FOOTBALL: TG4 Leinster Intermediate Championship Wrap
BY AISLING CLERY
The TG4 Leinster Intermediate Championship got a damp start this afternoon but the weather didn’t seem to dampen spirits as four high quality games of football were played across the province with wins for Laois, Offaly, Longford and Kildare.
In Manguard Plus Hawkfield GAA CoE, supporters were treated to a goal spree as eight goals were fired to the net in total. Kildare’s Neasa Dooley hit a hat trick as Seán Finnegan made it a winning start to the Championship as Kildare manager. The sides were even stevens in the opening stages but an Aisling Murphy goal pushed Wexford three points ahead on twelve minutes. Their lead wasn’t to last though as Aoife Rattigan and Ciara Wheeler levelled the sides midway through the half. Three goals in five minutes pushed the Lilywhites into an unrelinquishable lead – Ciara Wheeler winning the kickout and finding the net before Neasa Dooley found the net twice, the first a beauty as Dooley cut in from a tight angle and finished superbly. At half time, Kildare led 3-5 to 1-3.
Catriona Murray hit 1-1 and Aisling Murphy got a second goal early in the second half to reduce the deficit, but Kildare finished strongly with Lara Curran finding the net before Dooley converted a 43rd minute penalty to ensure Kildare ran out 5-8 to 3-7 winners with a trip away to Longford next weekend.
In Clan na Gael, Dundalk, supporters were treated to a tightly fought encounter between Louth and Laois. Mo Nerney’s second half goal proved the winner with around ten minutes left on the clock. Aoife Russell and Eva Galvin swapped goals in the opening half as Donie Brennan’s side took a 1-3 to 1-0 lead into the half time break. Rebecca Carr hit 1-1 to level the game for Louth in the second half and they will rue missed chances as Laois scraped through with Nerney’s second half goal crucial in their 2-5 to 2-2 win. Laois will take on neighbours Offaly next weekend, while Louth face a trip to Wicklow.
Division Four League Champions, Offaly continued their winning run as they defeated Wicklow by 2-6 to 0-7 in Bretland Park. Marie Byrne’s two opening half goals and four points from Ellee McEvoy were decisive. At half time, Offaly led by 2-4 to 0-6 and defence was the name of the game in the second half as just three points were scored in the testing weather conditions. Offaly did enough to hold off the Wicklow attack as they won 2-6 to 0-7.
Meanwhile, in McGrath Park, second half goals from Kamille Burke, Clodagh Lohan, Emer Heaney and a Michelle Farrell penalty was enough to see off a defiant Carlow side. There was just two points between the sides at the break, Longford leading 0-8 to 0-6. Sara Doyle hit four opening half frees for the Carlow side with Aoibhinn Gilmartin and Dannah O’Brien also on the scoresheet. Louise Monaghan hit two first half opening points for Longford while Grace Shannon grabbed a score just before the break to ensure Longford led 0-8 to 0-6 at the break. Longford grabbed their goals early in the second half, set off by Michelle Farrell’s penalty, before Kamille Burke and Clodagh Lohan opened up a considerable gap. To their credit, Carlow continued battling with two Dannah O’Brien frees reducing the deficit. Carlow were given hope when Niamh Kelly found the net from a penalty but an Emer Heaney goal late on ensured Longford came away with the win on a 4-10 to 1-9 scoreline. Next up for Longford is a home tie with Kildare while Wexford face the journey to Carlow next Friday evening.