Tesco HomeGrown National Football League Division 3
Wicklow 0-03 Leitrim 4-18
The Leitrim ladies got their Tesco HomeGrown National Football League Div 3 campaign off to a good start with an impressive victory over a poor Wicklow in Dunlavin on Sunday last. Leitrim have most of the core panel from last year and Manager Gerry Ballantine has introduced some new talent as well. The Leitrim players moved well and supported each other well in the heavy underfoot conditions.
Wicklow attacked from the throw up and Michelle Guckian had to be at her best to tip a Lucy Mulhall shot from 15m onto the crossbar however Erin Murphy was first to react and pointed for Wicklow. After good work from Deirdre Ward and Kirby Gilgunn the ball was given to Aine Heslin who drew the Wicklow cover and Rosin Fowley scored with ease. Aine Tighe then had a shot saved on the line but 2 minutes later Aine Heslin pointed to put Leitrim ahead. After several near misses Niamh Tighe finished a well worked move for the first goal of the game. Lucy Mulhall got her name of the scoreboard with an excellent point from 20m in the 9th minute.
On the 10th minute a Mairead Stenson intercept lead to Leitrim’s second goal which Aine Tighe finished with style. Leitrim were now dominant from their half back line up and the writing was on the wall for Wickow. A well worked 45 lead to an Erin Farrell point to push Leitrim further ahead. With good ball being delivered by Anna Conlon and Sinead Fowley into the inside line Roisin Fowley added 2 more points. On a rare attack for Wicklow Michelle Guckian pulled of a wonderful save from Laura Hogan but Leitrim went straight up the field in a 5 player move that was finished with aplomb by Aine Tighe, Aine Tighe had a goal chance right after but her shot came of the post. By half time the game was over has a contest as Leitrim lead 2-12 to 0-02
While Leitrim dropped their intensity a little in second half Wicklow plugged away to the very end and brought the game to Leitrim in the second half with Jackie Kinch and Lauren Ahern working very hard. In the third minute Roisin Fowley linked up with Aine Tighe to score. A tremendous run by Sinead Fowley set her sister Roisin for another score. In the 42nd minute Aine Tighe was put through after excellent work by Clare Owens and Sharon Kerrigan who were marauding up the left, however Sarah Hogan pulled her down and Aine scored the resultant penalty with the score now reading 3-15 to 2 points. Wicklow carried the game to Leitrim but there was no way through as Enya McWeeney and Mary Farrell and Kirby GilgunnÓgave them little room for any chances. Entering the final quarter Laura O’Dowd finished to the net after a defence splitting pass by Anna Conlon. Wicklow goalkeeper Emer Miley made two excellent saves later while at the other end Amy Murphy almost chipped Michelle Guckian for a goal. Leitrim tagged on another 3 points while at the death Lucy Mulhall pointed a free for Wicklow to leave the final score Leitrim 4-18 Wicklow 0-03.
The highlights of the Leitrim performance was the link play especially between Roisin Fowley and Aine Tighe the tackling of Mairead Stenson the workrate of captain Deirdre Ward and the running of Sinead Fowley and the vision of Anna Conlon. Best for Wicklow was Lucy Mulhall and Niamh Reid.
This is a much needed win to start Leitrim on track for the season ahead. While the win, admittedly against a weakened Wicklow team, will boost Leitrim’s confidence. The team performance was solid without being spectacular and the backline will see more difficult tests ahead.
Manager Gerry Ballantine while happy with the win knows only too well on the areas Leitrim will need to improve on. He will know a lot more about his charges this Sunday when Leitrim take on Wexford in a home game. Wexford lost out to Tipperary in round 1.
Teams and scorers
Michelle Guckian, Mary Farrell, Enya McWeeney, Sharon Kerrigan, Clare Owens, Mairead Stenson, Kirby Gilgunn,, Deirdre Ward, Sinead Fowley (0-01), Niamh Tighe (1-01), Aine Tighe(2-06, Aine Heslin (0-01), Anna Conlon, Eirin Farrell (0-02), Roisin Fowley (0-05). Subs: Laura O’Dowd (1-02) for Aine Heslin, Vanessa Gallogly for Sharon Kerrigan, Joyce Cunningham for Erin Farrell, Sinead Tighe for Aine Tighe and Olivia Gilmartin for Kirby Gilgunn.
Emer Miley, Tara Costello, Sarah Hogan, Rebecca Fusciardi, Lorana Fusciardi, Sarah Miley, Aine Byrne, Jackie Kinch, Niam Reid, Lauren Ahern, Laura Hogan, Eadoinne Lenihan, Erin Murphy (0-01),Lucy Mulhall (0-02) Amy Murphy.
05-Feb-13 by Clare Noone Leitrim Ladies PRO