Antrim goals undo Louth

The Louth Ladies lined out against Antrim on Sunday in the O’Raghallies in Drogheda. Louth failed to overcome Antrim, in a game in which the score line did not fully indicate the endeavours of both teams.

Before the one minute mark Antrim had a goal on the scoreboard, as Louth keeper Nicole Sheerin was unlucky to see a high and looping shot from Kirsty McGuiness from 25 yards drop at the last moment and slip inside the top corner of the goal. From the resulting kick out, Michelle McMahon won a free kick in the middle of the field. Taking the free kick quickly she found Susan Byrne, who in turn pumped the ball forward to Kate Flood, in what looked to be a promising break forward the final pass let Louth down as Kate Flood failed to find Gillian McDonald.

Louth’s first score came on 3 minutes as a short free kick from Gillian McDonald found Jenny McGuiness who managed to create enough space to slot the ball over the bar. Following this Louth managed to instate themselves upon the game, showing no signs of being rocked by Antrim’s early goal. Aine McGee was pulled from corner forward to aid in the midfield battle and quickly got to work sweeping up breaking balls and quickly dispatching possession to the forward line.

Another good ball forward from Jenny McGuiness found Gillian McDonald, who was unable to get away from the busy Antrim defence and was eventually forced into coughing up possession. At the other end Louth struggled with high balls rained in from the Antrim midfield, but once the ball got into the hands of the Antrim forwards the Louth defence was able to close down the space and clear their lines.

In what was one of the best moves of the first half Siobhan McDonald fired a brilliant diagonal ball into the corner to pick out Gillian McDonald, and holding the ball up long enough to draw in two Antrim defenders she passed to Jenny McGuiness who scored another point for Louth.

Antrim where streaming forward, with strong running from their wing backs and wing forwards. 10 minutes in Kate Flood was unlucky to miss as she saw her shot skew off the side of her boot and wide, but she made amends for her miss instantly, as Louth won the kick out and Kate received the ball in enough space to  take her point.

Antrim scored their first point of the match 14 minutes in, as they won a free kick 20 yards from goal. Kirsty McGuiness calmly slotted the free kick over. Louth’s reaction was instant, a quick kick out from Nicole Sheerin was won by Siobhan McDonald, and the ball was passed quickly to Grace Lynch. Gillian McDonald was at the end of a long pass from Grace Lynch, and fired into the top corner of the net.

As the game begun to get stretch around the middle of the field, Antrim began to make inroads on the match, and a long ball over the top of the Louth full back line was picked up by Antrim’s Marissa McGourly, but as she bared down on goal Katie Rafferty did enough to get back and force her into dragging her shot wide.

Antrim Scored another goal, as Kristy McGuiness floated another high ball into the back of the net on 17 minutes. After scoring the goal Antrim began to fight strongly to win breaking balls in the middle of the field, much in the same way Louth had been in the early part of the half.

Antrim’s Kathy Carey scored a point 19 minutes in, as Louth struggled win possession. Soon after Antrim had their third goal of the game, as Claire Timney broke down the wing, getting through the Louth defence and putting the ball in the back of the net. A last defiant run from Ciara O’Connor split through the Antrim midfield, but at the vital moment the pass didn’t go to hand , and possession was lost. Antrim finished the second half strongly with two more points before the whistle was blown.

At half time the score stood at Antrim 3-03 Louth 1-03. Antrim’s purple patch at the end of the first half was the difference between the sides in a first half that was not completely indicative of the score line.

The second half saw the introduction of Una Pearson, Danielle Sharkey, and Michelle O’Boyle. Louth settled quickly, winning the throw in, and Danielle Sharkey passed inside to Michelle O’Boyle, who was unlucky to miss. Moments later Gillian McDonald found herself through on goal and forced a great save from Ciara McCoy who stretched to palm the ball away from the bottom corner.

Louth scored their first point of the half from the resulting 45. Kate Flood floated the ball in, and it made its way out wide to Jenny McGuiness who fired over another point. Minutes later Kate Flood was unlucky to miss again, kicking wide as several Antrim defenders tackled her.

Antrim pulled back a point as they broke against a misshapen Louth defence. As the Antrim forwards drew back up the field during the early period of pressure they created a huge gap behind the full back line. A long ball and good running opened up the space for Antrim’s Miread Cooper to score a well worked point.

Louth scored three points in a row, with points from Jenny McGuiness, Kate Flood, and Susan Byrne, to bring Louth within three points of their opponents. Antrim however, managed to find the form that built their half time lead, scoring four unanswered points.

Antrim’s Kristy McGuiness was sin binned for dissent. The sin binning actually worked in Antrim’s favour, as the absence of McGuiness was coupled with Antrim bringing a corner forward back into midfield, which meant that Louth’s defence became stretched, as Antrim were able to capitalise on the sparsely manned Louth half.

Louth battled on with points from Siobhan McDonald, and another point from Jenny McGuiness. Louth worked admirably, and fought hard to try and turn the tide of the match.

Antrim won a penalty in the dying minutes as Marissa McGourly was brought down, and Kristy McGuiness, who had just finished serving her time on the sideline, put the ball in the top corner.

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