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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 17 September, 2019
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O'Brien leads Limerick to league glory, late free salvages draw for Waterford with Tipp

The Lidl Ladies National Football League Division 3 and 4 finals took place this afternoon in Clane.

Waterford 2-13
Tipperary 3-10

MARIA DELAHUNTY’S FREE, with 33 seconds left on the clock, salvaged a draw for Waterford in a terrific Lidl Ladies National Football League Division 3 final against Tipperary in Clane this afternoon.

Last year’s All-Ireland intermediate champions Waterford led by eight points in the first half, 2-9 to 1-4, but were reeled in by their Munster rivals in the second half.

Maria Delahunty Maria Delahunty, whose free earned a draw for Waterford (file pic). Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Shelagh Carew’s point in the closing stages looked to have secured the silverware for Tipperary but Delahunty held her nerve to rescue a replay, with the date, time and venue for that to be confirmed in due course.

The sin-binning of Michelle McGrath with nine minutes left on the clock left Waterford hanging on at a crucial stage with 14 players. Sensational Tipp forward Aisling Moloney netted for Tipp soon after, following a goalkeeping error, to bring the Premier County girls to within two points.

Aisling McCarthy and Gillian O’Brien popped over scores to level matters at 3-7 to 2-10 before Tipp’s leading scorer Moloney, who collected 2-4 from play, put them ahead during a real purple patch.

Waterford hit back with a Sinead Ryan leveller before sub Becky Hogan’s point nudged them one clear. It was Tipp’s turn to rouse themselves again as Edith Carroll equalised before Carroll’s lead score. Delahunty’s free ensured ultimate stalemate and in the closing seconds, Tipp defended desperately before the full-time hooter sounded.

Tipp may feel aggrieved, however, that what appeared to be a legitimate second-half point from Moloney, in the 40th minute, was ruled out. A sideline official went on to the pitch to speak with referee Gavin Corrigan but the Down whistler was unmoved and in a game of such tight margins, it was a big decision.

At half-time, Waterford appeared to be on course for a comfortable win — and the bigger prize of promotion to Division 2 in this straight shoot-out. Katie Murray waltzed through the Tipp defence for a goal in the very first minute and Waterford were 1-5 to 0-2 clear before their opponents settled.

Tipp captain Edel Hanley scored a crucial goal midway through the half but Waterford had clear daylight again in the 28th minute when Delahunty’s 45 was spilled into her own net by goalkeeper Patricia Hickey.

Sheelagh Carew Shelagh Carew's late point looked like it might be enough for Tipp (file pic). Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

But Tipp hit back with a vital goal in the final minute of the half, Cahir star Moloney on target. The sides traded early second-half points before the intensity and drama visibly increased.

In the proverbial game of two halves, it was Tipp who appeared to have the greater running power in the second period, after Waterford were the dominant force before the interval.

Scorers for Waterford: M Delahunty 1-4 (1-2f, 0-1 45f), K Murray 1-2, S Ryan 0-4 (1f), C McGrath, L Devine & B Hogan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tipperary: A Moloney 2-4, E Hanley 1-0, G O’Brien 0-2, S Carew, E Myles, E Carroll & A McCarthy 0-1 each.

WATERFORD: K Hannon; L Wall, M McGrath, E Murray; M Wall, M Dunford, L Ryan; G Kenneally, K Murray; C McGrath, M Ryan, M Delahunty; S Ryan, L Devine, A Wall.

Subs: C Hurley for Kenneally (23), Kenneally for Wall (37), B Hogan for M Ryan (42), A Mullaney for Kenneally (51).

TIPPERARY: P Hickey; B Condon, S Lambert, S Delahunty; A O’Dwyer, J Grant, C Carroll; L O’Shea, S Carew; C Walsh, M Morrissey, E Myles; A Moloney, G O’Brien, E Hanley.

Subs: B Ryan for Carroll (1), A McCarthy for Ryan (h.t), E Carroll for Walsh (44), K Hackett for Hanely (54).

Referee: G Corrigan (Down).

Limerick 4-8

Antrim 1-10

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC DYMPHNA O’Brien inspired Limerick to Lidl Ladies National Football League Division 4 glory in Clane on Saturday.

The ace corner forward scored 2-5 as the Shannonsiders saw off Antrim by seven points to gain promotion to Division 3 for the 2017 campaign.

This was a sweet victory for Limerick, who lost Division 4 deciders most recently in 2015, 2012 and 2010.

But they finally got over the line as the sharpshooting skills of O’Brien and Niamh Holland proved crucial.

Holland scored a goal in both halves – the second of those with her first touch after a returning to the fray after a sin-binning.

During the second half, Limerick lost Holland and Megan Kelleher to yellow cards and Antrim rallied briefly with an unanswered 1-3 with those players off the pitch.

But Limerick regained their composure when Holland slammed home a fourth goal for the winners nine minutes from time and they held out for a comfortable victory.

At half-time, Limerick were well in control, leading by 2-5 to 0-4.

Dymphna O'Brien Dymphna O'Brien (file pic). Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

With the breeze at their backs in the opening half, the Treaty girls got down to business right from the start as Holland took a pass from Claire Coughlan for the game’s opening score, a goal, in the fourth minute.

Limerick’s second goal arrived in the tenth minute, O’Brien pouncing on Antrim goalkeeper Anna McCann’s error to find the net from close range.

Two minutes after the break, O’Brien took advantage of another defensive calamity in the Antrim goalmouth to tap home her second goal.

Influential midfielder Niamh Richardson added a point for Limerick and while Mairead Cooper raised a white flag for Antrim, two O’Brien frees handed Limerick a 12-point advantage – 3-8 to 0-5.

Holland was sin-binned in the 40th minute, with Kelleher following her to the line almost immediately, and Antrim took advantage with their best scoring run of the game.

Their most impressive forward, Eimear Gallagher, scored a goal 11 later but with Limerick restored to full strength, they regained the initiative.

Scorers for Limerick: D O’Brien 2-5 (0-3f), N Holland 2-0, N Richardson 0-2, S Carroll 0-1.

Scorers for Antrim: E Gallagher 1-3, C Timoney (1f) and A McParland 0-2 each, C Carey, Á Tubridy & M Cooper 0-1 each.

LIMERICK: M Giltenane; M O’Shea, A Neary, O Giltenane; K Reidy, S O’Sullivan, C Mee; N Richardson, Y Moynihan; C Coughlan, S Moloney, S Carroll; D O’Brien, L Hanley, N Holland.

Subs: M Kelleher for O’Sullivan (36), C Hickey for Carroll (36), R Delee for Coughlan (40), B Flanagan for Mee (52), E Fealy for O Giltenane (56).

ANTRIM: A McCann; S Tennyson, E Kelly, N McKeown; S Cochrane, N Kelly, J McCavana; C Carey, Á Tubridy; M Cooper, C Timoney, A McFarland; E Mallon, E Gallagher, M McCurdy.

Subs: N Cooper for Cochrane (36), A Devlin for McCurdy (40), D O’Kane for Tubridy (48), N Enright for Mallon (51).

Referee: D McEnery (Westmeath).

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