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Down v Meath


BORD GAIS ENERGY Ladies National Football League 2009

Division 2b

Down v Meath,
Saval G.A.C.,
Sunday 1st March
Throw-In: 2pm

Half Time: Down 1-05 v Meath 0-01
Full Time: Down 1-09 v Meath 1-04

Meath Ladies suffered a blow in their National League campaign when they were comprehensively beaten by Down in Saval on Sunday afternoon. They face a home game against Cavan in the final round of the League in a fortnight’s time and will need to get a victory to ensure they qualify for the knock-out stages of the competition. After accounting for Longford and Fermanagh in the earlier rounds of the League, Meath set out to play Down with high hopes. Unfortunately it was not a good day for the Royals as the ladies from the Mourne County were in defiant humour and not about to be defeated in front of their home crowd.

The game began with Down in control and they registered the first score through a free taken by Aileen Pyres. Pyres had been instrumental to Down in last year’s Championship and was a continual thorn in the Royal Ladies side all through the match. On four minutes, Meath registered what was to be, incredibly, their only score of the half through a well taken point by Grainne Nulty. From registering
4-16 over Fermanagh last weekend, Meath looked like a shadow of their previous self. Down had more possession and were cleverer and quicker with the ball. The game could be taken as a learning curve for Brendan and his charges, who will hope to improve ahead of the Cavan game.
Down doubled their advantage on 14 minutes again through Pyres, but a positional switch by Dardis placed Walterstown’s Aine Fagan on the talented forward and Fagan kept her scoreless for the remainder of the half. On sixteen minutes a fumble in possession by Jenny Rispin was latched onto by Kyla Trainor and the Down midfielder set off like lightening with the top corner of Meath’s goal in her mind. And goalMunnelly was powerless to stop the shot, just as the defenders in front of her had also been unable to stop Trainor’s run.
A moment later, Down were a further point to the good courtesy of centre half forward Lisa Morgan. Goal-scorer Trainor added a further point to the scoreboard on 19 mins. Full forward Michaela Downey gave the Mourne County their final point of the half just before injury time to leave Down well in front, 1-05 to 0-01.
Meath had had four wides in the opening half in comparison to Down’s six scores and seven wides. Meath were a pale reflection on their former selves, but it was hoped that the second half would be more industrious for the Royal girls.

As it turned out, the second half was more industrious from a Royal point of view. Substitutions made at half time by the Meath management worked. The team were tougher on tackling and dispossessing and began to believe in their ability to defeat the opposition. Down were still the more creative of the two teams but Meath did up a gear. On 35 and 36 mins, Pyres and Downey compounded Royal misery with well taken points. A foul on Gillian Bennett just inside the Down 21′ allowed the St. Michaels player to add Meath’s second point from a well taken free. Elaine Duffy was unlucky to see her shot rebound off the upright on 42 mins. The forwards began to up the tempo and Bennett was unlucky to see shots go wide on 47 and 51 mins. On 52 mins, Meath were again on the attack. A hopeful ball was kicked in from the right corner, and Fiona O’Neill got a hand to it to challenge the Down keeper who was alive to the danger and found safety in Down Captain Eliza Downey.

On the next Meath attack, a scuffle in the small parallelogram resulted in a foul on Bennett and a penalty for the Royal girls. St. Ultans’ Elaine Duffy stepped up to take the penalty. The shot was saved but spilled by the Down keeper and Duffy was first to the loose ball to place it firmly in the back of the net. A minute later Meath were within five points of the Mourne County (1-08 to 1-03) when Gillian Bennett converted from close range. This was cancelled out immediately as Morgan was again on hand to point for Down. Meath had the last say though as just before full time Gillian Bennett was again fouled, right in front of the Down goal on the 13 metre line. A simple point but by then, the end result was on the wall for the Royal girls. The game ended with Meath the wrong side of a five point scoreline, Down winning 1-09 to Meath 1-04.

Despite defeat, Meath will have learnt a lot from the Down game. With two weeks until they play Cavan, they have time on their side to improve. Impressive for Meath were Aine Fagan, Jane Burke, and Philomena Sheridan.

Meath team & Scorers: Irene Munnelly, Claire Coffey, Mary Sheridan, Aine Fagan, Jenny Rispin, Jane Burke, Ciara Dempsey, Grainne Nulty (0-01), Eve Wardick, Elaine Duffy (1-00), Gillian Bennett (0-03), Aedin Murray, Shauna Bennett, Philomena Sheridan, Maria Kealy.
Subs: Sinead McCormack for Rispin, Fiona O’Neill for Wardick, Ciara Daly for Dempsey, Louise McKeever for Fagan, Avril Robinson for Kealy, Aimee Bennett for P.Sheridan.

Down: E. McCourt, G. Gibney, E. Downey, N. Lennon, K. O’Neill, A. Downey, S. Fegan, K. Trainor, F. Carr, L. Cunningham, L. Morgan, O. Fegan, E. Mulhern, M. Downey, A. Pyres.

Referee: Michael Henry (Monaghan)

Attention now turns to the start of the club leagues which begin next weekend. Current Intermediate champions and Division 2 champs St. Michaels will open their account against Senior runners up St. Ultans in Carlanstown. The girls in Black and Red will be hoping to sneak a result from the Ultans Ladies, as they venture into top league football for the first time since the 1990s. League finalists Donaghmore-Ashbourne take on newly promoted Boardsmill in Ashbourne and will be hopeful that their participation in last year’s League final works in their favour. Royal Gaels will host current League Champs Dunboyne and with regular keeper Orlaith McLaughlin out injured the Gaels will be depending on their panel to get stuck in against their neighbours, while Senior Champions Seneschalstown have a weeks rest in the opening round.

Round 1 of Club Leagues – 8th March
Division 1
St Michaels v St Ultans
Donaghmore Ashbourne v Boardsmill A
Royal Gaels v Dunboyne
Seneschalstown — bye —–

Division 2
Skryne v Moylagh
Na Fianna v Dunsany
Clan na nGael v Simonstown
Blackhall Gaels v Duleek Bellewstown

Division 3 North League
Wolfe Tones v Boardsmill B
Oldcastle v Dee Rangers
Gaeil Colmcille v Clan na nGael B
Na Fianna B — bye —

Division 3 South League
Ratoath v Walterstown
Navan O’Mahonys v Kilbride
Moynalvey v St Colmcilles
St Pats v Duleek B

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