Laois Ladies Return to Winning Ways

Laois shock Meath in first win of season

Laois 5-10

Meath 0-8

Laois ladies recorded their first win of the season where a tremendous team effort saw them overcome Meath in Navan on Sunday afternoon.

10 August 2013; Ellen Healy, Laois, celebrates after the game. TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship, Round 2, Qualifier, Laois v Meath, St. Brendan’s Park, Birr, Co. Offaly. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***
10 August 2013; Ellen Healy, Laois, celebrates after the game. TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship, Round 2, Qualifier, Laois v Meath, St. Brendan’s Park, Birr, Co. Offaly. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE 

The revitalised Laois side were first on the score board, Noirin Kirwan wasted no time in getting off the mark with a point from a free inside the opening minute. The strong cross field wind made it difficult for both teams to register scores; Meath hitting 7 wides in the opening half compared to 3 for Laois. In the 6th minute Mo Nerney was fouled and Martina Dunne accurately popped the ball over the bar; Laois leading 0-2 to 0-0. In the 12th minute Noirin Kirwan took a sideline ball and Player of the match Ellen Healy darted up the pitch from wing back to receive it, weaved in through the Meath defence and rifled to the net to put Laois 1-2 to 0-0 ahead. Jacinta Maher opened the scoring for Meath in the 16th minute but good play from Clodagh Dunne and Noirin Kirwan set Mo Nerney up for a well taken point a minute later. Meath struggled to match the tempo of Laois but a passage of good play in the middle of the half saw Katie Bellew and Jacinta Maher hit a point each to close the gap to 1-2 to 0-3 in favour of Laois. Laois upped their game as the half came to a close; Maggie Murphy, Noirin Kirwan and Martina Dunne combined to allow captain Laura Marie Maher run in at goal and Maher didn’t hesitate to slot the ball past the Meath ‘keeper. Fiona Dooley’s accurate pass into the hands of Mo Nerney resulted in another score for Laois a minute later. Aine Bennett pointed for Meath but good play from Aine Haberlin and Mo Nerney saw Noirin Kirwan raise the white flag to leave Laois 2-5 to 0-4 ahead at the break.

Against Westmeath last week, Laois slipped out of the game in the second half but the ladies eliminated any doubt of this recurring by hitting the ground running at the start of the second half; Martina Dunne winning a free and converting it herself to start the half’s scoring. Ellen Healy, who made superb runs throughout the game, sprinted up the sideline, linked up with Noirin Kirwan who returned the pass, and Healy slotted it between the posts. Fiona Dooley and Nicole Byrne worked the ball up the pitch and Meaghan Dunne made a diagonal run in on goals to receive the pass and rattled the net to give Laois a 3-7 to 0-4 lead with 25 minutes left in the game. Meath found another gear and for the next 15 minutes they enjoyed the majority of possession. Two points from Megan Thynne and one from Vikki Wall narrowed the gap 3-7 to 0-7. Credit to Laois they dug deep and Martina Dunne intercepted a Meath attack, carried the ball on her left foot and put it over the bar. This was a crucial score for Laois and took the wind out of Meath’s sails. The Laois full forward line of Nerney, Martina Dunne and Meaghan Dunne combined to set Noirin Kirwan up for a well taken goal which put the writing on the wall. Meath hit back with a point from Vikki Wall but Laois finished the game strongly with a point each from Noirin Kirwan and Mo Nerney and an excellently orchestrated goal from Laois captain Laura Marie Maher.

The elated faces of players, management and county board after the game showed this win was badly needed for Laois. It marked a positive step in what has been a difficult year for Laois ladies. The win came as a result of the recent county forums which have proven to be crucial in getting the team back on track. Denise Langton and Mag Phelan’s addition into the management team have been huge assets to the management and today’s performance showed how management, players and county board are finally gelling together for the benefit of the sport in the county. Meath and Westmeath play next week in the next round robin game and Laois will then know who they face in the Leinster semi-final.

Laois scorers: Laura Marie Maher 2-0, Noirin Kirwan 1-3 (0-2 frees), Ellen Healy 1-1, Meaghan Dunne 1-0, Mo Nerney 0-3, Martina Dunne 0-3 (0-2 frees).


Laois: Ciamh Dollard; Clodagh Dunne, Grainne Dunne, Nicole Byrne; Maggie Murphy, Maureen Young, Ellen Healy; Fiona Dooley, Aine Haberlin; Laura Marie Maher, Noirin Kirwan, Joyce Dunne; Mo Nerney, Martina Dunne, Meaghan Dunne. Subs: Marie Byrne for Meaghan Dunne (50 mins), Libby Waldron for Nicole Byrne (50 mins), Laura Peake for Noirin Kirwan (50 mins), Lizzie Brophy for Joyce Dunne (53 mins).


Meath scorers: Megan Thyme 0-2 (0-1 free), Vikki Wall 0-2 (0-1 free), Jacinta Maher 0-2 (0-1 free), Katie Bellew and Aine Bennett 0-1 each.


Meath: Monica McGuirk; Aideen Guy, Sarah Powderly, Rebecca Considine; Siofra Clery, Katie Bellew, Regina Hand; Kate Byrne, Niamh Lister; Megan Thynne, Vikki Wall, Jacinta Maher; Aine Bennett, Marion Farrelly, Ellie O Neill. Subs: Kelsey Nesbit for Katie Bellew (30 mins), Alex Goodman for Kate Byrne (38 mins), Julie Donnellan (yellow card) for Aine Bennett (42 mins), Lauren Byrne for Rebecca Considine (48 mins), Hannah Heskin for Siofra Cleary (55 mins).


Referee: Stephen McNulty (Wicklow).


Player of the match:

Ellen Healy. The Portlaoise lady had an excellent game as an attacking wing back. She scored 1-1 from play, her goal came early in the first half and it sparked a momentum for Laois which they maintained for the game.

Talking point:

If Laois had played Meath first and not Westmeath the result against Westmeath could have been different.

Turning point:

Martina Dunne’s 50th minute point. Laois hadn’t scored in 15 mins and Meath had scored 3 on the trot. Dunnes point put Laois back in control.

By: Aisling Cullen

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