Ladies hold heads high despite heavy defeat

On the face of it, a 12 point defeat is not something to defeat but such is the strength of Galway’s U-14 Ladies that Leitrim can justifiably take a lot of heart from their loss in last Friday’s Connacht Ladies U-14 A Championship Final in Ballinlough.

On the face of it, a 12 point defeat is not something to defeat but such is the strength of Galway’s U-14 Ladies that Leitrim can justifiably take a lot of heart from their loss in last Friday’s Connacht Ladies U-14 A Championship Final in Ballinlough.

On the face of it, a 12 point defeat is not something to defeat but such is the strength of Galway’s U-14 Ladies that Leitrim can justifiably take a lot of heart from their loss in last Friday’s Connacht Ladies U-14 A Championship Final in Ballinlough.

LADIES U-14 A CONNACHT FINAL

LEITRIM 1-6

GALWAY 3-12

By John Connolly

After suffering a 44 point loss in the round robin section to the Tribeswomen, Leitrim didn’t go into the game with a great deal of confidence but concentrated instead on closing down the space available to Galway and restricting their scoring chances.

Immense work-rate, flooding all but two players back into their own half, some very costly Galway misses and, it must be said, some favourable refereeing all ensured that Leitrim went home with almost the equivalent of a moral victory last Friday.

As good as Galway’s attack are, they found the huge numbers of players and in particular Leitrim defenders making life extremely difficult for them to break through and rack up the sort of scores they are used to, the fact best illustrated by the fact that their 3-12 last Friday is almost regarded as a disappointing return.

Manager Pat McWeeney tried to frustrate Galway’s attack and then hit on the break with the strength of Niamh Maguire and the pace of Dervla Beirne but when Leitrim did manage to break clear of Galway’s suffocating midfield, they found a Galway half-back line and full-back Karen Dowd in imperious form.

Beirne is Leitrim’s main attacking option, her running with the ball causing loads of problems in the first game but when Galway’s detailed players just as fast as the Mohill girl, Leitrim lost a lot of their attacking threat, as evidenced by the return of 1-6 compared to 3-7 in the round robin game.

With Galway dominating so much possession, it was extremely difficult for Leitrim to hold out but they kept working hard, kept making it hard for Galway and kept making the tackles as they avoided the sort of defeat that could have done real harm.

In fairness to Leitrim, this Galway team is as good as you could ever hope to see and the skills they exhibited on the ball, their fitness and speed would put many a County Senior Ladies team to shame.

You certainly couldn’t fault the determination of the Leitrim girls – Caoimhe Canning, Roisin McHugh, keeper Blaithin Sharpley, Emma Guckian and Shannon O’Rourke fought their best but Galway were simply too strong on the day.

To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.