The Leitrim Ladies travelled to Morgan Athletic Grounds, Armagh on Sunday last hoping to maintain their 100% record in this year’s Bord Gais Energy Ladies National Football League Division 3, but they would have been well aware that the challenge posed by Armagh would be a step up from what they faced against Down and Sligo in their previous matches.
By Philip Rooney
Having competed at senior championship level last year Armagh are rightly regarded as one of the favourites for promotion from Division 3 but they were made to work right to the end to ensure victory against a resolute Leitrim side who overcame a slow first half to bring to the game to the home side in the second half.
The scoring dual between Mags McAlinden and Aine Tighe was one of the highlights of the game as both players produced excellent shooting displays but there were standout performances all over the pitch on both sides.
Mairead Stenson, Sharon Kerrigan and Sinead Tighe had fine games in defence for Leitrim, particularly in the opening half when they were under plenty of pressure.
In the second half when the momentum switched in favour of Leitrim, midfielders Deirdre Ward and Sinead Fowley came into their own while the tireless running of Niamh Tighe and Kiara Keegan was pivotal to Leitrim’s second half transformation.
Another key factor for Leitrim was being able to get Erin Farrell more involved in the game. Time and again Farrell was found in the second half and she always seemed to have the beating of her marker, resulting in her being able to bring others in to play or have a shot herself.
Midway through the second half, at a time when Leitrim were beginning to boss proceedings having scored three points without reply, Armagh were reduced to 14 players when Laura Brown was sent off. Trailing by three points it seemed as though the game was set for a frenetic finale as Leitrim looked to get back in contention.
Unfortunately for Leitrim they themselves were reduced to 14 players just two minutes later when Sarah McManus was sent to the sin-bin for a yellow card offence.
Losing a player at such a key time was a cruel blow for Leitrim who at that stage of the game had Armagh pressed deep in their own half and hanging on.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.