Sunday, July 25, 2021

TG4 LGFA Intermediate championship

Laois 3-8    Roscommon 1-7

Kevin Egan at Coralstown-Kinnegad GAA club

Roscommon’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the TG4 intermediate championship died away in the hot sun of Coralstown-Kinnegad GAA club this afternoon as they were well-beaten by Laois in the final round of group three games.

The result means that Laois will top the group and go on to play either Louth or Offaly in a quarter-final, Kildare are runners up and will play Leitrim, while Roscommon will now face a relegation semi-final against Longford if they are to preserve their place in the second tier of LGFA championship competition.

Roscommon were moderately competitive in the early stages, with both goalkeepers called on to make early saves. Helena Cummins did very well to deny Sarah Ann Fitzgerald, while at the other end Róisín Wynne had a good chance pushed away by Eimear Barry in the Laois goal. Fiona Dooley did find the target with a low shot at one end and then Rachel Fitzmaurice replied in kind for the Rossies, but another goal from Laura Nerney gave Laois an advantage they never relinquished.

After the game, Roscommon manager Diane O’Hora spoke of how her players were possibly unprepared for the heat, and as the contest went on, Laois certainly seemed to have much more energy, particularly as they carried the ball from defence to attack. They retained all bar two of their own kickouts, and even when they struggled to create scores of their own, in no small part because of great work by Róisín Wynne up against their key attacker Mo Nerney, they kept edging further and further ahead.

When these sides met in the semi-finals of the league, Laois came through a thriller, 4-15 to 5-9, when a yellow card shown to Roscommon’s Megan Kelly was crucial to the O’Moore county mounting a serious last quarter come back.

The gulf between the sides today was summed up by the fact that it was Laois midfielder Jane Moore who was the only player to receive a yellow card in this fixture, and during her ten-minute absence at the start of the second half, Laois scored the only point of that spell of the game.

Once Moore returned, she exchanged passes with Erone Fitzpatrick to crash in the game’s final goal and make sure of the victory. While Roscommon ended their scoring drought with points from Sarah Scally and Aoife Gavin in the final quarter, Laois continued to strike freely on the break and eased over the line to secure their quarter-final place, simultaneously condemning Roscommon to a nervous four weeks before the relegations playoffs begin.

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