Suzuki Ladies National League Division 3A
Leitrim and Fermanagh played out a tense and physical encounter in Irvinestown on Sunday last, as Leitrim defended superbly with Maeve Quinn outstanding at full back to remain unbeaten in the league. Leitrim were forced to make a number of changes to the team that played Clare last week as Anna Conlan, Karen McGovern and Siobhan Mollahan joined Aoife Kelly, Lorraine Brennan, Carla Creegan and Kirby Gilgunn on the injury list. However all over the field, Leitrim players rose to the challenge offered by an accomplished Fermanagh side that in truth had not been tested in their opening two games. Emer McGlade and Sarah McLoughlin excelled at midfield as the Leitrim defence absorbed all of the pressure Fermanagh could exert especially in the final quarter. Up front Leitrim also played well and created a number of Scóring opportunities but would liked to have converted more of their chances. The game became quite disjointed in the second half as two players from each team were sinbinned and as a consequence Leitrim played five minutes of the game two players down. Leitrim now have a break of four weeks before the final game against Offaly with a quarter final outing two weeks later.
Playing against a slight breeze in the first half, Leitrim gained possession straight from the throw in and Emer McGlade was fouled as she attacked the Fermanagh defence. The resulting free was hit wide by Ann Marie Cox. However straight from the kickout Clare Owens gained possession and Cox was on hand to hit over the opening point from play. Two minutes later a good Leitrim move came to nothing as Naomi Faughnan hit a poor wide. Leitrim began to enjoy early superiority as Fermanagh found it hard to gain any rhythm in their play and were punished again after five minutes. Faughnan won a high ball in front of goal but when her shot was well saved by Una Carroll in the Fermanagh goals, Mary McKeon was first to react and hit over a point from close range. Fermanagh finally settled and initiated a good cross field move but Sharon Kerrigan fielded well under pressure and cleared the danger. After ten minutes Emer McGlade, Faughnan and finally Cox combined for a third Leitrim point from play. Fermanagh responded again with another attack but Maeve Quinn cut out the danger under pressure and again Leitrim attacked with Mary McKeon who had an excellent goal chance but she shot straight at the keeper. With McGlade and Sarah McLoughlinÓgetting the better of midfield Leitrim had another chance to increase the lead but hit a poor wide. McGlade went on a powerful run through the middle to set up Cox for a fourth point mid way through the half. Sammy Little was fouled by Mairead Stenson as Fermanagh worked hard to set up a Scóring opportunity. Her free was well held by Louise Loughlin but then hit out for a 45. The resulting kick was again superbly won by Maeve Quinn and cleared by Sarah McLoughlin to Cox who held on too long and the chance to punish Fermanagh again was gone. Fermanagh began to gain more possession but the halfback line of Sinead Brennan, Teresa Mylott and Kerrigan held firm and cut out two dangerous attacks before Sinead Quinn pointed from play following a great crossfield ball from Faughnan to McKeon who set up Quinn. With ten minutes remaining in the half Maeve Quinn was again safe under a high ball and Sharon Kerrigan made a great run up field to set up McGlade but her shot went narrowly wide. McLoughlin, McGlade and McKeon combined well a minute later as Erin Farrell, on her Leitrim debut, hit a point from play. Fermanagh finally got off the mark as Caroline Little pointed from play with seven minutes remaining in the half and from the resulting kickout Little again pointed to reduce the lead to four points. Leitrim responded immediately but another McKeon effort onÓgoal was well saved by Carroll. Fermanagh attacked but Kerrigan won the ball well and set up Faughnan for a good point from play. Claire Gallagher then had a great opportunity to score but hit wide under pressure from McGlade. In the last three minutes of the half Fermanagh reduced the lead to three points with two frees from Little and in their final attack Sarah McLoughlin dispossessed Little as she was about to shoot onÓgoal with the score 0.7 to 0.4 in Leitrim?s favour.
Leitrim started the second half with an attack involving Ann Marie Cox, Sinead Quinn and Naomi Faughnan but Erin Farrell?s final effort onÓgoal was blocked. At the other end Claire Gallagher hit a wide as the exchanges began to get more physical. After five minutes Fermanagh?s Shauna Woods was sin binned for ten minutes for a heavy tackle on Sharon Kerrigan. Leitrim sought to take advantage of the extra player and a minute later Ann Marie Cox pointed a free when Naomi Faughnan was fouled. For the next ten minutes play was intense with both the defences playing well. Amanda Sweeney and Sinead Brennan cut out two promising Fermanagh attacks at one end while Aine Johnstone and Shauna Woods prevented another Leitrim score. Phillipa Maguire replaced Erin Farrell in the Leitrim attack and was immediately in the action as she set up Faughnan but the ball went wide. Two minutes later however Maguire was sinbinned for a tackle on Aine McBrien. With parity in numbers both teams had opportunitys to score but Caroline Little hit a free wide and at the other end Cox also hit a free wide. Two minutes later Woods was back on the field as Leitrim struggled to hold on to their advantage but when Sharon Kerrigan won a free wide on the left a dangerous ball in from Ann Marie Cox hit a Fermanagh defender and gave Collins no chance when it hit the net for the first goal of the game. Two minutes later from a similar situation Fermanagh scored a goal as Caroline Little rose brilliantly at the far post to fist to the net. Teresa Mylott and Sarah McLoughlin cut out two more Fermanagh attacks. As the Fermanagh pressure intensified for the final ten minutes, Leitrim went down to thirteen players when Sinead Quinn was sinbinned. Under severe pressure Maeve Quinn superbly dispossed Little who was a continuous threat to the Leitrim defence. Emer McGlade and Sarah McLoughlin drifted back to help the defence as Leitrim soaked up incessant pressure but some of the clearances were poor and handed the initiative back to the home team. With five minutes remaining, Maguire reentered the play and Leitrim initiated another attack with a long ball in from Maeve Quinn, Naomi Faughnan was unlucky to see her fisted effort hit the post and go wide. Sinead Brennan cut out another attack as Sinead Quinn reentered the game and Leitrim were back to their full compliment of players. Little got away for Fermanagh but Louise LoughlinÓgot down smartly to save a certain Fermanagh goal. In the final minutes first Mairead Stenson and then Maeve Quinn blocked down brilliantly to keep the Leitrim goal intact. Little had a final effort to make it a single point game as she broke through the Leitrim cover but Quinn dispossed her and set up Mary McKeon to launch a final Leitrim attack involving Cox and Sinead Quinn who was fouled. Cox pointed the free to increase the lead to five points and make the points safe. Little was then sinbinned for a dangerous foot tackle on Mairead Stenson. In the final minute Maeve Quinn superbly held on to a high ball under pressure from two Fermanagh players and Leitrim held out for a well deserved win.
Leitrim: Louise Loughlin, Amanda Sweeney, Maeve Quinn, Mairead Stenson, Teresa Mylott, Sinead Brennan, Sharon Kerrigan, Sarah McLoughlin, Emer McGlade, Clare Owens, Mary McKeon (0-1), Naomi Faughnan (0-1), Erin Farrell (0-1), Sinead Quinn(0-1), Ann Marie Cox (1-5) Subs Used: Phillipa Maguire for Erin Farrell (40 mins), Alanah Bohan (50 mins)for Clare Owens.
Fermanagh: U Collins, C O?Harte, E McGovern, A Johnston, S Woods, T Hughes, A McBrien, A Moane, K. McManus, S Little, C Little, S Hamilton, S Little, C Gallagher, E Martin.
26-Feb-06 by Patricia Bohan – Ladies PRO