A 2-10 haul in the opening half was enough to see Meath take all three points from a wet and blustery Drumree against Sligo in the opening round of the Lidl National Football League this afternoon. It has been a tough week for Meath Ladies, with today’s win providing a much needed boost for players and officials alike.

Meath Ladies team that defeated Sligo in the opening round of the Lidl National Football League


Half Time: Meath 2-10, Sligo 0-05

Full Time: Meath 2-12, Sligo 1-09

The game was only three minutes old when Shauna Ennis and Sarah O’Reilly combined to fumble the ball past Noelle Gormley and into the Sligo net. Emma Troy got her 2016 campaign off to a good start with a point in the fifth minute but this was cancelled out a minute later when Lisa Casey pointed for Sligo. Vikki Wall put Meath ahead once more in the 9th minute and with conditions underfoot soft, Royal Gaels Niamh Gallogly, making her Senior debut, rifled the ball into the back of Sligo’s net on 13 mins to force the gap to seven points. It was a lead that the Royal maintained and increased as the first half wore on. Wall and Simonstown’s Ailbhe McHugh contributed a brace of scores each between the 12th and 19th mins with fine defending keeping the Sligo attack at bay. Casey got Sligo’s second point on 19 mins with a third following on 21 mins. With a swirling wind that appeared to blow across the pitch, conditions were difficult for both sides, however, the Royals appeared able to cope better and points from Troy and Wall in the 21st and 22nd mins ensured their lead. The teams swapped a brace of scores each before the half time whistle. McHugh’s point in the 28th minute was a beauty as it sailed straight over the black spot while Wall’s strength and determination ensured the Royals a tenth point in the opening half. At half time, Meath held a healthy 2-10 to 0-05 lead over their opponents.


The second half was a quieter affair from a Royal perspective as just two points were put on the scoreboard, Wall with both points in the 24th and 26th mins, the first a free after Sligo’s Gráinne O’Loughlin was sin binned. Meath’s backs were to the wall in the second half, but they stood up admirably with Aideen Guy, Blathnaid Keogh and Paula Dunne all having an impact. Meath also finished with 14 players when Máire O’Shaughnessy was deemed to have fouled her player on 27 mins and was sin binned for it. From the resulting free, Sligo ran at the Meath defence with aplomb and were rewarded with a goal for their efforts, thanks to the boot of Amie Cawley. Sligo added a further point in injury time and could have grabbed a second goal but for a stunning block from Kate Byrne on the stroke of full time. The Royals held strong and were delighted to hear the full time whistle, Meath winning by 2-12 to 1-09.


At times it wasn’t pretty, but the Royals today showed their character throughout. New Senior manager Eoin Hennessy will surely be looking forward to working with his new charges this coming week as they now turn to prepare for Cavan next Sunday. With five players making their debut on the first fifteen alone, Meath can look with optimism to their next fixture. Today’s result is also boosted by the news that Eoin has added Jenny Rispin and Packie Reilly to his management team. Jenny and Packie have been working with the Senior panel and their continuing with the new management can only be a step in the right direction for the Royals. For now however, Meath will enjoy their first win since last year’s league fixture against Down, but they will know that tougher battles lie ahead.


Meath Scorers: Vikki Wall 0-07, Ailbhe McHugh 0-03, Sarah O’Reilly and Niamh Gallogly 1-00 each, Emma Troy 0-02.


Sligo Scorers: Amie Cawley 1-01, Elaine O’Reilly 0-03, Lisa Casey 0-02, Denise McGrath 0-01, Sarah Reynolds 0-01, Lauren Boles 0-01.


Meath Team: Louise Dunne, Aideen Guy, Orla Byrne, Hannah Heskin, Blathnaid Keogh, Paula Dunne, Síofra Cleary, Kate Byrne (C), Emma Troy, Ailbhe McHugh, Shauna Ennis, Niamh Gallogly, Stacey Grimes, Vikki Wall, Sarah O’Reilly.

Subs: Hannah McKeown for Heskin, Aoibheann Leahy for O’Reilly, Máire O’Shaughnessy for Keogh, Caitríona Keogan for Ennis, Julie Donnellan for Wall.


Sligo: Noelle Gormley, Katie McDermott, Grainne O’Loughlin, Tara Doddy, Elaine O’Reilly, Eilise Codd, Aisling O’Gara, Bernice Byrne, Sinead McTiernan, Laura Ann Laffey, Sarah Reynolds, Lauren Boles, Lisa Casey, Amie Cawley, Denise McGrath.


Referee: Conor Dourneen (Cavan).


Upcoming fixtures:

Saturday 6th February

Leinster Minor Championship: Division One Round One; Meath (h) v Wicklow – Venue & Time TBA

Sunday 7th February

Lidl National Football League: Division Two Round Two; Meath (h) v Cavan – 2.00, Venue TBA

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