“They had to do fundraisers there two weeks ago. Anything I have asked of them"
By Declan Rooney
Louth manager Darren Bishop praised his squad’s dedication and the sacrifices they have made after they stormed past Fermanagh to win their third TG4 All-Ireland Junior Championship in great style.
Kate Flood did most of the damage at full-forward for Louth, and her first-half goal was added to by her colleagues in the inside line as Lauren Boyle and Niamh Rice hit the net in the second period.
Fermanagh fought back bravely and Lisa Maguire and substitute Aisling Woods scored goals, but victory for Bishop’s side was never in doubt.
“You go up to the changing room this year and it is full of joy. As individuals they are a phenomenal group,” said Bishop, who managed Louth to defeat against Limerick in last year’s final.
“They had to do fundraisers there two weeks ago and they were fantastic at that. Anything I have asked of them (they’ve done). When it comes to training they have always followed through with it. They have sacrificed a lot.
“But at the back of it all they weren’t happy with how things went last year. It is a learning curve. Not too many people have the opportunity to manage a team in Croke Park. I have done it two years in a row and have learned a lot from last year. This year we had the full year to work with them and thankfully they performed.”
With Flood to the fore Louth raced into a 0-3 to 0-0 lead, and although Eimear Smyth hit back with a couple of frees, Flood’s cracking goal five minutes from the break put Louth 1-6 to 0-2 clear at half-time.
Three quick points saw Louth stretch their lead after half-time, but they were cancelled out in the 38th minute when Lisa Maguire hit the net for Fermanagh. A Rice point and a Flood free settled Louth again, before Rice ended Fermanagh’s hopes with their second goal 12 minutes from the end.
Boyle brought the full-forward line’s tally to 3-12 with five minutes to go, and although Woods scored a consolation goal for Fermanagh they were soundly defeated by the champions.
“We didn’t play to our potential and that will be the disappointing thing for the girls,” said Fermanagh manager Jonny Garrity.
“If we had played as well as we possibly could have it may have been some consolation. There is consolation to be taken from that in that we know we can get back here and go one better in the final.
“They were fantastic, we knew that they were a very dangerous full-forward line. We struggled to get to grips with them. Their delivery was good and they hurt us at times.
“We would probably be looking at more from us to force the game on them, get them turned on their heel. But it didn’t happen.”