Saffron ladies start campaign with narrow defeat
Louth ladies 2-08-2-07 Antrim ladies
Antrim ladies began their National League Division Four campaign with an agonising 2-08-2-07 defeat to Louth at Drogheda on Sunday afternoon.
Dominic Kelly’s side were without the services of three influential players: Captain Sinead McLaughlin along with Kirsty McGuinness and Claire Timoney.
But the Saffron girls made a bright start and found the net after less than a minute after Fionnghuala Rocks combined with Mairead Cooper who blasted past Elaine Flood in the Louth goal.
The hosts responded well to their initial setback and scored three points in a row to level the scores after 12 minutes, Rebecca Carr scored Louth’s first after a superb solo run and two converted frees from Kate Flood made it 0-03-1-00 at Newtown Blues.
Despite some good movement in the Antrim forward line the visitors were without a score in 16 minutes, however Aine Tubridy released substitute Catherine Mullan whose first contribution was dink the ball over Elaine Flood and into the net to restore Antrim’s three point advantage.
Tubridy added a point a minute later to give Antrim a four point lead after 18 minutes, but Louth hit back.
Kate Flood burst forward and hit a point and on 23 minutes Flood won possession, made space for a shot and rifled low past Anna McCann in the Antrim goal to level the game, 2-01-1-04.
Rebecca Carr converted a free before the half-time break to send Louth in at the interval with a slender one-point lead.
Antrim started the second half well and levelled within two minutes through a converted free from Mairead Cooper, but on 36 minutes Louth found the net for the second time.
Kate Flood picked the ball up on the 21-yard line and cut through the Antrim defence before blasting high into the net to make it 2-05-2-02 to the hosts.
Rebecca Carr stretched Louth’s lead to four with a point a minute later, only for Cooper to convert a free at the other end to reduce the deficit to three.
Kate Flood again stretched her sides lead to four with a free midway through the second half, however Louth were reduced to 14-players for a ten minute spell with 12 minutes remaining.
Antrim pushed for a vital goal, but they couldn’t force their way through a stubborn Louth rearguard and had to make do with another free from Cooper to reduce the deficit to three with four minutes remaining, 2-07-2-04.
Kate Flood once again rose to the occasion converting another free to increase Louth’s lead to four, but the hosts lost another player to a yellow card just before they could reintroduce their first yellow card offender and Antrim played out the remaining minutes with an extra player.
Despite this they couldn’t find the goal which would have earned them at least a share of the spoils. Mairead Cooper converted her fourth free of the afternoon and a point from Fionnghuala Rocks quickly followed.
Another point quickly followed to reduce the margin to one-point, however time was against Antrim as the referees whistle blew to confirm Louth as victors by a single point.
Antrim will hope to bounce back from defeat and get their promotion hopes back on track when they entertain Limerick in two weeks’ time.
Louth: E Flood, J Kelly, M McMahon, L Grills, E Murray, M Sullivan, R Carr, P Murray, E Singleton, S Byrne, G Rogers, C Campbell, G Lynch, K Flood, L Collins. Subs: K Cunningham, A Halligan, KA Holdcroft, M Reid, N Reid, E Norton, N McDermott, A McCormack, L Kelly, K Flynn, R Levins, J McCourt, N Sherrin.
Antrim: A McCann, T NiMhurchu, N Kelly, C Scannell, B Scullion, A McFarland, A Tubridy, G McGinley, K Cunningham, F Rocks, L McCann, P Matherson, E Mallon, M Cooper, E Kelly. Subs: K Cunningham, N O’Neill, L Wallace, C Mullan, N Cooper.