Leitrim ensured their place in the TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Ladies Championship playoffs last Saturday with a comprehensive 2-13 to 3-4 victory over Limerick in Adare.
After suffering a heavy loss to Fermanagh in the previous game, manager Niall Kilcrann made a series of changes with Cloone’s Patricia Forde, Drumkeerin’s Ann Marie Gallagher and Sean O’Heslin’s Laura O’Dowd all making their first starts for Leitrim in the championship.
Leitrim started at a blistering pace and were six points to no score ahead after 15 minutes, the scores coming from Aine Tighe, Roisin Fowley, Lorraine Brennan and Laura O’Dowd.
The new faces were making an impact with Forde doing a great job in defence while O’Dowd and Gallagher made a good impression in attack.
Limerick were not going down without a fight and we were well aware of the threat they imposed by the end of the first half they had scored 1-2, Kathryn Fahy getting the goal and their excellent midfielder Niamh Richardson making a big impression throughout the game.
The second half was a battle and Limerick tested Leitrim’s defence to the full, hitting 2-2 to put Leitrim under real pressure. Erin Farrell, Kiara Keegan, Claire McDermott and Sinead Tighe were all introduced and it helped.
A great passing move started by a Forde interception saw the ball go through the hands of Deirdre Ward, O’Dowd, Roisin Fowley before Aine Tighe found the back of the net.
Erin Farrell, Ann Marie Gallagher and Aine Tighe alll added points as Leitrim qualified to meet either Armagh or Waterford in the first playoff game.
Both Armagh and Waterford topped their group on seven points, having drawn against each other, and under Ladies Gaelic Football Association regulations, a coin toss will decide who tops the Group and goes straight into the semi-final and who will face Leitrim.
The winners of that game will face the second placed team in Group 3, with four teams all locked on three points, with the eventual winners going on to the semi-finals.
Leitrim: Michelle Guckian, Patricia Forde, Enya McWeeney, Mary Farrell, Kirby Gilgun, Mairead Stenson, Lisa McWeeney, Sinead Fowley, Deirdre Ward, Niamh Tighe, Laura O’Dowd, Ann Marie Gallagher, Lorraine Brennan, Roisin Fowley, Aine Tighe.