Leitrim Ladies maintained their unbeaten run in the Tesco Home Grown Division 3 with an amazing second half performance that saw them recover from an 11 point deficit to record a three point victory over Tipperary last Sunday in Borrisokane.
Tipperary built up an impressive 3-8 to 1-3 halftime lead with the aid of a strong breeze at their backs but Leitrim held their nerve and fought back in the second half with strong performances from Deirdre Ward, Aine Tighe and sub Laura O’Dowd.
Leitrim manager Gerry Ballantine will be delighted with this win and in particular, the manner in which it was achieved as the Ladies team showed great mental strength to come back in the second half. This game will stand to them in the weeks to come with Sligo, Armagh, Longford and finally Down still to play.
Leitrim’s next game is at home to Sligo on March 3, a match that will see them face the Yeats women who defeated them in the Connacht Junior Championship last year.
The victory puts Leitrim ate the top of the table on nine points with Armagh and Down joint second on seven points, having drawn with each other in the first round of the League.
It means that the games against the Ulster duo are likely to be crucial with Longford just a point further adrift on six points.
The top four teams in the Division qualify for the semi-finals and Leitrim will be determined to go one step further than last year when they were pipped in the Division 3 Final by Westmeath who are currently setting the pace in Division 2, unbeaten after three games.
From the outset, Tipperary dominated and clocked up 3-2 with goals from Aisling McCarthy, Sheelagh Carew and points from Patricia Hickey. Leitrim’s only response being a free from Aine Tighe after Roisin Fowley was fouled.
Leitrim had it all to do and the back line was suffering from the intense pressure of the Tipperary forwards but Mairead Stenson set up Roisin Fowley who quickly scored a point. Tipperary hit back with points from Patricia Hickey & Mairead Morrissey.
However, Leitrim got a vital score when Anna Conlan set up Aine Tighe for a goal while Roisin Fowley was unlucky to see her shot go wide after a great play from her sister Sinead and Erin Farrell.
Tipperary hit back with two more points as the home side led 3-8 to 1-3 at the break.
Leitrim were first back out on the field and playing with the wind in the second half Niamh Tighe quickly pointed after a great pass from Deirdre Ward who then set up Fowley for a fine point.
Tipperary hit back with a point but with sub Laura O’Dowd coming on, Leitrim started their revival when Aine Tighe managed to get her foot to a ball with two backs marking her to goal.
Tighe then combined with O’Dowd, after a great run from Mairead Stenson, to find the net once again, leaving four points between the teams with at least ten minutes remaining on the .
Tighe and O’Dowd teamed up again with O’Dowd pointing, Sinead Fowley surging up the field to fire over the bar. Great defending from Sharon Kerrigan and Mary Farrell held Tipperary at bay and when Ward made a great catch in the middle of the park, she set up O’Dowd who blasted the ball to the net.
O’Dowd added a point with a late Tipperary point as the visitors claimed a vital away win that will set them up nicely for the remainder of the League.
Helen Kennedy, Brid Condon, Catriona Walsh, Niamh Lonergan, Anne O’Dwyer, Claire Carroll, Barbara Ryan, Jennifer Grant, Aoife Ryan, Sheelagh Carew, Mairead Morrissey, Orlagh Walsh, Aisling McCarthy, Patricia Hickey, Shauna Ryan.
Michelle Guckian, Mary Farrell, Enya McWeeney, Sharon Kerrigan, Kirby Gilgunn, Mairead Stenson, Clare Owens, Sinead Fowley, Deirdre Ward, Niamh Tighe, Anna Conlon, Aine Heslin, Roisin Fowley, Erin Farrell, Aine Tighe. Subs: Laura O’Dowd for Heslin. Joyce Cunningham for Gilgunn.