2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets

Magnificent 2nd half comeback by Meath ends with sides finishing all-square

ROUND 1 at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise

Sunday 22nd June 2003

Report and Pictures by Cóilín Duffy – www.laoisgaa.utvinternet.ie


Laois v Meath

Referee: J. Finucane (Dublin)

On a sunny Sunday afternoon at
O’Moore Park the TG4 Senior Ladies Championship
got underway before a sizeable attendance with
the clash of Laois and Meath. These sides had
been very close in their previous meetings with
last years corresponding tie at Dunsany seeing
Laois pull back from a ten point deficit to
run out two point winners on a 4-10 to 3-11
scoreline. This time it was Meath who produced
the goods in the second half trailing by nine
points at half-time: Laois 2-08 Meath 0-5 and
they did trail by ten points after 2 minutes
of play in the second half when a point from
Laois captain Mary Kehoe stretched the Laois
lead to ten points.

Aileen O’Loughlin steps up to take the Laois penalty

Laois playing into the Abbeyleix end of the
park opened the scoring after 55 seconds of
the first half with a point from a Mary Kirwan
free. Simonstown’s Jackie Shiels levelled after
two minutes with a pointed free. Meath went
a point in front through Geraldine Doherty after
5 minutes. Then a cracker of a goal from Laois
star player Sue Rambottom in the 6th minute
saw Laois go into a two point lead: Laois 1-01
Meath 0-02.

Mary Casey (8) Laois, Ann Marie Dennehy (27) Meath and Mary Kirwan Laois

Grainne Dunne recieved the first yellow card
of the day before Gillian Bennett left the minimum between
the sides with a pointed free in the 10th minute before
less than a minute later an infringement on Aileen O’Loughlin
for Laois in the square resulted in the Dublin official
awarding the homeside a penalty. Aileen who has had international
soccer experience with Ireland stepped up to take the penelty
and slotted expertly to the back of the Meath net leaving
Louise Byrne in the goals with no chance.

Sue Ramsbottom extended the Laois lead to five points as
Laois began to come more and more into the game. A Gillian
Bennett free left Meath in arrears by four points with 14
minutes gone into the half. Points from Mary Kirwan and
an excellent score by Tracey Lawlor in the 16th and 17th
minutes saw Laois race into a six point lead. Meath made
the first of the day’s substitutes when Ann Marie Dennehy
was introduced for midfielder Eve Waldrick.

Gillian Bennett clawed the Laois lead back to five points
with her pointed free for the Royals before the Laois management
of Sean ‘Goggy’ Delaney and Sammy Byrne introduced the first
of their subs with Grainne Dunne making way for Sarsfields
player Grace Weston. Mary Kirwan and Sue Ramsbottom added
points in quick succession in the 22nd minute and as Laois
began to dominate Meath felt another change was necessary
bringing in Skyrne’s Emily Davis for Louise McKeever.

Mary Kirwan and Sue Ramsbottom added further points in the
28th and 33rd minutes to leave Laois going into the half-time
break with a nine point lead.

HALF-TIME: Laois 2-08 Meath 0-05

Shortly after the break, after 45 seconds Ann Marie Dennehy
received Meath’s only yellow card of the day before Laois
captain Mary Kehoe powered Laois into a ten point lead and
at this stage it looked like Laois would continue were they
left off in the first half. But Laois were not to score
again for an amazing 38 minutes as 11 minutes of injury
time was played with the countdown clock in use. Jackie
Shiels added a point after 8 minutes from a free and when
Mary Casey exited the field for Maggie Murphy Laois began
to fall asunder.

When Katie O’Brien goaled for Meath in the 10th minute Laois
seemed to have no answer. Jackie Shiels narrowed the gap
to five points with a pointed free. Aileen O’Loughlin was
yellow carded before Laois made another substitution and
Mags Mcevoy was introduced for Laura Buggy. Three scores
in a row from Gillian Bennett followed for Meath, points
in the 16th and 18th minute were served up as starters with
the main course of a cracker of a goal following in the
19th minute as the sides were level at Meath 2-09 Laois

Laois made their final change with Gemma O’Connor making
way for Martha Kirwan, a younger sister of Mary. An exciting
closing stages followed and with the countdown clock being
used the sizeable attendance knew exactly what time was
left in the game. Both Laois and Meath pressed for scores
to no avail, Laois were down to 14 players following the
exit of Mags Phelan from the park after a red card was produced.
With two minutes left on the clock, in the 39th minute Gillian
Bennett with a point to put the visitors into the lead left
her with a personal tally of 1-06 for the day.

The Laois home support really got behind their side with
shouts of ‘Laois, Laois, Laois’ coming from the stand. Just
over a minute later after the Meath score Mary Kirwan, Laois’
expert for pulling games out of the fire for Laois Ladies.
Laois pressed and pressed at the Meath defence but could
not go in front and the game finished with the sides all
square at 2-10 a piece.

As this is a round robin series with another game to play
for both sides against Wexford and two teams to qualify
from the group, victories for both Laois and Meath over
the Slaneysiders would see them qualify for the semi-finals.
Wexford are not the force they used to be in Ladies Football
and they succumbed to Laois in last years championship on
a scoreline of Laois 6-19 Wexford 0-05.

FULL-TIME SCORE: Laois 2-10 Meath 2-10

LAOIS: Bernie Deegan, Grainne Dunne, Anna Connolly,
Mags Phelan, Angela Casey, Patricia Fogarty, Laura Buggy,
Mary Casey, Kathleen O’Reilly, Tracey Lawlor, Sue Ramsbottom,
Aileen O’Loughlin, Mary Kehoe (Capt), Mary Kirwan, Gemma

MEATH: Louise Byrne, Mary Sheridan, Louise McKeever,
Deirdre Mangan, Eileen Rahill, Jane Burke, Paula Dunne,
Eve Waldrick, Geraldine Doherty, Katie O’Brien, Jackie Shiels,
Grainne Nulty, Jenny Rispin, Gillian Bennett, Elaine Duffy.

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