Tesco HomeGrown NFL Div.2 Semi-Final
Sunday 27 April 2014
Venue: Gaelic Grounds Drogheda
Down 2-09 Westmeath 2-16
Down Ladies bowed out of their league campaign at the semi-final stage after coming up against a very strong Westmeath in the Gaelic Grounds Drogheda at the weekend.
Down opened the scoring with a fine point from play by Aileen Pyres followed a few minutes later by a fine goal from Lisa Morgan and Down got off to the best possible start. However Westmeath were soon on the score sheet themselves when Orla Boyle was deemed to have fouled in the square and Westmeath’s Fiona Leavy steeped up to take the penalty and squarely put it in the back of net.
The two teams exchanged scores in the first half and Down were unfortunate to have two sin bins at the same time with Orla Boyle and Eimer Kane both in the sin bin for a period together. Westmeath made the most of the two free players on the field and Down went in at the half trailing by two points. The majority of Down’s scores in the first half came from play, with Jordan Magee, Aileen Pyres, Lisa Morgan and Erin Robinson all getting on the score sheet.
The second half opened at a blistering pace and Down were awarded a penalty of their own. Jess Foy stepped up and put some her soccer skills to good use.
The Northern Ireland international made no mistake, slotting it low and under Sarah Keegan to put Down’s nose just in front by one. Lauren Cunningham got an early point from play also and again Down got off to a good start.
Down, however, failed to capitilise and they found it difficult going in the second half with Westmeath taking their scores when it really mattered and Down making a few mistakes and being punished for it.
Westmeath were able to get five points without reply in a short spell of 5 minutes of play until Eimer Kane took a long range point from play. Further scores from play from Aileen Pyres and Kyla Trainor were too little too late for Down and the deficit was just too great.
A spirited match was played by both teams and it’s Westmeath who progress to the Div.2 Final. The Down squad and management can look back on their first year in Div.2 with pride and a sense of achievement.
Having reached a semi-final in their inaugural year, and taking points off some of the strongest counties in the league along the way, Down have squarely laid down their marker in the league for 2015 and will no doubt be pushing on and focussing solely now on Championship success for the county in 2014.