TG4 Leinster Senior Championship: Round Three 2016-06-26 22:11:00

MEATH LADIES

TG4 Leinster Senior Championship: Round Three
Meath v Dublin
Saturday 25th June at 2pm
Summerhill GFC

Half Time; Meath 1-01, Dublin 1-12
Full Time: Meath 2-04, Dublin 3-19

It was never going to be easy but boy did the Meath Senior Ladies put up a fight this afternoon in a humid yet dry Summerhill. While Dublin remained in control on the scoreboard, the Meath Ladies fought time and again and never gave up running at their opposition. Losing their Captain, Paula Dunne to injury was a major setback but the passion and desire to represent the Royal County burst out of the Ladies dressing room this afternoon as the Senior Ladies continue to learn and improve. Given that the average age of the panel is about 20, this panel will definitely be one to reckon with in the future, if their current determination is anything to go by.

With the weather worlds apart from the rain soaked Stradbally of last weekend, the Meath Ladies were immediately stuck into the action and the sizeable crowd had to wait a whole six minutes before the opening score. Meath defence stood strong as the Dublin assault began – Carla Rowe missing two opening chances. Indeed Rowe could have opened with a goal but instead settled for a point in the 6th min as Meath netminder Monica McGuirk deflected the shot and it went over the bar. Noelle Healy, Siobhan Woods and Sinead Aherne also pointed to leave the Royals trailing by 0-04 to no score with 9 mins gone on the clock. Meath hit back – Vikki Wall winning the ball in her own defence and found Niamh Gallogly. Gallogly found fellow club mate Niamh O’Sullivan and a well worked ball found Jenny Rispin unmarked in front of goal. The Summerhill player made absolutely no mistake with the finish to find the back of the net. Aherne and Healy split the posts again to push the side from the Capital back to a three point lead and a converted free from Aherne on 16 mins saw the gap increase to four. A Noelle Healy pass found McEvoy in space and she buried the ball into the net for Dublin’s first goal to extend their lead to seven. A further brace of points from McEvoy and Healy on 18 and 19 mins were scored, despite a strong defensive showing from the Royals. Shauna Ennis marshalled the Meath defence well all afternoon and Orla Byrne, Elaine Plunkett and Vikki Wall also showed well in the opening half. It could have been worse for the Royals as McGuirk continued to defy gravity with a finger tip save to deny Aherne her side’s second goal. Wall and Niamh Lister were dominant on kickouts, with a super ball won by Lister setting up Meath’s only other score of the opening half. A terrific run by Niamh Gallogly set up Emma White and White split the posts on 23 mins. While Dublin added a further three points (Aherne (2) and Ownes), the Royals were unlucky to see their efforts drop short and into Dublin goalkeeper, Ciara Trant’s waiting arms. 

Half Time; Meath 1-01, Dublin 1-12.

Introducing Aoibhín Cleary and Stacey Grimes into the action at half time spurred the Royals on as they attacked from the throw in but it was the Dubs who got on the scoreboard first, Woods adding her second point of the game on 31 mins. On the resumption, a well won ball won by Ennis saw the Na Fianna player burst forward only to be fouled, Niamh O’Sullivan pointing the resulting free. Dublin’s response was immediate, Carla Rowe splitting the posts a minute later. Tremendous pressure from Lister ensured Noelle Healy saw her effort drag wide before Rowe pointed again on 39 mins. While McGuirk saved once more in defence, Jenny Rispin saw her effort fall into Trant’s arms again, and you could be forgiven for wondering if this was it for the Royals. You would have been wrong though as Rispin added goal number two on 42 mins, Gallogly found McHugh in space and the Simonstown player’s cross was inch perfect as Rispin punched to the net. Healy pointed her third point for the Dubs on the resumption and while both sides began freshening up their sides, McEvoy pointed her third score on 47 mins. The Royals continued their pressure and ran at the Dublin defence with aplomb, Emma White seeing her effort deflected for a ’45. Substitute Lyndsey Davey got on the scoresheet as she pointed on 50 mins. Dublin’s second goal appeared to be in the square but it was punched to the net by 2015 All Star Carla Rowe on 54 mins. As the game headed into the final five minutes, the speed and pace of the game was as intense as it was in the opening minute, this alone is sure to give the Royals heart. As the clock ticked down, the teams traded scores, a second Niamh O’Sullivan free was cancelled out a minute later by Fiona Hudson. As the Meath forward line continued to harass the Dubs defence, Niamh O’Sullivan’s free was hoisted high into the large parallelogram and smothered away by the Dublin defence. The teams traded scores once again before the final whistle, Nicole Ownes grabbed Dublin’s third goal in stoppage time but it was the Royals who had the final say of the game, a tremendous run by Vikki Wall saw the Dunboyne and Minor footballer split the posts for the final score of the game. 

Full Time: Meath 2-04, Dublin 3-19.

It was never going to be easy for the Royals this afternoon as they faced a team searching for their fifth Leinster title in a row and their third in a row appearance in an All Ireland Final. While the Royals did not match the Sky Blue side on the scoreboard, they matched their intensity, their determination and their passion. Meath did also give debuts to two players, namely Moynalvey’s Ray Lawless and Wolfe Tones’ Niamh O’Kelly Lynch. Rome wasn’t built in a day and with patience and positivity, the Royals are definitely going in the right direction.

A special thank you to the under 10 teams from Summerhill and Trim who greeted and cheered on the Royal Ladies this afternoon and a huge thank you to Summerhill for all their hard work in preparation for today’s game. In an era where the Ladies find themselves paying for pitches at every turn, Summerhill provided their pitch without cost. It is much appreciated.

From all the Meath Seniors, we wish the Meath U16s the very best of luck in tomorrow’s Leinster A Final against Dublin! 

Meath Team & Scorers: Monica McGuirk, Elaine Plunkett, Sarah Powderly, Orla Byrne, Aisling Cassidy, Shauna Ennis, Vikki Wall (0-01), Catriona Keogan, Niamh Lister, Laura Gilsenan, Niamh O'Sullivan (0-02, 2f), Emma White (0-01), Ailbhe McHugh, Jenny Rispin (2-00), Niamh Gallogly.
Subs: Stacey Grimes for Keogan (HT), Aoibhín Cleary for Gilsenan (HT), Niamh O’Kelly-Lynch for Cassidy (46 mins), Kate Lawless for Byrne (51 mins), Ray Lawless for Plunkett (56 mins).
Dublin Team & Scorers: Ciara Trant, Fiona Hudson (0-01), Deirdre Murphy, Leah Caffrey, Martha Byrne, Sinead Finnegan, Colleen Barrett, Molly Lamb, Sorcha Furlong, Noelle Healy (0-03), Nicole Ownes (1-01), Carla Rowe (1-03), Siobhan Woods (0-02), Sinead Aherne (0-06, 3f), Niamh McEvoy (1-02).
Subs: Ciara Ruddy for Barrett (37 mins), Niamh Collins for Byrne (38 mins), Lyndsey Davey (0-01) for Furlong (45 mins), Lauren Magee for Aherne (45 mins), Amy Ring for McEvoy (52 mins).
Referee: Stephen McNulty (Wicklow)