Lauren McGuire pictured in action for Longford against Laois in the Lidl NFL Division 3B Round 2 game Photo: Syl Healy
Longford suffered their first defeat in Division 3B of the Lidl National League against a strong and powerful Laois side who played some great football throughout the Round 2 game at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday last.
Laois . . . 3-14 Longford . . . 1-9
Laois held a 10 point lead at the break (1-10 to 0-3) and added another 2-4 to their tally in the second half to run out easy winners by the comprehensive margin of 11 points.
This was despite losing Sarah Ann Fitzgerald to a sin-bin foul in the 34th minute. Longford ended the game with 14 players when Emer Heaney was sin-binned in the 57th minute. Michelle Farrell scored a consolation goal for the home county but Laois ended the game with their third goal.
This was a reality check for new Longford manager Brian Noonan and the midlanders must now beat Kildare in the remaining group fixture in Newbridge (Hawkfield Centre of Excellence) on Sunday next (2pm) to keep their promotion hopes alive.
Kildare lost their opening fixture against Laois by three points (2-16 to 2-13) but got back on track to beat Wicklow by the minimum of margins (1-9 to 2-5) last weekend.
A win or a draw will see Kildare go through at the expense of Longford. So all to play for on Sunday in what is expected to be a good, close and sporting game of football.
Unfortunately, again this game will be played behind closed doors but thanks to Lidl Ireland and the LGFA the game will be live streamed for free. The link to connect to the game will appear on Longford social media pages before Sunday’s game.
Longford found the going tough against Laois who broke at pace and worked the ball very well in the forward line when they went on the attack. Their defence did a very good job and put good pressure on the Longford forwards.
Laois got the opening score of the game in the second minute; Mo Nerney with a pointed free. They kicked two wides before Longford levelled with a good point from Emer Heaney.
The visitors then hit a purple patch. They kicked four points in a row; some coming from reading the Longford kick-outs. The lead was stretched to five points in the 13th minute when Nerney fired over a neat score.
Longford got a much needed point in the 14th minute through Michelle Farrell. Ava Galvin and Sarah Shannon then traded points before Laois scored a goal in the 20th minute when Alannah Havill played the ball to Nerney and she made no mistake in finding the back of the net.
Longford captain Farrell brought a good save out of Laois keeper Eimear Barry in the 24th minute. Down the other end Laois created two goal chances. Sarah Ann Fitzgerald shot wide when in a good position while Longford keeper Riane McGrath pulled off an excellent save to deny Havill.
Fine points through Jane Moore, Nerney and Anna Healy gave Laois a commanding 1-10 to 0-3 lead going in at half-time.
Sarah Shannon got the opening point of the second half for Longford in the 33rd minute. Laois lost Sarah Ann Fitzgerald in the 34th minute when she was sin-binned.
Michelle Farrell landed a point before Laois created another goal chance; Riane McGrath pushing Orla Hennessy’s effort over the bar for a point. Aoife Darcy hit over a free but Laois kept the scoreboard ticking over even when down to 14 players.
The lead was 10 points in the 46th minute. Fitzgerald was only back on the pitch from her yellow card when she scored a goal. Farrell hit over a good point for Longford in the 48th minute and the home side were reduced to 14 in the 57th minute when Emer Heaney was sin-binned.
Longford battled until the end. In the 60th minute Aoife Darcy’s ball in was fisted to the net by Michelle Farrell but three minutes later Laois got their third goal through substitute Aoife Kirrane.
LONGFORD: Riane McGrath; Katie Crawford, Leanne Keegan, Aisling Cosgrove; Michelle Noonan, Eimear O’Brien, Clare Farrell; Niamh Darcy, Grace Shannon; Emer Heaney (0-1), Aoife Darcy (0-2, frees), Anna McDonnell; Louise Monaghan, Michelle Farrell (1-4), Sarah Shannon (0-2).
Subs:- Caoimhe Lohan for G Shannon (half-time); Ciara Mulligan for M Noonan, Kara Shannon for N Darcy and Ciara Healy for A McDonnell (43 mins); Lauren McGuire for S Shannon (50 mins), Sorcha Dawson for E O’Brien (injured, 51 mins).
LAOIS: Eimear Barry; Jenny McEvoy, Amy Potts, Aimee Kelly; Rachel Williams, Ellen Healy, Laura Nerney; Fiona Dooley, Jane Moore (0-1); Anna Healy (0-1), Eva Galvin (0-3), Andrea Moran (0-1); Mo Nerney (1-4, 0-2fs), Sarah Ann Fitzgerald (1-2), Alannah Havill.
Subs:- Orla Hennessy (0-1) for E Healy (half-time); Leah Tarphy (0-1) for A Havill (43 mins); Aoife Kirrane (1-0) for O Hennessy (injured, 49 mins); Roisin Larkin for J McEvoy (53 mins); Rebecca Balfe for A Moran (57 mins); Erone Fitzpatrick for S Fitzgerald (58 mins).
Referee: Kevin Corcoran (Mayo).
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