Limerick ladies footballers fall to defeat against Carlow in league decider

Limerick were beaten by Carlow in the Lidl LGFA Division 4 League Final after Maeve O’Neill’s late goal proved decisive in the 1-7 to 0-6 victory.

The Treaty side led by two points at the break but Carlow made better use of the gale force breeze in the second half and O’Neill’s goal late on was the difference.

Limerick hit the front in the seventh minute thanks to a fine effort from distance by Meadbh MacNamara. That advantage was doubled 60 seconds later thanks to a Deborah Murphy free as Limerick took a firm grip on the game.

Corner forward Iris Kenneally then made it a three-point game with a point from play after good work from Andrea O’Sullivan.

6 April 2024; Iris Kennelly of Limerick in action against Niamh Murphy of Carlow during the Lidl LGFA National League Division 4 final match between Carlow and Limerick at St Brendan’s Park in Birr, Offaly. Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile

That’s as good as it got for Limerick in the first half, however, as some wayward shooting ensured a tight lead at the break.

Carlow were holding onto the ball against the gale with ease and got on the scoreboard themselves in the latter stages by virtue of a Cliodhna Ni She free.

Limerick produced some excellent attacks in the final moments of the half but again their accuracy let them down and hit their sixth and seventh wides just before the break.

Carlow made a fast start to the second half with a long range effort nearly catching Carol Bateman but she was saved when the shot hit the post.

Ni She was soon on target once more from a placed ball and another strike from the Carlow star levelled the game two minutes into the second half.

Carlow then took control of the game with points from Roisin Bailey and Rachel Sawyer to go in front for the first time.

Ni She then found the back of the net from long range with a free but the goal was ruled out after referee Dermot Carolan consulted with his umpires.

Murphy then got back Limerick back on level terms with a point from play but they were hit on the counter attack and it was Maeve O’Neill that supplied the finish for Carlow’s goal.

Caoimhe McGrath’s free in the final stages did give Limerick hope of a late comeback but they fell to a three-point losing margin.

SCORERS – LIMERICK: Deborah Murphy (1f) and Iris Kenneally 0-2 each, Meadbh MacNamara, Iris Kenneally and Caoimhe McGrath (1f) 0-1 each

SCORERS – CARLOW: Cliodhna Ni She 0-4 (4f), Maeve O’Neill 1-0, Roisin Bailey, Rachel Sawyer and Ruth Bermingham 0-1 each.

LIMERICK: Carol Bateman (Mungret St Paul’s; Joanne McGuire (St Ailbe’s), Yvonne Lee (Monagea), Fiona Bradshaw (Oola); Grace Lee (Monagea), Cathy Mee (Ballylanders), Meadbh MacNamara (St Ailbe’s); Róisín Ambrose (Old Mill), Lauren Ryan (Adare); Karen O’Leary (Monagea), Deborah Murphy (Monagea), Katie Heelan (St Ailbe’s); Ellie Woulfe (Monagea), Andrea O’Sullivan (Ballylanders), Iris Kenneally (Old Mill).

SUBS: Róisón Browne (Monagea) for McGuire (h-t), Grace Mullane (Monagea) for Heelan (h-t), Caoimhe McGrath (Fr Casey’s) for O’Sullivan (48 mins), Kate Kennedy (St Ailbe’s) for Ryan (55 mins), Mairead Kavanagh (St Ailbe’s) for Woulfe (58 mins).

CARLOW: Nicole Hanley; Aoife Carroll, Anne Roche, Sinead McCullagh; Ruth Bermingham, Niamh Murphy, Niamh Forde; Edel Hayden, Roisin Bailey; Bronagh Nolan, Rachel Sawyer, Sara Doyle; Ella Molloy, Emma Coogan, Cliodhna Ni She.

SUBS: Aine Cleary for McCullagh (h-t), Maeve O’Neill for Coogan (48 mins), Tara Lyons for Nolan (52 mins), Megan Townsend for Hayden (55 mins), Elaine Ware for Hayden (59 mins).

REFEREE: Declan Carolan (Down).

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