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Westmeath Ladies Weather Laois Storm


Westmeath Ladies Consistency Wins the Day against Tough Laois Challenge

Laois 0-11

Westmeath 1-15

Despite an excellent first half performance, Laois ladies started their senior championship campaign with a loss to a determined Westmeath side on Sunday afternoon in Cusack Park.

16 August 2014; Ciamh Dollard, Laois. TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship, Quarter-Final, Armagh v Laois, O'Connor Park, Tullamore, Co. Offaly. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***
16 August 2014; Ciamh Dollard, Laois. TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship, Quarter-Final, Armagh v Laois, O’Connor Park, Tullamore, Co. Offaly.

Laois Ladies were by far the better team in the opening half and kicked some superb scores despite the wind being in Westmeath’s favour. Their first score of the game came right from the throw in; Fiona Dooley won the ball and laid it off to Martina Dunne who slotted it over the bar inside twenty seconds of the game. Dunne settled any pre-match nerves the visiting Laois side may have had with a cool point from a placed ball a minute later. Westmeath hit two wides in the opening five minutes; a testament to the solid defending of the Laois backs under the experience of Grainne Dunne in full back. Westmeath’s first score came in the fifth minute, corner forward Fiona Leavy weaved in between the Laois defence and popped it between the posts. Laois corner back Clodagh Dunne made a fine block in the Laois defence but the referee awarded a free for Westmeath which Karen McDermott sent over the bar to bring the sides level. Laois stalwart Martina Dunne added her third of the day for Laois with another accurate point from a placed ball. Maggie Murphy orchestrated the next score, she carried the ball down the wing and laid it off to fellow Timahoe clubwoman Sarah Quigley who was fouled; Martina Dunne took the free to increase Laois lead 0-4 to 0-2 with 13 minutes played.

The teams swapped scores for the next ten minutes; Emma Morris and Ciara Blundell pointed for Westmeath, Dunne added another for Laois while captain Laura Marie Maher lead by example with an skilful sprint through the Westmeath defence and popped the ball over the bar. Ciamh Dollard produced an excellent save in the 20th minute; Laura Brennan ran in on goals but Dollard held her own and cleared the ball to keep Laois out of danger. Sarah Quigley made a good run in towards goal and popped it over the bar to give Laois a 0-7 to 0-4 lead with six minutes remaining. Johanna Maher narrowed the gap with a point for Westmeath and Emma Morris added another a minute later to close the gap to the smallest of margins. Westmeath’s Fiona Leavy carried the ball and her shot was deflected off a Laois defender and hit loosely into the Laois goal by Karen McDermott to put her side two points ahead. Ellen Healy responded well to this for Laois, she carried the ball down the pitch and Dunne pointed to leave Laois trailing by a single point at half time; 1-6 to 0-8.

As good as things were for Laois Ladies in the opening twenty five minutes, that’s how bad they became in the second half. A combination of Westmeath’s experience and unfortunate injuries saw Laois wait until the 55th minute to register their first score of the second half. The loss of Ciara Burke in the 38th minute and Sarah Quigley in the 56th were huge losses and Laois struggled to regain the fluent composure they possessed in the opening half. Their final touch in the second half was poor and they lacked the flare that was so fluent in the first half. Credit to Westmeath, they scored some excellent points in the second half; Maud Annie Foley, Sarah Dolan, Johanna Maher and Karen Hegarty dominated the score board for the home side. Laois substitutes Mo Nurney and Noirin Kirwan added points for Laois in the dying moments while top scorer Martina Dunne added her 7th in the 62nd minute. It looked as though the day couldn’t get any worse for Laois when Ciamh Dollard was sinbinned in the 63rd minute for a tackle in the box. Westmeath Ladies were awarded a penalty but Maud Annie Foley’s shot was saved by super sub Tara Daly on her senior debut who stepped into the goals for Laois and made a tremendous save to add a little silver lining to the dark cloud of the second half from a Laois perspective.

Laois Ladies scorers: Martina Dunne 0-7 (0-6 frees), Laura Marie Maher, Sarah Quigley, Mo Nurney and Noirin Kirwan 0-1 each.


Laois Ladies: Ciamh Dollard; Clodagh Dunne, Grainne Dunne, Nicole Byrne; Maggie Murphy, Maureen Young, Ellen Healy; Fiona Dooley, Aine Haberlin; Laura Marie Maher, Ciara Burke, Joyce Dunne; Sarah Quigley, Martina Dunne, Meaghan Dunne. Subs: Mo Nurney for Ciara Burke (38 mins), Noirin Kirwan for Meaghan Dunne (43 mins), Liz Brophy for Sarah Quigley (60 mins), Lisa Daly for Joyce Dunne (63 mins).


Westmeath Ladies scorers: Karen McDermott 1-2, Maud Anne Foley 0-4, Johanna Maher 0-3 Fiona Leavy 0-2, Ciara Blundell, Emma Morris, Karen Hegarty, Sarah Dolan 0-1 each.


Westmeath Ladies: Sarah Keegan; Aoife Brady, Jennifer Rogers, Aileen Martin; Triona Durkan, Fiona Claffey, Niamh Spellman; Laura Brennan, Emma Morris; Karen Hegarty, Johanna Maher, Ciara Blundell; Fiona Leavy, Karen McDermott, Sarah Dolan. Subs: Maud Anne Foley for Aoife Brady (28 mins), Chloe Kelly for Emma Morris (53 mins).


Referee: Jonathan Murphy (Carlow)

By: Aisling Cullen

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