Meath v Sligo Report

Bord Gais Energy National Ladies Football League

Division 2: Round 4

Meath v Sligo

Sunday 6th March 2011 at 2p.m

Half Time: Meath 1-13; Sligo 1-05

Full Time: Meath 3-24; Sligo 3-07

Meath Ladies sent out a warning to other teams in this year’s National League Division two competition after
a resounding victory over Sligo in Tubbercurry on Sunday. Meath led from the start and although were pegged back
once in the first half, led comfortably for the game. Victory sees them climb the table once more and hopes for a
semi final appearance are still intact.

The opening attack summed up Royal attitude to the game – from the throw in Shauna Bennett found
Geraldine Doherty and Katie O’Brien was given too much space and finished confidently with the right boot to put up
Meath’s first score. The directness of the attack seemed to stun Sligo but they were not deterred and got themselves
two points in quick successions from frees just outside the Meath 21 yard line. Full forward Noelle Gormley punished
the Royals with frees on 2 and 3 mins respectively. Meath equalised on 4 mins with Doherty pointing after Kellie
Allen made up the ground work and provided the overlap to allow the score. A superb solo effort from Fiona Mahon
on 6 mins put the Royals a point in front and Katie O’Brien tagged on her second of the afternoon after good work
from Doherty. The game ebbed and flowed and was played at quite a high tempo, despite the soft conditions
underfoot. Sligo got their noses in front once again on 9 mins when Gormley found the back of the net. The Meath
defence had been simply carved apart, something Royal management will be eager to address with All Ireland
Champs, Dublin, waiting in the next round. This left Meath one point adrift (Meath 0-04, Sligo 1-02), but not for long
as Royal response was immediate through Orla Sheridan, Mahon, and O’Brien on 11 and 12 mins respectively. Meath
never looked back from this and only for the superb efforts of Sligo keeper, Lyndsay McManus, Meath would have
been further ahead.

Defensively Meath looked a little loose but did enough to keep Sligo at bay; however a further point was
conceded on 15 mins again scored by Gormley. Good defending by Allen, Philomena Sheridan and Eileen Rahill and
solid mid fielding duties by Caitriona O’Shaughnessy and Shauna Bennett kept the pressure on the Sligo defence. On
16 mins, Mahon added her third of the match after a super kick out from Irene Munnelly found Shauna Bennett in
the middle of the field and the Ultans player found fellow club player O’Brien with some space. O’Brien offloaded to
Mahon, and the Seneschalstown player finished with aplomb to leave the Royals leading by two points. Doherty
added a ninth point on 17 mins and while Sligo rang in the changes with some substitutions, Meath continued to
plunder the Sligo goals. Meath captain, Grainne Nulty, led by example and was unlucky not to hit the back of the net
but for a superb save by McManus. The Sligo goals seemed impenetrable as Allen’s shot was also saved by the
keeper a moment later. Meath were content to add on points though and Mahon and Doherty did just that on 25
and 27 mins. Sligo pulled one back on 26 mins. On 27 mins the deadlock was finally beaten as Mahon found a way
past McManus and found the back of the net. On the resumption, Grainne Nulty fielded the ball and incredibly
pointed from over 45 yards out. Doherty added the last Royal point of the half after she herself was fouled. However
Sligo had the last say of the half with Gormley pointing from a free. At half time Meath were comfortably in control
and leading by eight points – Meath 1-13, Sligo 1-05.

On the resumption Meath started where they left off from the first half with substitute Vivienne McCormack
pointing on 33 mins. Mahon added a brace on 35 and 36 mins. Sloppy defending allowed Sligo in for a second goal
and a point on 39 mins while down the other end Mahon continued to keep the umpires busy raising white flags
with another point.

Caitriona O’Shaughnessy added her first point of the campaign on 42 mins after carving the crumbling Sligo defence
apart once again. Stephanie Byrne also added her first point of the campaign a minute later and the shower of scores
continued on the Sligo goals with Mahon pointing and Shauna Bennett adding one on 43 mins. A high speculative
effort from Nulty was saved from the endline by Mary Sheridan who found Mahon waiting. Mahon found Bennett
who firmly placed the ball in the back of the net. Mahon added a further two points on 46 and 47 mins before
making way for substitute Elaine Duffy. Mahon amassed a huge total of 1-10 today and while football is not a solo
sport, this is a huge achievement for one player and for every point Mahon scored she was involved in the build up
of the others.

On fifty minutes, Grainne Nulty’s second attempt on goal was superbly saved by McManus and while Sligo
got in for another attempt on goal, Meath keeper Irene Munnelly was equal to the task. Meath were keeping it
tighter at the back. Unfortunately for the Royals, Sligo somehow got through the defences and put the ball past
Munnelly on 54 mins. Jenny Rispin and Bridgetta Lynch did well dispossessing Sligo at the end, while Mary Sheridan
pointed on 56 mins. Meath finished in emphatic style after clever play from Elaine Duffy found the back of the net.
Meath finished strongly outscoring Sligo in the second half by 17 points to 8. It finished in Tubbercurry with Meath
the victors – Meath 3-24, Sligo 3-07.

All in all this was a comfortable victory for the Royals. Although pressured in the first half, they dealt with the
opposition as it came at them. Up next for the Royals is the All Ireland Champions, Dublin, and as with any Dublin
Meath clash, tensions will be high with both teams looking for the win. Meath will definitely be boosted by their
performance today and Royal management will have a difficult task ahead of them in picking the first 15 for the
Dublin match. Meath had leaders all over the field today. Katie O’Brien did well in attack; Fiona Mahon was superb in
picking off scores, while the change of Kellie Allen to half back gave Meath a firmer defence. Meath will look with
confidence to playing the Dubs next week. Dublin, as All Ireland Champs, will be eager to return to Division 1 football
next season, and victory is critical in next week’s match after they faltered against Cavan today. Although they have
had some retirements, their underage players coming through are very strong. For now however, Meath can enjoy
another hard fought win.

Meath Team & Scorers: Irene Munnelly, Eve Wardick, Eileen Rahill, Aedin Murray, Kellie Allen, Philomena Sheridan,
Roisin Nulty, Katie O’Brien (0-03), Shauna Bennett (1-01), Grainne Nulty (Capt, 0-01), Geraldine Doherty (0-04), Fiona
Mahon (1-10), Caitriona O’Shaughnessy (0-01), Orla Sheridan (0-01), Stephanie Byrne (0-01). Subs: Louise McKeever
for Murray, Mary Sheridan (0-01) for O.Sheridan, Vivienne McCormack (0-01) for Doherty all on 30 mins, Bridgetta
Lynch for Allen 42 mins, Adelle Carolan for Wardick 43 mins, Samantha Monaghan for Bennett 46 mins, Elaine Duffy
for Mahon 48 mins, Jenny Rispin for Rahill 51 mins, Ashley Leavy for G. Nulty 56 mins, Maria Kealy for R. Nulty 57
mins, Tara Ryan for Byrne 59 mins. Not Used: Orlagh McLaughlin, Lisa Kelly, Cliona Murray.

Sligo: L. McManus, N. Carroll, J. Monaghan, A. Ewing, J. Mulligan, B. Byrne, A. Horgan, E. Codd, S. O’Sullivan, K.
Maloney, S. McTernan, A. Gormley, S. Scully, N. Gormley, N. Fowley.

Referee: Mel Kenny (Mayo)

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