Meath Ladies Bord Gáis Energy National Ladies Football League Division Two Round 1

Meath v Waterford
Sunday 6th February 2011 at 2pm.
Walsh Park, Waterford City.

Half Time: Meath 3-09 v Waterford 0-01
Full Time: Meath 4-14 v Waterford 1-04

Meath began their 2011 League campaign with an emphatic win over the Deise on their own home turf today. Revenge is often a dish best served cold and the Royals definitely dished up Waterford double helpings in today’s match. After beating the Royals in extra time in 2009 to knock them out of quarter finals of the League, Waterford had a successful 2010 – reaching the Intermediate All Ireland Final against Donegal. Unsuccessful last September, today was their first competitive match since and the Deise side looked like a shadow of their former selves.

Meath’s recession is most certainly over. Under new management, and with the return of Gráinne Nulty, Katie O’Brien and Fiona Mahon to the first 15, they dominated this match from the throw in. Playing with the wind in the opening half, Meath dominated play, allowing Waterford just a solitary point while the Royals scored 3-09. Royal domination continued in the second half, with
Meath content to maintain possession against an unpredictable breeze. The introduction of Geraldine Doherty in the second half was a major bonus for Meath and she was a thorn in the Waterford defence scoring three points from play.

Playing with the wind turned out to be the correct decision as within forty seconds of the throw in, Meath were a point up courtesy of Jenny Rispin. Ominous signs for Waterford started as early as the third and forth minutes as they put frees wide. Katie O’Brien doubled Meath’s advantage in the 6th minute when an Elaine Duffy free rebounded off the crossbar into O’Brien’s waiting arms. Fiona Mahon gave the Waterford keeper Aimee Jordan food for thought in the seventh minute when Kellie
Allen rescued the ball from going over the endline and lobbed it towards the box. Mahon was first to it and didn’t need an invitation to find the back of the net. Allen in fact was at the heart of all four of Meath’s goals, scoring two herself and setting up the other two – the first for Fiona Mahon and the second for Duffy on 11 mins. Duffy continues to be the Royal master from a dead ball – adding to the scoreline in the 8th and 14 mins respectively. In patches Meath still have some work to do, but for the
first match of the season, the game was played at a high tempo and with a high degree of skill.

Meath had leaders all over the pitch, but the midfield pairing of Katie O’Brien and Shauna Bennett worked exceptionally well as they ran at the Deise defence with Bennett reaping the rewards in the 21st and 24th mins with two perfect points. Waterford scored their only score of the half in the 23rd min when slack marking allowed Waterford through the Meath defence and full forward Sinead Ryan pointed with determination. If ever a response was required it was then, and Meath seemed to
step up a gear with the defence tightening up and the forwards moving for the ball. Bridgetta Lynch playing further outfield than she is used to with her club, Oldcastle, did Trojan work in moving the ball inside to Duffy, Allen and Rispin.
On 28 mins, Lynch found Mahon in a little space and the Seneschalstown player sent the ball in high to Allen who cheekily put the ball between the keeper’s legs and into the back of the net. Allen also had the last say of the half as she sent the ball over the bar to give Meath a 3-09 to 0-01 lead with the aid of the wind.

Although conditions for the match were better than the majority of the country, the wind was unpredictable and Meath supporters were hoping for a strong performance from the Meath defence in the second half. A strong performance is exactly what was given as the Meath defence were called on, Ashley Leavy, Maria Kealy, Eileen Rahill, Aideen Murray, Orla Sheridan and O’Brien did brilliantly in the second half, not giving Waterford a second to think or get passes together. Philomena Sheridan
did brilliantly covering back and linking with the midfield. Meath added 1-05 to their first half haul – with Allen scoring her second goal on 36 mins, Ger Doherty made a huge impact scoring three points on 38, 41 and 51 mins respectively. Shauna added her third point of the day on 35 mins while Mahon scored her third point of the afternoon on 50 mins. Waterford added their points for the second half on the 40th, 53rd and 57th mins of the second half and had the last say of the match with a fine goal deep into injury time. Signs of Waterford of old were certainly visible in this opening league match. They certainly can offer more and will no doubt in the rest of their campaign. For Meath, it is the start that was badly needed.

Overall, the Meath performance was more like the Meath teams from the past. They hassled and hurried the Waterford players, fought for every ball and came out with the 50/50 ball. Picking out one or two players would be unfair as this was a huge team effort and bodes well for the rest of the campaign. Meath now prepare for the challenge of Armagh who they face next Sunday at 12.0 in Páirc Tailteann. Armagh will provide a stiff test but with the talent and depth of the panel shown in Waterford today, Meath should be hopeful for a positive result. Final score in Waterford was 4-14 to 1-04.

Meath Team & Scorers: Orlagh McLaughlin, Aedin Murray, Eileen Rahill, Maria Kealy, Ashley Leavy, Gráinne Nulty, Orla Sheridan, Katie O’Brien (0-01), Shauna Bennett (0-03), Bridgetta Lynch, Elaine Duffy (1-02), Kellie Allen (2-01), Jenny Rispin (0-01), Philomena Sheridan, Fiona Mahon (1-03).

Subs: Geraldine Doherty (0-03) for Lynch (35 mins), Adelle Carolan for Rispin (42 mins), Eve Wardick for O’Brien (47 mins), Caitriona O’Shaughnessy for Mahon (52 mins), Tara Ryan for Allen (54 mins), Vivienne McCormack for Leavy (56 mins), Shannon McDonagh for Duffy (58 mins) Emma Harris for Nulty, Stephanie Byrne for Kealy, Roisin Nulty for Rahill (all 59 mins).

Waterford: A. Jordan, L. Hogan, G. Enright, N. Dunphy, L. Ryan, M. Foley, A. Dunphy, E. Power, M. McGrath, A. Wall, M. Ryan, M. Wall, L. Wall, S. Ryan, T. Fitzgerald.

Referee: Mags Doherty (Wexford)

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