Down 1-09 Meath 1-04

Bord Gais National League Division Two
Down 1-09 Meath 1-04

Saval 01/03/09
Referee Michael Henry, Monaghan

The Down Ladies team overcame Meath on Sunday in what may prove to be their toughest encounter of the Bord Gais National League Division Two campaign this year.

Down had the better of the opening spoils, with Aileen Pyers hitting the opener from a free on three minutes after a foul on Sinead Fegan in front of the posts. Meath responded quickly with a free from midfielder Grainne Nulty The mourne girls received an early blow as corner back Emma Mulhern was forced off the field with a blood injury, with Bryansford’s Jenna Connell stepping in.

Down took the lead again as an excellent through ball from midfielder Lynsey Cunningham found Pyers who fired over from twenty yards. Down’s early purple patch was extended as they struck for their first goal on the twelve minute mark. A flowing move started in the back line eventually found Kyla Trainor who bore down on Meath goalkeeper Irene Munelly before thumping the ball into the top right hand corner. Despite losing Lynsey Cunningham for ten minutes due to a yellow card, Down continued to dominate the play, particularly Lisa Morgan, Kyla Trainor and Aileen Pyers. Down hit further scores from Morgan and two from Michaela Downey, who fired over her own free and scored one from lay after an excellent interplay with her sister Aoibheann and Clonduff team mate Fionnuala Carr.

The Meath back line were certainly no pushover as they exerted tremendous pressure on Down across the field however they were unable to add to their single score of the half. Half time score, Down 1-5, Meath 0-1.

The second half saw Down seemingly take up where they left off as Michaela Downey was put through on goal in the first minute of play. Her shot at goal was partially blocked by keeper Munelly but Downey recovered possession before finding Pyers for her third point of the game. She didn’t have long to wait for her fourth as Downey found her with a great pass in from the left wing and Pyers again held off the attentions of the Meath defence to score.

Meath’s first score in over thirty minutes of football came from the excellent Gillian Bennett who fired over from a free, just reward for her tireless efforts on the half forward line. Down restored their nine point lead with a further free from Aileen Pyers and probably her best of the game, stroked over beautifully from wide on the left. Down’s comfortable lead was assisted by some wasteful possession by Meath who fought ferociously for the ball only to make bad choices in distribution and shooting. They produced their best goal chance of the game on the half way mark as corner forward Shauna Bennett drilled a ball low towards the right hand corner, only for Down ‘keeper Elaine McCourt to pull off a full length diving save. Down then suffered another yellow card as Sinead Fegan headed for the sin bin in what looked like a case of mistaken identity by referee Michael Henry. Meath took advantage and started to exert some severe pressure on the Down defence with a high ball in by Bennett being scrambled away by goal keeper McCourt and captain Eliza Downey, who was a stalwart in defence for Down all afternoon. Another chance came around for Meath again as they were awarded a penalty for a foul in the square and while McCourt pulled off a great save to her right, the rebound was fired home to give Down a few nerves going into the final minutes. Meath added two further points with one coming back for Down from Lisa Morgan. Meath sub Aimee Bennett brought the gap back to five points but the clock was to beat them as referee Michael Henry called for time. Final score, Down 1-09, Meath 1-04.

With the last of their two home games now complete, Down hit the road for next weeks encounter against Longford. Down manager Paul McShane was happy with the performance saying, “we knew today’s game was going to be tough and it proved to be just that. We had to fight every bit of the way against a tough Meath side and while we are disappointed in terms of the amount of lost possession, overall today was a job well done”.

Also at the game, the Down team took delivery of their new match day gear, sponsored by Glasgiven Contracts. Pictured in photo is left to right, William James Smith and Liam Murphy, Glasgiven Contracts, Eliza Downey, Down Ladies captain and senior managers Sean O’Hare and Paul McShane.
Down team: Elaine McCourt, Gemma Gibney, Eliza Downey, Niamh Lennon, Kerrie O’Neill, Aoibheann Downey, Sinead Fegan, Kyla Trainor (1-0), Fionnuala Carr, Lynsey Cunningham, Lisa Morgan (0-2), Orla Fegan, Emma Mulhern, Michaela Downey (0-2), Aileen Pyers (0-5)

Meath team: Irene Munelly, Claire Coffey, Mary Sheridan, Aine Fagan, Jenny Rispin, Jane Burke, Ciara Dempsey, Grainne Nulty, Eve Wardick, Elaine Duffy, Gillian Bennett, Aedin Murrey, Shauna Bennett, Philomena Sheridan, Maria Kealy.

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