Laois 1-10 Westmeath 2-18
Ladies National Football League Division 2 Semi Final
Laois Ladies bid to reach the National Football League Division 2 final is over after they went down to a rampant Westmeath side in Birr this afternoon.
Kevin Doogue’s side failed to score for 25 minutes in the first half, while their opponents wracked up 1-9, and it was this period of the game which cost them dearly.
Laois made a brilliant start to the game in Birr and almost had a score in the first minute but Mo Nerney’s was unclucky to see her effort just go wide.
Nevertheless, Kevin Doogue’s side did take the lead shortly after when Emma Lawlor registered a free and the teenage sensation quickly followed that with another to double Laois’s lead.
It took Westmeath a while to settle into this one and they weren’t helped by the early withdrawal of forward Tracey Dillon through injury.
But they got level by the midpoint of the half thanks to a brace from Leona Archibald before kicking on to build up a considerable lead by half time.
Westmeath were 4/11 favourites with the bookies prior to throw in and they justified this tag by scoring a further 1-7 without reply before half time.
Archibald, Claire Blundell and Maud Áine Foley all pointed before they almost scored the game’s first goal but Laois keeper Ciamh Dollard pulled off a stunning save to deny Blundell.
But Laois didn’t heed that warning and the same player did raise the first green flag after latching on to a pinpoint pass from Archibald.
Laois led the wides tally in the first half with five and Westmeath made them pay for each one with further points from Foley, Blundell and Archibald to lead by 1-9 to 0-2 at the break.
Laois introduced Alison McEvoy and Clare Conlon at half time and they made an instant impact by kicking the first two points of the second half.
But Westmeath were not about to let their lead slip away and they matched Laois’s points with ones of their own Laura Lee Walsh and Archibald.
Laois substitute Martha Kirwan then had the chance to grab a goal that would reduce the arrears to six but, after beating keeper Karen Walsh, she blazed her shot wide.
Westmeath responded via substitute Lucy McCarten and then came the killer blow when Kelly Boyce-Jordan raced clear of the Laois defence before blasting the ball to the net.
To their credit, Laois kept plugging away and they did grab a consolation goal late on through substitute Meghan Dunne but it wasn’t enough and they must now prepare for the Leinster championship.
LAOIS: Ciamh Dollard (Portlaoise); Amy Potts (Ballylinan), Jenny McEvoy (Sarsfields), Laura Nerney (Foxrock-Cabinteely); Aine Haberlin (St Conleth’s), Aileen O’Loughlin (Sarsfields), Anna Healy (Park-Ratheniska); Eva Galvin (St Conleth’s), Joyce Dunne (Sarsfields); Erone Fitzpatrick (Park Ratheniska), Mo Nerney (Timahoe), Caoimhe Simms (Ballylinan); Rachel Williams (Sarsfields), Ciara Burke (Sarsfields), Emma Lawlor (St Paul’s). Subs: Clare Conlon (Sarsfields), Alison McEvoy (Sarsfields), Martha Kirwan (Shanahoe), Meghan Dunne (Sarsfields)
WESTMEATH: Karen Walsh, Rachel Dillon, Amie Giles, Aileen Martin; Fiona Coyle, Rebecca Dunne, Laura Brennan; Karen McDermott, Maud Aine Foley; Fiona Coffey, Leona Archibald, Kelly Boyce-Jordan; Tracey Dillon, Laura Lee Walsh, Ciara Blundell. Subs: Lucy McCarten for T. Dillon (15mins)