Meath Ladies: Bord Gáis Energy National Ladies Football League Division Two Round 2

Bord Gáis Energy National Ladies Football League Division Two
Round 2
Meath v Armagh
Sunday 13th February 2011 at 12pm.
Donaghmore-Ashbourne GAA, Meath.

Half Time: Meath 1-08 v Armagh 0-03
Full Time: Meath 3-18 v Armagh 1-06

Meath Ladies continued their assault on the National Football League with a comprehensive victory over Armagh today in the superb grounds of the Donaghmore-Ashbourne GAA centre. With the pitch in supreme condition, the Ashbourne officials were also able to ensure that the weather conditions were perfect for the clash! After their victory over Waterford last weekend, Meath were eager to show that it was not a flash in the pan win and victory today was vital ahead of a tough trip to Kerry next weekend.

Meath got off to a good start and were a point to the good after just two mins when Katie O’Brien split the posts. Early wides from the Meath side got rid of jittery nerves. Elaine Duffy doubled Royal advantage in the sixth minute after good link up play from Gráinne Nulty, Geraldine Doherty, and Kellie Allen who found Duffy in some space. Conditions underfoot were slippy and it wasn’t until the tenth minute that Armagh got onto the scoreboard. Orla Sheridan slipped and was unfortunate to only find an Armagh player when she palmed the ball away. On the counter attack Armagh looked dangerous – Caroline O’Hanlon pointed for the Orchard County to half the deficit. Meath pulled one back immediately through Jenny Rispin, who was thorn in the Orchard County’s defence all afternoon. Frees conceded by Armagh on the 13m line in the 15th and 17th mins were ably converted by Fiona Mahon and Duffy. Time and again Meath broke down the Armagh attacks with Shauna Bennett, Gráinne Nulty and Eileen Rahill particularly impressing. Mahon converted another free on 22 mins to put Meath 6 points to 1 in front. On the resumption, Meath won the kick out – and a perfect through ball from Nulty found Doherty who flawlessly passed off to Jenny Rispin, and the Summerhill player needed no invitation to find the back of the net for Meath’s opening goal.

Despite solid defending, Armagh were let in for two points – a converted free from Mags McAlinden on 26 mins and a fine effort from Marian McGuinness brought their deficit back to six points. It was the closest the Orchard County were to come as Meath tagged on a further two points through the remarkable talents of Doherty, who was Meath’s top scorer today with a personal tally of 1-07. At half time, Meath were comfortably in front, but were anxious not to rest on their laurels, half time score was Meath 1-08 to Armagh 0-03.

With Meath working hard in the first half, the expectant crowd at the Ashbourne grounds were hopeful of as fine a second half display. And they weren’t to be disappointed. Although denied a penalty in the opening minute of the half, Kellie Allen lurked dangerously around the box and could have grabbed a goal only for the quick reflexes of Armagh goalkeeper – Nicola Cromie. Doherty opened Meath’s second half account on 33 mins and added to it on 35 mins. Ashley Leavy found Shauna Bennett who swiftly passed off to Doherty, waiting alone about 30 yards out and Doherty, who won an All Star in 2005, went on a superb solo run and split the posts with ease.

Armagh pointed on the 34th min but the game was almost a foregone conclusion. Duffy was in superb form and added a quartet of points between the 36th and 42nd mins. Meath were dominating the game and when they were without the ball they defended extremely well and it wasn’t long before it was back in their possession. The second half was proving to be a scoring spree for the St. Ultans pair as Doherty added a further point for the Royals on 43 mins. Irene Munnelly was called into action on 45 mins as Armagh got a lucky break and were in on goal only for the superb efforts of Munnelly. Rispin and Doherty demonstrated their soccer skills on 50 mins when Jenny rescued the ball from the endline, took two nifty touches any Premiership player would be proud of and passed it to Doherty who deftly found the back of the net. The goal demonstrated Meath’s season all in one moment – commitment, teamwork and working for each other.

Katie O’Brien added her second point of the match on 51 mins. Louise McKeever made her re-introduction to the Senior team and was immediately pressed into action coping well with breaking down an Armagh attack. Jenny Rispin added her second goal of the game on 55 mins and seemed to settle into the full forward role more confidently as the game went on. Doherty added her sixth point of the match on 56 mins and although Armagh added a goal and a point through Kelly Mallon and
O’Hanlon respectively it was Meath that got the last say with a super point from Doherty on 61 mins.
Again Rispin was involved in the build up. It finished in Donaghmore-Ashbourne GAA with Meath worthy winners – Meath 3-18 to Armagh 1-06.

Meath were made work hard for this victory, but as they say, nothing worth doing ever came easy. Geraldine Doherty, Elaine Duffy and Jenny Rispin were simply outstanding for Meath today and with tougher challenges ahead, it augers well that when some players have quiet days other Royal players stand up to be counted.

Next week Meath will face their stiffest challenge of 2011 when they travel to take on Kerry next Sunday 20th February at Kilcummin GAA pitch at 12 noon. Meath last played the Kingdom in 2009 in the second round of the All Ireland Championship where the Meath team were a shadow of their present selves and Kerry ably defeated them 2-15 to 0-10. Kerry were relegated from last year’s division one league and won’t want to stay there if they are to make an impact later on in this year’s championships. Looking at the present Meath team however, there should be a much different outcome next Sunday as they continue their assault on the National League.

Meath Team & Scorers: Irene Munnelly, Maria Kealy, Philomena Sheridan, Aedin Murray, Orla Sheridan, Eileen Rahill, Ashley Leavy, Katie O’Brien (0-02), Shauna Bennett, Gráinne Nulty, Kellie Allen, Fiona Mahon (0-02), Elaine Duffy (0-06), Jenny Rispin (2-01), Geraldine Doherty (1-07).

Subs: Adelle Carolan for Kealy, Louise McKeever for P. Sheridan, Lisa Kelly for Allen, Stephanie Byrne for Bennett, Clíona Murray for Leavy, Róisin Nulty for Murray, Bridgetta Lynch for Duffy, Eve Wardick for G. Nulty.

Armagh: N. Cromie, S. McCoy, A. Donaldson, A. Purdy, M. Moriarty, C. McCann, S. McCleary, S. Reel, C. Malone, M. McGuinness, L. Brown, L. Knox, M. McAlinden, C. O’Hanlon, S. O’Hagan.

Referee: Tony Lennon (Dublin)

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