Laois 1-8 Down 2-13
All-Ireland Camogie Championship Round 2
Niamh Mallon and Sarah Louise Gaffin were instrumental in Down’s win over Laois to see them progress to the All-Ireland semi final in Ashbourne today.
It is not the end of the road for John Desmond’s Laois though as they will now contest the quarter final against the winners of Carlow and Kerry.
Down, who are managed by Clonad native Derek Dunne, are favourites for this championship and they showed just why with a powerful display.
Laois got off to a great start with a point via Jessie Quinlan before Paula O’Hagan converted a free to level the game. Laois continued to dominate in the early stages as Kirsten Keenan lodged over a brace to reward them for their bright start.
However, Down began to dominate the midfield battle and moved the ball well up the field. And it was the deadly duo of Sarah Louise Gaffin and Niamh Mallon who raised white flags for Down to give them the lead for the first in the game.
On the stroke of the water break Down were rewarded with a goal from Mallon. Fionnuala Carr played a high ball into the full forward line and the ball dropped to Mallon. She made no mistake and buried the ball into the back of the net.
This was a huge moment in the game as it gave Down a five point lead at the waterbreak.
Laois finished the half strongly with points from Sarah Cray and Kirsten Keenan leaving four points between the sides at the interval – Down leading 1-7 to 0-6.
Down began the second half excellently and scored 1-2 in the opening six minutes to push themselves further ahead.
Mallon and Lauren Clarke combined to setup Gaffin, who made no mistake to smash the ball into the net. And Mallon followed up the goal with two points in quick succession to leave Laois with a very slim chance of a comeback.
But Laois never gave up and finished the half strong. Aisling O’Dea lodged the ball over the bar while Laura Marie Maher converted a free.
Sara Cuddy then scored a goal to cut the deficit but time was not on their side to see them lose by eight points.
SCORERS – Laois: Kirsten Keenan 0-4 (three frees), Sara Cuddy 1-0, Sarah Cray, Aisling O’Dea, Laura Marie Maher (free), Jessie Quinlan 0-1 each Down: Niamh Mallon 1-5, Sarah Louise Gaffin 1-3, Paula O’Hagan 0-3 (two frees), Sorcha McCartan 0-1, Isobelle O’Hare 0-1
LAOIS: Aedin Lowry; Rachel Bergin, Roisin Kilmartin, Laura Finlay; Clodagh Tynan, Alison McEvoy, Aimee Collier; Jade Bergin, Jessie Quinlan; Joyce Dunne, Niamh Coss, Liaden C. Fennell; Grainne Hyland, Kirsten Keenan, Aisling O’Dea. Subs: Laura Marie Maher for Hyland (19), Sarah Cray for Quinlan (28), Sarah Fleming for Bergin (30), Sara Cuddy for C. Fennell (39), Joan Dollard (50)
DOWN: Catherine McGourty, Caitriona Caldwell, Dearbhla Magee, Danielle Harrison; Catherine Rocks, Karen McMullan, Fionnuala Carr; Aoife Keown, Paula O’Hagan; Aimee McAleenan, Sarah Louise Gaffin, Clara Cowan; Niamh Mallon, Lauren Clarke, Sorcha McCartan. Subs: Claire McGilligan for Rocks (HT), Isobelle O’Hare for Mallon (54)