A healthy score of 2–17 saw Louth Ladies move to the top of the Lidl National Football League Division Four table on score difference as they made light work of Carlow in Swords on Sunday afternoon (31st March).
Darren Bishop’s side went into this rescheduled fixture knowing that a win would edge them closer to one of the semi-final spots and they clicked into gear after the break, outscoring Carlow by 2–10 to 1–1.
It means the Wee County need a single point from their remaining fixtures against Derry and Fermanagh to ensure a place in the last four.
After suffering their first loss of the season against Fermanagh a week earlier, Carlow started well with Cliodhna Ni She and Lauren Dwyer both on target and they had a chance to pull further ahead but Niamh Ford shot wide from a good position.
Louth eventually settled and Kate Flood, recalled to the team after being left out against Antrim seven days earlier, fired narrowly wide after good play by Rebecca Carr.
From the subsequent kick out, however, Lauren Boyle won possession and her inch-perfect pass found Carr who kicked Louth’s opening score with seven minutes on the clock.
Bishop’s side hit the next three scores with Flood and Boyle (0–2) on target but Carlow came back strongly with scores of their own courtesy of Ni She (0–2) and Dwyer which gave the Barrowsiders a one-point lead after 20 minutes.
Boyle, with two pointed frees, put the Reds back in front only for Cliodhna Ni She to again bring the sides level and that’s the way they went into the break with further points from Kate Flood and Tinryland star Ni She leaving it all square at seven points apiece at the interval.
With the aid of a strong wind at their backs in the second half, Louth opened strongly and Rebecca Carr intercepted a pass and raced through the Carlow defence before slotting the ball confidently past ‘keeper Nicole Hanley within two minutes of the restart.
Michelle McMahon added a point before midfielder Eimear Byrne collected a pass from Jennifer McGuinness and unleashed a terrific shot from 25 metres which nestled in the Carlow net, 2–8 to 0–7.
With Carlow struggling to get a foothold, Louth extended their lead with a hat-trick of points from Boyle and another well-taken point from Carr.
In a good Louth showing, Sarah Quinn, Deirbhile Osborne and Eilis Hand did well in defence while Michelle McMahon and Eimear Byrne formed a strong partnership at midfield, while up front Kate Flood, Lauren Boyle and Rebecca Carr were a constant threat.
LOUTH: Una Pearson; Shannen McLaughlin, Sarah Quinn, Eilis Hand; Ceire Nolan, Eimear Murray, Derbhile Osborne; Michelle McMahon (0–1), Eimear Byrne (1–2); Rebecca Carr (1–2), Aoife Russell, Jennifer McGuinness; Aine Breen, Kate Flood (0–3) Lauren Boyle (0–8). Subs: Sinead Woods, Amy McNally (0–1), Alannah McLaughlin, Leanne Sharkey, Emily Norton, Seoda Matthews, Grainne Murray, Aisling O’Doherty, Grace Treanor and Deirbhile O’Connor.
Photos by Warren Matthews | Report by Dermot Woods