FOOTBALL: “The players have allowed me to enjoy it with the effort and commitment that they are giving” – Donie Brennan

FOOTBALL: “The players have allowed me to enjoy it with the effort and commitment that they are giving” – Donie Brennan

By RONAN O’NEILL – Laois 2-10 (16) Kildare 3-6 (15) (Eva Galvin of Laois in action against Lara Gilbert of Kildare during the Lidl Ladies Football National League Division 3 Final match between Kildare and Laois at Baltinglass GAA Club in Baltinglass, Wicklow. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile)

Laois manager Donie Brennan was thrilled with the effort of his players as they edged out neighbours Kildare in a brilliant Lidl National Football League Division 3 final at Baltinglass.

Laois failed to register a single league point when they were relegated from Division 2 in 2019 but now they return, while Brennan picked up his first success with the county.

“We are delighted, any time you win a final you are going to be delighted. We are delighted to be up in Division 2, to get that bit of success and reward the players for their efforts,” said Brennan.

“Definitely (this is the best day so far), the players have allowed me to enjoy it with the effort and commitment that they are giving. The success and winning matches makes it that little bit easier.”

This game started slowly but ended in a blaze of action with Mo Nerney tapping over the winning point in the last minute after a great comeback from Kildare, led by a hat-trick of goals from full-forward Neasa Dooley.

Scores were hard to come by in the first half but Laois took a 0-6 to 0-3 lead into the break after 0-3 from the boot of in-form Mo Nerney. Kildare had to rely on the exploits of their free-taker Lara Curran.

The Lilywhites played into the breeze in the second half but they caught fire and a fortuitous Dooley goal was followed by two more as she kept them in the game.

Meanwhile, Sarah Ann Fitzgerald and Mo Nerney both hit the back of the Kildare net in a lethal three-minute spell as Laois looked set for victory. When Dooley finished her hat-trick Kildare were back level, 3-6 to 2-9, only for Mo Nerney to score the winner in the 59th minute.

“It’s very tough to take, a one-point loss in a final is never easy. The heart and determination we showed in the last ten minutes says a lot about this group. But we wanted to win this final, we wanted to move up to Division 2,” said Kildare manager Daniel Moynihan.

Scorers – Laois: M Nerney 1-5 (2f), S A Fitzgerald 1-1 (1f), F Dooley 0-1, E Galvin 0-1, R Williams 0-1, E Fitzpatrick 0-1.

Kildare: N Dooley 3-0, L Curran 0-5 (4f), G Clifford 0-1.

LAOIS: E Barry; C Dunne, A Potts, A Kelly; R Williams, E Healy, L Nerney; F Dooley, J Moore; A Healy, E Galvin, E Fitzpatrick; M Nerney, S A Fitzgerald, A Havill.

Subs: O Hennessy for Williams (36), L Tarpey for Havill (36), J Dunne for Dooley (41), A Kirrane for Galvin (54).

KILDARE: D McGinn; C Sullivan, L Lenehan, M Doherty; L Murtagh, L Gilbert, H McLoughlin; S O’Sullivan, G Kenneally; C Wheeler, L Curran, G Clifford; E Dowling, N Dooley, A Rattigan.

Subs: S Kendrick for McLoughlin (30), T Duggan for Doherty (30), M McKenna for Wheeler (43), O Sullivan for Dowling (50), C Fagan Hynes for Murtagh (59).

Referee: Shane Curley (Galway).