Division 2b Meath V Waterford

Bord Gáis Energy National Ladies Football League

Division 2b

Meath v Waterford,

Pairc Tailteann,
Sunday 5th April
Throw-In: 2pm
Referee: Gavin Corrigan (Down)

Half Time: Meath 0-08 v Waterford 1-01
Full Time: Meath 0-15 v Waterford 2-13 (AET)

Meath crashed out of the Bord Gais Energy National League at the hands of Waterford, despite a fine display in Pairc Tailteann on Sunday. Indeed, Meath should have had the game won in normal time, but Waterford came back to level the game and as required extra time was played. By extra time, Meath ran out of answers for Waterford, and the girls from the South ran out easy winners in extra time. Meath will now have no competitive games until they play Dublin in the Leinster Championship Semi final on 4th July.

Meath dominated the early exchanges, but it wasn’t until the fifth minute that they managed a score. A counter attack involving Louise McKeever, Mary Sheridan, Niamh O’Sullivan and Elaine Duffy allowed Duffy to finish superbly to open the Royals account for the afternoon. On eight minutes, the goal keeper’s kick-out was won by Aine Fagan, whose contribution to the Royals League campaign has been a revelation given that this is her first year playing in the adult ranks. Fagan found Grainne Nulty in space who in turn Philomena Sheridan and the Seneschalstown player made no mistake with the finish, doubling the Royals score. Waterford attacks were broken down by the Meath defense with Shauna Bennett and Claire Coffey working superbly. Aine Fagan added her own point on ten minutes as she ran through the Waterford defence like they weren’t there at all to split the posts, for Meath’s third point. On 12 mins Elaine Duffy added Meath’s fourth and the Royals appeared to be coasting as Waterford had had little luck at the other end. On the resumption a foot block in the Royal parallelogram resulted in a Waterford penalty. The crowd casted their minds back to last season when Orlagh McLaughlin had travelled to Cork to play the Rebel County in the league and had saved a penalty from All Star Valerie Mulcahy. Unfortunately for McLaughlin, Waterford’s full forward Michelle Ryan hit the spot and Waterford got on the scoreboard adding a point for themselves on 16 mins also through Ryan. This brought the game level, but the Royals were not going to be defeated on their home soil. Philomena Sheridan put the Royals in front on 18 mins and Meath were unlucky not to score a goal of their own as a cross from Niamh O’Sullivan found Grainne Nulty but the Seneschalstown player did not get enough force on it as she tried to force it into the back of the net, it fell safely into the arms of the keeper and away. Niamh O’ Sullivan, who was making strides on the half forward line, added a point of her own on 21 mins. Meath added a further two points before the half time whistle through Elaine Duffy and O’Sullivan on 23 and 25 mins respectively. At half time, Meath were winning by four points, Meath 0-08 Waterford 1-01.

While Meath were confident heading out for the second half, Waterford were quietly confident that they could turn the result around leading to a very exciting second half. Waterford added only their second point of the game on 33 mins through Michelle McGrath. Meath added a further two points to lead by 5 points, through Gillian Bennettt and Philomena Sheridan. Louise Ryan pulled one back from Waterford from an easy free on 42 mins, while Meath squandered chances at the other end through Niamh O’Sullivan and substitute Aimee Bennett. Orlagh McLaughlin made a stunning save on 44 mins to keep Meath in the game.
Waterford tagged on two points to leave just two points between the teams. Duffy stretched the lead to three on 51 mins, but this was erased by substitute Niamh Briggs. Aimee Bennett put three between the teams again on 56 mins, but a well worked goal by Waterford ensured that full time would finish all square, Meath 0-12 to Waterford 2-06.

In extra time, Waterford were on a roll, putting up two points in the opening moments. Philomena Sheridan added one for the Royals, but the girls from the South were more productive with the ball, retaining possession and making use of space when it was given to them. Waterford added a further two points in the first half of extra time, to lead by three at the half time whistle. This was despite Meath’s several chances to level matters. In the second half of extra time, it seemed ike Meath would come back and rescue the game at the death, like the game against Cavan two weeks ago, but on this occasion it was not to be as Waterford hung on. Michelle Ryan added a point on 13 mins (extra time) but this was cancelled out by a free from Aimee Bennett on 15 mins. A scuffle on the edge of the box resulted in Nulty adding a point but Waterford added on a further two points to secure a spot in the semi finals of the League to be played in a fortnights time. Waterford ran out eventual winners, Meath 0-15 to Waterford 2-13. They will meet either Down, Tipperary or Sligo in the semi finals.

For Meath it will be back to the drawing board. Manager Brendan Dardis will have learnt a lot about his panel of players and will know what areas he needs to concentrate on before he takes on the girls from the Capital on the 4th July. Best for Meath on the day was Orlagh McLaughlin, Claire Coffey, Philomena Sheridan, Niamh O’Sullivan, Shauna Bennett and Mary Sheridan.

Meath Team & Scorers: Orlath McLaughlin, Claire Coffey, Louise McKeever, Brid Guy, Shauna Bennett, Sinead McCormack, Ciara Daly, Grainne Nulty (0-01), Aedin Murray, Niamh O’Sullivan (0-02), Philomena Sheridan (0-04), Aine Fagan (0-01), Elaine Duffy (0-04), Gillian Bennett (0-01).
Subs: Eve Wardick for Murray, Aimee Bennett (0-02) for Daly, Avril Robinson for G. Bennett, Ciara Dempsey for Fagan, Jenny Rispin for McCormack, Fiona O’Neill for Duffy, Maria Kealy for Guy.

Waterford Team: A. Jordan, N. Dunphy, A. Dunphy, Eileen Power, R. Kirwan, M. Foley, A. McGovern, L. Ryan, G. Enright, M. McGrath, Elaine Power, L. Wall, M. Wall, M. Ryan, R. Manahan.

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