Suzuki Ladies National League Division 3 Quarter Final
Leitrim 1-13 Antrim 0-02
Leitrim qualified for the semi final on Sunday last in Belfast but had to battle their way past an Antrim team determined to upset the form book. From the start was clear that the home team had nothing to lose and set about unsettling Leitrim with a number of tough tackles as the game progressed. Indeed in the second half Antrim?s play degenerated into the unacceptable with a series of unnecessary fouls that were often dangerous and were lucky to finish the game with fourteen players. Leitrim were superior in most areas of the field, where much higher fitness levels was significant in avoiding serious injury. Antrim had a number of very skilful players on show but sadly did nothing to enhance their reputation as a team for the future with their performance. Leitrim remain unbeaten to date but next weekend?s semi final will be their biggest challenge of the year to date.
Antrim played with a strong wind in the first half and set up the first attack of the game from the throw in and earned a free as Kelly McCoy was fouled forty meters from goal. Her resulting free was well held by Louise Loughlin in the Leitrim goals and from her clearance Leitrim set up a point taking opportunity as Sarah McLoughlin was fouled but Ann Marie Cox hit the free wide. Three minutes later Antrim hit a wide from play and a minute later spurned another opportunity to open the Scóring as Clare Dowdall hit a wide. Ten minutes into the game Sarah McLoughlin registered a second Leitrim wide as the visitors took some time to settle into the game. However a minute Later Emer McGlade was fouled and Ann Marie Cos pointed to open the Scóring. Two minutes later Cox saw a great effort hit the crossbar as Leitrim began to assert some dominance on the game. Maeve Quinn won an Antrim kickout and combined well with McGlade as Sarah McLoughlin found space to fire over a second point. Midway through the half, Sharon Kerrigan made a great run through the Antrim defence from half back and hit over a great point to stretch the Leitrim lead. Maeve Quinn won the resulting kickout and found Ann Marie Cox in the corner whose perceptive pass to McLoughlin was again well pointed. Antrim began to come back into the game over the next ten minutes and Louise Loughlin had to be alert to parry a Mary McCann effort as Sinead Brennan and Carla Creegan cleared the danger. A minute later the ever dangerous McCann found herself in front of goals but hit a bad wide with only the keeper to beat. With ten minutes remaining in the half Sinead Quinn fired over a great point after good work from McGlade and Cox. Again Antrim tried to respond but Mairead Stenson and Carla Creegan again defended well to set up another Leitrim attack. Emer McGlade combined well with Anna Conlan and McGlades effort was deflected over the bar by Antrim keeper Melissa Hardy for another Leitrim point. Cox was unlucky to see an effort from tight on the endline go narrowly wide as Leitrim continued to pressurise the Antrim defence. With two minutes remaining Cox had to go off as a result of a blood injury after a heavy tackle and was replaced by Lorraine Brennan. Antrim finally got off the mark with a long range effort from Aisling Reilly but almost immediately Mary McKeon pointed from play after a great move up the field from the Leitrim defence to leave Leitrim leading by 0-7 to 0-1 at the break.
Antrim started the second half with a flourish as Claire Dowdall pointed from a free to reduce the arrears to five points but this was as good as it got from the home team. Lorraine Brennan responded with a fine point from play wide on the left as Leitrim settled back into the game. After five minutes Cox reentered the play with Brennan staying on and Eilish Quinn substituted. Almost immediately Sharon Kerrigan was heavily fouled as she made another great run at the Antrim defence and Seaneen Daykin was sinbinned for ten minutes while Cox punished Antrim with the resulting free. Ten minutes into the half Clare Owens found herself in space but was dangerously tackled and the Antrim player was lucky to remain on the pitch as Cox punished Antrim yet again from the free. Sharon Kerrigan had another effort go narrowly wide and Lorraine Brennan likewise as Leitrim refused to be intimidated by the heavy tackling of the Antrim team. Midway through the half another goal opportunity came Leitrims way but Anna Conlans effort was well saved by Hardy however the rebound fell to Sinead Quinn who was again fouled and Cox obliged with another easy point. Naomi Faughnan replaced Conlan in the Leitrim attack with thirteen minutes remaining as Antrim launched a rare attack. A dangerous ball was brilliantly fielded by Sinead Brennan and Leitrim cleared their lines to set up yet another attack. Sinead Quinn had a goal opportunity at the other end but her shot went narrowly wide. Naomi Faughnan was fouled two minutes later and again Cox pointed as Leitrim continued to press forward. Clare Owens hit another Leitrim wide with five minutes remaining when Eimear McGlade was hit off the ball and wrestled to the ground by Daykin in an extraordinary incident. Daykin was immediately shown the red card and McGlade had to be substituted by Phillipa Maguire for a blood injury. Leitrim again responded with a great McLoughlin point from play and in the final minute of the game Naomi Faughnan signed Leitrims efforts off with a flourish as she hit a great goal following good work from Maeve Quinn and Cox.
Leitrim: Louise Loughlin, Amanda Sweeney, Sinead Brennan, Mairead Stenson, Sharon Kerrigan (0-1), Mary McKeon (0-1), Carla Creegan, , Maeve Quinn, Eimear McGlade (0-1) Anna Conlan, Sarah McLoughlin (0-3), Eilish Quinn, Ann Marie Cox (0-5), Sinead Quinn (0-1), Clare Owens. Subs: Lorraine Brennan (0-1) for E. Quinn, Naomi Faughnan (1-0) for A. Conlan, Phillipa Maguire for E McGlade.
Antrim: M Hardy, C Weir, C Drain, A Quinn, R McCann, S Daykin, C McMullan, G McCann, A Reilly, H Fairbairn, C Dowdall, K McCoy, F Walsh, M McCann, F Connors.
Referee: S O?Neill (Armagh)
18-Apr-06 by Patricia Bohan