in the first half scoring 1-1 in the first 2 minutes and going into a quick 4 point lead. Full forward Erone Fitzpatrick scored a lovely point from play before corner forward Kate Whelan scored her and Laois’s second goal after a lovely passing movement.
Longford, in fairness, rallied and were working hard to claw back into the Laois lead. The Laois defence were tight and forced the Longford forwards to shoot wide when holding onto possession and build from midfield would have benefited Longford better.
With both defences on top and Longford guilty of kicking a number of second half wides scores were at a premium. As the clock ticked on into the final 10 minutes of the game and Longford 4 points down they went in search of a goal and it came after a stunning 21 yard shot from a free kick was rifled to the back of the Laois net by Longford captain Michelle Farrell to leave just one point between the sides.
From the kick out Laois worked the ball up the field and Laois number 12 Caoimhe Simms put the ball over the bar to put her team 2 ahead with 5 minutes left. Longford dug deep in the last 5 minutes and scored two neat points through the boot of Ciara Mulligan and leading scorer Michelle Farrell to level the game with time almost up.
From the kick out Laois were patient and held position until they got their dangerous full forward Erone Fitzpatrick on the ball and her solo run through the Longford defence ended with her placing the ball in the back of the Longford net to give Laois a 3point win as the referee brought this entertaining game to an end.
Despite the poor weather conditions throughout and leaving Longford ladies with only one point from three games played in the league to date a first win in the National League will hopefully happen at home to Fermanagh at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday, throw-in 2pm.
Scorers: Longford:- Michelle Farrell 1-3. Kara Shannon 1-1. Ciara Mulligan and Grace Shannon 0-1 each. Laois:- Kate Whelan 2-1 (1 free), Erone Fitzpatrick 1-1, Emma Lawlor, Mo Nerney, Fiona Dooley and Caoimhe Simms all 0-1 each.
LAOIS: Sinead O’Rourke; Andrea Moran, Laura Nerney, Rebecca Balfe; Casey Conroy, Anna Healy, Ciara Hughes; Fiona Dooley, Eva Galvin; Caoimhe Simms, Mo Nerney, Emma Lawlor,; Kate Whelan, Erone Fitzpatrick, Rachel Fitzgerald.
Subs:- Leah Laughman for M Nerney (injured, 26 mins); Amy Potts for R Fitzgerald (40 mins).
LONGFORD: Riane McGrath (Killoe); Niamh Darcy (Clonguish), Eimear O’Brien (Longford Slashers), Katie Crawford (Mullinalaghta); Emer Heany (Ballymore), Orla Farrell (Carrickedmond), Orla Nevin (Longford Slashers); Grace Shannon (Longford Slashers), Niamh Brady (Killoe); Lauren McGuire (Carrickedmond), Michelle Farrell (Colmcille) (capt), Kara Shannon (Longford Slashers); Ciara Mulligan (Carrickedmond), Aisling Greene (Clonguish) Aisling McCormack (Ballymahon).
Sub:- Lauren Burke (Mullinalaghta) for L McGuire (50 mins).
Referee: Kevin Corcoran (Mayo).