TG4 All-Ireland Ladies IFC semi-final
PAT Sullivan’s Waterford are through to a first TG4 All-Ireland ladies intermediate football final since 2012.
The Déise booked their place in the September 27 decider by scoring a ten-point semi-final victory over Leitrim at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick on Saturday.
Goals in either half from player of the match Aileen Wall and sub Michelle Ryan helped to put Waterford an hour away from senior championship fare next year, the reward for lifting the intermediate crown.
Waterford will now contest a third intermediate final in six seasons when they meet Kildare or Offaly in next month’s Croke Park showpiece.
Waterford were just a point clear at half-time against Leitrim, 1-3 to 1-2, but a run of five unanswered points after the break opened up a big gap.
Áine Tighe’s point was Leitrim’s first score since midway through the first half but Waterford’s response was emphatic.
Ryan’s goal in the 43rd minute, palmed to the net from Wall’s pass across goal, was a killer blow to Leitrim’s hopes.
And Waterford were 12 points clera, 2-13 to 1-4, before Tighe pulled a consolaton goal back with 13 minutes remaining.
Leitrim did reduce the gap back to seven points but Waterofrd cruised to the finish with points from Wall and Marie Delahunty (two).
Right from the start, Waterford had looked the more threatening side and a couple of early goal chances went begging before Tighe scored the first of her two goals in the fifth minute, taking the ball around goalkeeper Katie Hannon before slotting home.
Waterford replied in kind when Wall netted and at half-time, just a point separated the sides.
But Waterford’s blistering start to the second half paved the way for a comfortable win and their second goal was a super effort.
Louise Ryan’s long ball was collected by Wall and the dynamic Ballymacabry player provided the assist for Ryan, who will push hard for a starting place in the final.
Scorers for Waterford: M Delahunty 0-6 (2f, 1 45), A Wall 1-2, S Ryan 0-5 (2f), M Ryan 1-1, E Power & G Kenneally 0-1 each.
Scorers for Leitrim: Á Tighe 2-4 (0-2f), M Heslin & S Tighe 0-1 each.
WATERFORD; K Hannon; M Dunford, K McGrath, L Wall; E Murphy, E Power, M McGrath; L Ryan, M Wall; H Landers, M Delahunty, A Wall; G Kenneally, S Ryan, M Foley.
Subs: M Ryan for Landers (37), C McGrath for Foley (40), A Murray for S Ryan (55), N Dunphy for M Wall (58).
LEITRIM: M Guckian; C Beirne, S Kerrigan, R McHugh; Á Heslin, L Brennan, M Hewitt; S McLoughlin, A Conlon; D Ward, N Tighe, M Stenson; D Beirne, Á Tighe, C LeGuen.
Subs: M Heslin for Á Heslin (41), E Guckian for LeGuen (47).
Referee: S McNulty (Wicklow).