Laois Crowned Leinster Senior Champions

TG4 Leinster ladies senior football championship final

Meath 1-10

Laois 2-8

By Jackie Cahill at Dr. Cullen Park, Carlow.

TEENAGE star Sinead Doogue scored a sensational winning point to hand Laois a first TG4 Leinster Ladies senior football championship crown since 2007 at Dr. Cullen Park in Carlow this afternoon.

Doogue, 18, fired over the winner in the 40th minute of actual playing time in the second half, and with just 20 seconds remaining on the match clock.

Doogue’s winner capped a superb comeback for Laois, who trailed by 1-7 to 1-10 in the closing minutes before sub Olywn Farrell netted and Doogue had the final say.

Meath forward Ger Doherty, the matchwinner in the semi-final victory over Dublin, came off the bench again in the second half and had a major say in proceedings, landing three points from play.

But sin-binnings for Meath players Jenny Rispin and Louise McKeever cost Meath in the second half as Laois sealed a 12th provincial senior crown, despite playing into the teeth of a stiff breeze after half-time.

Rispin was harshly yellow-carded after Grace Weston appeared to charge into her while McKeever’s stint in the sin-bin saw her sit out the remainder of the game as Meath finished with 14 players.

The sides were level six times in front of a healthy Dr. Cullen Park attendance, including at half-time, 1-4 apiece.

Laois got off to a dream start when Martha Kirwan netted after just 20 seconds to cap a flowing move involving Anna Moore and Mary Kirwan.

But scores from Grainne Nulty (2) and Kate O’Brien had Meath level by the 11th minute and they moved ahead for the first time in the game when Elaine Duffy banged home a 25th minute penalty.

But Laois, who trailed by 1-2 to 1-4 at that point, responded with points from Mary Kirwan and Tracey Lawlor, both frees, to restore parity by half-time.

The sides were level on three further occasions during the second half before Meath, who put together a scintillating run of five unanswered points, moved into a 1-10 to 1-7 lead.

Doherty was central to this purple patch, kicking three points, but Meath would rue a tally of eight second half wides, after Laois themselves had registered eight in the first half.

With the clock running down, Meath looked good for victory but there were still a couple of late twists to come in this tale.

In the 37th minute of a stop-start and physical second half, Doogue’s shot was saved by Irene Munnelly but Farrell picked up the pieces for a levelling goal.

And with extra-time looming, Doogue raced through to secure the Mary Ramsbottom Cup for the O’Moore County.

Laois advance to a TG4 All-Ireland quarter-final next month, while devastated Meath must regroup for the qualifiers.

Despite Meath’s loss, captain Nulty received the official player of the match award.

Scorers for Meath: E Duffy 1-2 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), G Doherty 0-3, K O’Brien 0-3 (2f), G Nulty (0-2).

Scorers for Laois: T Lawlor 0-4 (3f), Martha Kirwan & O Farrell 1-0 each, Martina Dunne 0-2, Mary Kirwan (f) and Sinead Doogue 0-1 each.

MEATH: I Munnelly; L McKeever, A Murray, O Sheridan; S Bennett, E Rahill, K Allen; K O’Brien, G Nulty; C O’Shaughnessy, E Duffy, F Mahon; J Rispin, M Sheridan, V McCormack.

Sub: G Doherty for Duffy (42).

LAOIS: C Dollard; L Hyland, G Dunne, E Healy; A Taylor, J Moore, M McEvoy; A Casey, T Lawlor; Mary Kirwan, A Moore, M Dunne; Martha Kirwan, S Doogue, G Weston.

Subs: O Farrell for Martha Kirwan (half-time), D Callanan for M Dunne (50), A Quigley for Hyland (56).

Referee: P Kehoe (Carlow)

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