"The second-half wasn’t great to be involved in or to watch" - Ladies football round-up
Compiled by John Fallon
Donegal manager Maxi Curran said they have nobody to blame but themselves after being relegated from the top flight of the Lidl Ladies National Football League when they beaten by 5-9 to 3-2 in Letterkenny by Mayo.
Mayo had their top flight status all but secured by the interval when they built up a commanding 4-5 to 0-1 interval lead with Lisa Cafferky, Deirdre Doherty, Rachel Kearns and Sinead Walsh hitting the net.
“It was a tough day but it’s been a very tough league campaign altogether,” said Curran. “We were afforded the opportunity there today to save ourselves. But the first half was a disaster. It was calamity after calamity.
“Each of the goals were the results of turnovers where we gave the ball away ourselves. I think that was the killer for us — to have to accept that a lot of that out there today was from our own doing.
“It’s going to have to be a regroup job now and look to build again now from next year in Division 2.”
Mayo manager Michael Moyles was pleased with the way his charges dealt with the relegation threat.
“For us, it’s been near misses the entire league. But we would have taken a one-point win here today. It really was just about getting a result. The goal early on set us up. We were ready for a battle,” he said.
Elsewhere in Division 1, Kerry finished on top following victory over Galway at Tuam Stadium.
Both sides had already booked their place in the Lidl National League Division 1 Final and will meet again at Croke Park on Saturday April 15 (5pm).
Two goals from Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh helped Kerry lead by 2-5 to 0-8 at the interval at Tuam Stadium, with Hannah O’Donoghue getting their third goal after the restart before they held off a spirited Galway rally.
“It’s been a brilliant league,” said joint Kerry manager Daragh Long, who confirmed that the withdrawal of Ní Mhuircheartaigh at half-time was pre-planned as she had a niggling injury in recent weeks. “We were delighted with the seven games this year. We did really well for the first five and got ourselves qualified for the final. We had a little blip down in Cork last week.
We are delighted with the performance more so than the result because we needed to get back up on the horse following last weekend.”
Joint Galway manager Maghnus Breathnach confirmed that Ailish Morrissey has suffered an ACL tear as they prepare to face Kerry in the final and on into the TG4 Championship.
“We have been building towards this since the first round of the league and the girls made a big impact coming off the bench for us.
"Very happy with the resolve. I suppose it’s like last year in the Championship when we finished strong against Kerry but we left ourselves too much work to do. It’s about learning from this and getting ourselves ready for three weeks time,” said Breathnach.
Also in Division 1 on Sunday, a hat-trick from Orlagh Nolan helped Dublin to a 5-8 to 0-7 win over Waterford and Carla Rowe hailed her performance.
“She is absolutely flying and it’s great to see Orlagh, because we all know what we can give. We can see it at training, so it’s brilliant to see that coming out on matches. Really happy for her,” said Rowe.
“I was back on the pitch myself at the start of this week doing running.
"You definitely feel it in the lungs. You never want to be feeling it in the lungs rather than the legs, but delighted to be back and all is well after the game. Hopefully we can kick on from here,” she added.
“We’re disappointed in today’s result, but the league has been really, really good to us,” said Waterford manager Pat Sullivan. “I think everyone in the country would probably say we were the odds-on favourites to be relegated and we’re not, so that’s massive.”
And on Saturday, in the live TG4 game, Cork finished their campaign with a 2-8 to 0-11 win over All-Ireland champions Meath, with Libby Coppinger and Eimear Kelly getting the goals in the opening half.
“We’re happy enough with the win and we finished the league strong, but the lasting impression was the second-half wasn’t great to be involved in or to watch,” said Cork manager Shane Ronayne.
“But we dug out the win in the end. We were well on top in the first half and got sucked in for the second-half and didn’t adapt to the way Meath were playing.
“But that’s something to work on and we have plenty to work on ahead of the Championship and we know that.”
Meath manager Davy Nelson said the clash was a good preparation for the start of the Championship.
“You don’t like losing of course but we know how good Cork are and we were determined not to let ourselves down here and to start our championship preparation now. We won the second half 6-3 and came out of the game with some credit.
“So I thought it was a good match for both sides and both should benefit from it as preparation for the Championship,” he said.
In Division 2, it was confirmed that Laois will join Armagh in the Final at Croke Park on April 15. They defeated Roscommon by 2-9 to 1-5 and go through on the head-to-head rule against Tipperary, having defeated them in the group stages. Roscommon are relegated after this loss.
In Division 3, the confirmed finalists are Clare and Kildare, following a dramatic final day of group action, with Longford relegated. Kildare beat Wexford to qualify.
That left Wexford in a three-way tie with Down and Clare but the margin of Clare’s 7-15 to 2-3 win over Longford not only sealed their place in the final but also sent Longford down to Division 4 for 2024, after they tied with Sligo and Offaly.
The Divisions 3 and 4 Finals will be played as a double header at Parnell Park on Sunday, April 16.
The Division 4 Final will be contested by Antrim and Leitrim, who enjoyed semi-final victories over Limerick and Fermanagh respectively on Sunday.
Cork 2-8, Meath 0-11
Mayo 5-9, Donegal 3-2
Kerry 3-11, Galway 0-17
Dublin 5-8, Waterford 0-7
Armagh 3-12, Tipperary 0-10
Laois 2-9, Roscommon 1-5
Westmeath 2-10, Monaghan 1-11
Tyrone w/o Cavan
Offaly 2-12, Sligo 1-13
Kildare 1-10, Wexford 0-6
Clare 7-15, Longford 2-3
Down 2-10, Louth 1-9
Division 4 Semi Finals
Antrim 3-16, Limerick 1-11
Leitrim 1-12, Fermanagh 1-10 (AET)
National League Finals
Div 1: Galway v Kerry, Donegal relegated
Div 2: Armagh v Laois, Roscommon relegated
Div 3: Clare v Kildare, Longford relegated
Div 4: Antrim v Leitrim