Latest Laois Sport: Laois Ladies win with teak-tough defensive display against Roscommon

Latest Laois Sport: Laois Ladies win with teak-tough defensive display against Roscommon

All-Ireland Intermediate Championship Round 2

Laois 3-08 Roscommon 1-07

On a blistering hot day and with their marquee forward well held throughout Laois showed the character, determination and defensive nous to overcome a spirited Roscommon challenge to advance to the All-Ireland Quarter-Final.

The O’ Moore women dominated the opening quarter. Indeed their clever kickout strategy saw Laois dominate the possession stakes and launch attack after attack. Up front Alannah Havill opened the scoring with a fine point after the Roscommon goalie did well to smother Erone Fitzpatrick’s free. The ‘Rossies’ soon grabbed an equaliser through the impressive Asling Hanly. A quick Eimear Barry kickout to Rachel Williams soon led to Laois restoring their lead when Mo Nerney’s blistering shot shaved the top of the Roscommon crossbar. The O’ Moore women then pressurised the Roscommon kickout which Havill won. When the Roscommon defender got a block on Havill’s pass the ball spun out to Fiona Dooley who smashed home her goal.

Badly-needed first water break in hot and testing conditions in Kinnegad.

Anything Laois could do so could Roscommon and the Connacht soon notched up their goal through Fitzmaurice. Not to be outdone the Leinster outfit were soon celebrating a second goal after a scintillating move involving Ellen and Anna Healy which Laura Nerney finished off. At the other end Roscommon reduced the deficit through another Hanly point. However more Laois pressure on the Roscommon kickouts soon resulted in another Laois point. The impressive Jane Moore turned over the Roscommon kickout and fed Mo Nerney. The Laois talisman was fouled and she tapped over the resulting free to stretch out her side’s lead. Great bravery and determination saw Laura Nerney fight for and win breaking ball in the heart of the Laois defence and she fed the rampaging Jane Moore who travelled and travelled before popping off the pass back to Mo Nerney who swept her shot over for the quarter’s final score.

That first-quarter lead of 2-04 to 1-02 should have been more given the Laois dominance. Roscommon soon tried to make inroads into that lead after the water break. Aimee Kelly and Laura Nerney stood tall against a flurry of Roscommon raids forward before Laois counter-attacked and scored a sweet point courtesy of Orla’s Hennessy’s right boot. Undeterred the Connacht women poured forward and Hanly hooked over another point. The Roscommon rally continued with Kate Nolan firing over a free to reduce the deficit even further. Aimee Kelly and Joyce Dunne were immense in this period as they fought to keep the western ladies out until the half-time whistle.

Good Roscommon rally in second quarter saw Laois with a four-point advantage at the interval

The second half was only minutes old when the impressive Jane Moore was sent to the line for ten minutes. Amazingly Laois did better than their opponents on the scoreboard when down a player. Two goal chances; one from open play and one a penalty, were spurned by Laois before the O’ Moore side added to their total with a converted Sara Ann Fitzgerald free. When Roscommon did attack Aimee Kelly stopped them time and again. On the counter attack a sweeping team move saw the impressive Joyce Dunne fire over a fine point to extend the Laois lead. Jane Moore was only back on the field a matter of seconds before getting on the end of a great Erone Fitzpatrick hand pass, that beat three defenders, to bury the ball the ball in the Roscommon net. A resolute Laois rearguard, led magnificently by Laura Nerney, kept Roscommon scoreless right up to the water break.

Laois battled well in a third quarter that saw them manage well when down a player

The final quarter opened with a marvellous Alannah Havill point on the run. That was the final score for the Laois women who went on to subdue a determined Roscommon side for the remainder of the contest. Eimear Barry showed the way in goals when saving a goal-bound shot with her leg. A pair of introduced Roscommon subs Scally and Gavin popped over points in quick succession to keep Roscommon hopes alive however. Scally then notched up another fine point but Laois defended the ‘D’ well by flooding players back to rule out the chance of a Roscommon goal in the closing stages. Laura Nerney threw her body on the ball late on to inspire her teammates and ensure a quarter-final berth for Laois. Rachel Williams was also inspiring late on as she made sure there was no way through to goal for the Connacht outfit.

Great determined display by Laois but especially in defence ensured the O’ Moore women match on into the Quarter-Finals.

This was a test of character for the victors which they passed with flying colours. Mo Nerney was well held throughout by the impressive Róisín Wynne but Laois still got the scoreboard ticking over. At the other end Laois had any number of heroines. The saves and astute kickouts of Eimear Barry helped her side to victory. Rachel Williams and Laura Nerney were superb at the back while Jane Moore, Joyce Dunne and Erone Fitzpatrick shone up the park. However the Laois People ‘Player of the Match’ was Aimee Kelly. She was determined and clever in her defending and was almost always out ahead of her opponent.

Laois scorers : Fiona Dooley, Laura Nerney and Jane Moore 1-0 each; Mo Nerney 0-3 (one free), Alannah Havill 0-2, Orla Hennessy, Sarah Ann Fitzgerald (free), Joyce Dunne 0-1 each. Roscommon scorers : Rachel Fitzmaurice 1-0, Aisling Hanly 0-3, Sarah Scally 0-2, Kate Nolan (free) and Aoife Gavin 0-1 each.

Laois: Eimear Barry; Anna Healy, Amy Potts, Aimee Kelly; Rachel Williams, Ellen Healy, Laura Nerney; Fiona Dooley, Jane Moore; Joyce Dunne, Erone Fitzpatrick, Orla Hennessy; Mo Nerney, Sarah Ann Fitzgerald, Alannah Havill. Subs: Leah Tarpey for Orla Hennessy (47 min.), Andrea Moran for Sarah Ann Fitzgerald (54 min.), Roisin Larkin for Alannah Hamill (56 min.), Emily Mulhall for Fiona Dooley (62 min.).

Roscommon: Helena Cummins; Rachel Brady, Sinead Kenny, Megan Kelly; Róisín Wynne, Aisling McAuliffe, Sarah McVeigh; Caroline Conway, Laura Fleming; Ellen Irwin, Kate Nolan, Rachel Fitzmaurice; Rebecca Finan, Aisling Hanly, Sinead Glennon.

Subs: Joanne Cregg for Megan Kelly (21 min.), Jennifer Higgins for Sinead Glennon (28 min.), Christina Beirne for Aisling McAuliffe (ht), Sarah Scally for Kate Nolan (41 min.), Aoife Gavin for Caroline Conway (49 min.)