2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets

Rice to the fore as Louth claim TG4 Leinster junior crown on emotional Sunday

TG4 Leinster Junior Championship Final

Louth 3-09
Carlow 0-08

2-02 for Niamh Rice on her debut helped pave the way for victory for Louth in Sunday’s TG4 Leinster Junior Championship Final at sun-splashed Netwatch Cullen Park in Carlow.

The Cooley Kickhams player has just joined the panel having just completed her Leaving Cert and she put in a performance that belied her years as Louth got their hands on the Gerry Browne Jewellers Cup for the first time since 2015.

Scores were at a premium early on with Louth taking an early lead, Aoife Russell getting the first score of the afternoon on 2 minutes. Louth spurned a number of chances to go ahead and the crowd were made wait until the 12th minute when Carlow got their opening score from the trusted boot of Rachel Sawyer.

The scores then came thick and fast with Catherine McGlew and Aoibhinn Gilmartin swapping points. Carlow took the lead mid way through the half with Sawyer raising a second white flag. Louth pushed on and were rewarded with a penalty in the 22nd minute, duly converted by their Kate Flood. With the Carlow defence particularly impressive, Laura Corrigan in particularly, the penalty was Louth’s final score of the half. Carlow narrowed the gap to just one before half time, Gilmartin converting a free for her second of the contest. Louth led by 1-02 to 0-04 at the break.

Louth seized control in the second half, the teams traded frees within a minute, Lauren Boyle and Gilmartin raising white flags for their respective sides. Then came the first hammer blow. Niamh Rice hit low and hard and there was daylight between the sides. The centre forwards once again traded scores before Niamh Rice raised a white flag midway through the half. Captain Kate Flood led by example today and she split the posts on 47 mins. Carlow though were not going away and Rachel Sawyer added her third score of the contest. Two scores in quick succession from Rice and Boyle put the game out of reach of last year’s champions while Rice added her second goal on 57 minutes to ensure victory. There was time for one final score from Sawyer who was a threat all afternoon but nothing was stopping the Wee County from victory today.

A minute’s silence was paid to the late Mícheál McKeown before the start of the game and in his Presentation speech, Leinster President, Dominic Leech extended his condolences to Mícheál’s wife Mary, who joined the players at the full time whistle. Player of the Match went to Louth Captain, Kate Flood.

Louth Scorers: Niamh Rice (2-02), Kate Flood (1-02, pen), Lauren Boyle (0-03, 2f), Aoife Russell (0-01), Catherine McGlew (0-01)

Carlow Scorers: Aoibhinn Gilmartin (0-04, 3f), Rachel Sawyer (0-04)

Louth Team: Una Pearson; Michelle McMahon, Eilis Hand, Shannen McLaughlin; Eimear Murray, Ceire Nolan, Bronagh McGrane, Sinead Woods, Roisin Kavanagh, Aoife Russell, Kate Flood, Niamh Rice, Lauren Boyle, Catherine McGlew, Aine Breen

Subs: Michelle McArdle for Murray (50 mins), Claire Donnelly for Hand (55 mins), Shauna Markey for Bronagh McGrane (56 mins).

Carlow Team: Nicole Hanley, Antoinette Dowling, Amy Dooley, Louise Barry, Maria Kinsella, Niamh Forde, Orlagh Hickey, Ellen Atkinson, Ann Roche, Nuala Mohan (C), Aoibhinn Gilmartin, Muireann O’Sullivan, Grania Murphy, Laura Corrigan, Rachel Sawyer.

Subs: Leah Mullins for Murphy (39 mins) Roisin Byrne for Mohan (46 mins), Michelle Dermody for Hickey (50 mins) Marion Hayden for Forde (54 mins), Kate Nolan for Barry (55 mins)

Referee: Niall McCormack (Laois)

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