While Leitrim are the last team to have defeated the Yeats county in competitive action, the Connacht Final last July, at times in the first half Leitrim looked like they may repeat the feat. However, two goals in the space of two minutes at the beginning of the second half ended Leitrim?s hopes of getting 2007 off to a flying start.
Sligo had eleven of their All Ireland final team in action while Leitrim had nine, with Michelle Reynolds of Gortlettragh and Sinead McWeeney of St Marys making their first senior appearance. Indeed Reynolds was in the action after two minutes as her first shot onÓgoal hit the back of the net to give Leitrim a two point lead after Stephanie O?Reilly had opened the Scóring for Sligo. An Ann Marie Cox free and a well take point from McWeeney increased the Leitrim lead after five minutes. Therese Marren replied with a Sligo free but a point from the returning Eileen Donohue and another Cox free left Leitrim 1-4 to 0-2 ahead midway through the half. Sligo began to find form and a Karen Maloney point was followed by a Noelle Gormley goal to leave the minimum between the sides entering the final ten minutes of the half. Therese Marren (2), Bernice Beirne and Maloney hit four unanswered points before Cox pointed another Leitrim free to leave Sligo two points ahead at the break.
Cox pointed a free to reduce the arrears just after the restart but three minutes later, Gormley struck twice with two goals in the space of two minutes to leave Leitrim rocked. Leitrim rallied but could not find a way through the stubborn Sligo defence but Anna Conlan hit a point from play midway through the half . Leitrim dominated possession in the final ten minutes but a breakdown in play allowed Sligo to sweep downfield with Louise Brett hitting the Leitrim net again to end of any comeback. Leitrim again pushed forward but could not reduce the arrears except for a final point from Reynolds.
Leitrim have another very difficult assignment next weekend when they play Clare who defeated them in the Division 3 League Final last May. However there were many positive signs on Sunday but the defence must tighten up considerably while the forwards will need to get a better return from the possession they enjoyed. Leitrim will also be hoping that Sinead Quinn, Eimear McGlade and Sharon Kerrigan return quickly from injury to add further power to the team.
Leitrim: Louise Loughlin, Mairead McCawley, Sinead Brennan, Mairead Stenson, Teresa Mylott, Maeve Quinn, Mary McKeon, Caroline Egan, Sarah McLoughlin, Lorraine Brennan, Eileen Donohue (0-1), Sinead McWeeney (0-1), Ann Marie Cox (0-4), Anna Conlan (0-1), Michelle Reynolds (1-01). Subs: Amanda Sweeney (for Mairead McCawley), Catherine Holohan (for Caroline Egan), Sinead Fowley for (Sinead McWeeney), Clare Plunkett, Mary Fee, Katie Gallagher, Erin Farrell, Dymphna Boylan, Janette Maguire, Michelle McNulty, Christine Quinn, Charlene Tyrrell, Michelle Glancy, Lorraine Guckian.
Sligo: K. Connolly, F. Maye, A. Doohan, A.Mostyn, T. O?Hara, L. Smith, R Goodwin, B Beirne, S. O?Reilly, L Brett, K Maloney, I McNulty, E Flanagan, nÓgormley, T. Marren.
Referee: Vivian Hardiman (Roscommon)
19-Feb-07 by Patricia Bohan – Ladies PRO