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Leinster review

Leinster review
Bord Gáis Energy
Ladies National Football League round 3

There was a poor return this weekend from Leinster teams competing in the third round of the Bord Gáis Energy NFL, out of nine Leinster teams that were in action last weekend; only two Counties collected all three points.
In Division 1. (Laois 0-19 Kerry 1-9) Laois are on seven points, and share top spot with Galway, the O'Moore side played host to Kerry in Bill Delaney Park in Stradbally on Sunday last, and while games were being postponed in other parts of the Country due to poor weather conditions, referee Joe Murray gave the Laois game a green light after inspecting the excellent pitch and facilities at the Laois venue.
Laois came into this game after drawing with Monaghan (2-6 to 1-9) the previous weekend, and they needed a win against the kingdom to restore order to their league campaign. While the visitors were competing in their second game of the league, having lost out to Galway in their first round game, by the narrowest of margins (1-9 to 1-10).
Both sides battled hard throughout the sixty odd minutes, but the home side always seemed to have the edge over the visiting team, each time the Kingdom closed to gap, Laois's sharp shooters hit the target to keep their account in the black.
Laois's number nine Tracey Lawlor gave her usual one hundred and ten percent, notching up seven points, four of those coming from frees, in total eight Laois players got on the score sheet on the day. Two apiece from Mary and Noirin Kirwan, while Anna Moore, Olwyn Farrell, Angela Casey, Martina Dunne and Emer Fitzpatrick all tagged on points. Laois were also strong in defence, Caoimh Dollard's goal was well protected by Grainne Dunne, Lorraine Muckian and Aisling Quigley in the back line.
In fairness to Kerry, who were six points adrift at the break (0-9 to 0-3) upped their game in the second period and with in twelve minutes of the restart they had pared Laois's lead back to just two points (0-11 to 1-6), with a point apiece from Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh, Berni Breen and Lorraine Scallan, followed by a well struck goal by Patrice Dennehy.
A brace of points from Olwyn Farrell put the home side back in the driving seat (0-13 to 1-6), the Laois team shifted up an extra gear going in to the final ten minutes to run out comfortable winners with seven points to spare.
Dublin slipped up against Mayo (1-12 to 0-12), and are in an uncomfortable fourth place behind Laois, Galway, Mayo and Monaghan after three games. The capitals Sinead Ahern opened the Jackies account with the first of four points from the Dublin all star. Amy Guinness, Kim Flood Gemma Faye, Ciara Murphy and Niamh McEvoy were also on target for the Dubs.
Cora Staunton was a thorn in Dublins side, the Mayo all star was back to her best, firing over ten points, nine from frees, the heathers young gun, Ciara Hanahoe raised the only green flag in the game when she hit the back of the Dublin net in the second quarter, after she latched on to Staunton's rebounded shot, to leave Dublin trailing by three points ( 0-5 to 1-5) at the break, and although the home side went down to fourteen players twice in the game, the visitors were unable to capitalise, and had to settle for second spot. Dublins next outing will be against Kerry on the 7th of March, where they will be hoping to get back to winning ways.
In division 2. The Meath against Donegal game was postponed, however kildare were in action against Armagh, and were unlucky to lose out to the Orchard County by the narrowest of margins (1-5 to 0-9).
While in division 3. Wicklow welcomed Fermanagh to Hollywood, to contest their Bord Gáis Energy NFL third round game. But last years beaten all Ireland Intermediate finalist, were quick to put their stamp on the game with goals from Caroline Little and Danielle Maguire in the first half to put the Erne ladies in the driving seat at the break (2-7 to 0-3). Wicklow had a mountain to climb if they were to get any points from this game, and with in minutes of the throw in the Garden County started to reel the Northern side in, with points from Caoilfhionn Deeney and Jackie Kinch, Kinch, one of Wicklow's rising stars coming through from the minor ranks, worked tirelessly in the midfield, along side the experienced Caitriona McKeon, but despite all their hard work the Wicklow forwards were unable to put crucial scores on the board.
Although Wicklow have only three points from three games in the league to date, they can take many positives from their past performances. Wicklow's manager Mick O'Rourke has a couple of weeks to prepare the side before they take on Roscommon in the fourth round of the league. Wicklow will be looking to over turn last years result in the Bord Gáis Energy NFL division three final, when they were beaten by Roscommon by four points (1-12 to 1-8).
Wicklow; Emer Miley, Lisa Brady, Janet Miley, Aoife Heffernan, Niamh Kelly, Sarah Miley, Becca Fusciardi, Cathriona McKeon, Caoilfhionn Deeney 0 – 4, Lauri Ahern, Niamh Reid, Niamh Carroll 0 – 1, Sinead Boland, Aisling O'hAnnaidh 0 -2, Eadaoine Lenihan. Subs Jackie Kinch 0 – 2, Amie Byrne, Lucy Mulhall, Mikaela Shelly.
Longford ( 1-13 to 1-2) collected all three points from Wexford when both sides went head to head on Sunday last in Emmet Park-Killoe. The home side led by 1-6 to 0-1, with leading scorer Denis Murtagh finding the back of the Wexford net.. Murtagh finished with a personal tally of 1-7, while Tara Moloney responded with a second half consolation goal for for the model county, near neighbours Kilkenny lost out to a strong Leitrim side (1-5 to 4-12) in their Bord Gáis Energy division four clash on Sunday last in Freshford. Wexford and Kilkenny are away to Cavan and Limerick respectively on the 7th of March.
Louth were also in action away to Antrim (1-8 to 2-9) on Sunday last, A late rally from Louth Ladies failed to gain any reward as Antrim held out for victory in a competitive encounter in Belfast this afternoon.
After a disappointing third quarter, the Wee County found themselves 2-9 to 0-7 behind but were on top for the remainder of the game and grabbed a goal and point to stay in contention.
However, despite creating a number of chances they were unable to get the goal required to help complete the come back. The Wee County showed great heart in the closing stages and grabbed a goal through Niamh Reid, but saw Catherine Page denied goals by fine saves. Laura O'Neill had the final point for Louth but it wasn't enough to save the game as Antrim held on for the points.
Scorers: Niamh Reid (1-0), Susan Byrne (0-3), Catherine Page (0-2), Tara Lynch, Laura O'Neill and Maeve O'Hare 0-1 each.
Louth: Caoimhe Breen; Clare Lennon, Sarah Quinn, Grace Rogers; Anne Marie Lynch, Grace Lynch, Deirdre O'Hare; Rosanna Heeney, Tara Lynch; Susan Byrne, Kate Flood, Catherine Page; Patricia Marmion, Maeve O'Hare, Laura O'Neill. Subs: Amy Devlin for D O'Hare, Aine Connolly for Lennon, Niamh Reid for M O'Hare, Emma Conlonf for Byrne, Niamh McDermott for Connolly.

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