Louth pegged back as Curtin drapes Limerick in junior glory
Limerick 4-10 Louth 3-8
LIMERICK came from six points down at half-time to secure the junior crown against Louth at Croke Park yesterday.
The Shannonsiders, beaten finalists against Antrim last year, came storming back in the second half at Croke Park, having trailed by 3-4 to 1-4 at the break.
Tommy Stack's charges completed a remarkable turnaround in the second half, outscoring Louth by 3-6 to 0-4 as the West County Hotel Cup was landed in emphatic style.
This success marks a first All-Ireland ladies football title for Limerick in the adult ranks and they will now make the step up to the intermediate grade in 2011.
Ultimately, it was the scoring prowess of Marie-Claire Curtin and Dymphna O'Brien that settled the matter, as the lethal pair hit 3-10 between them.
Curtin finished with 2-5, including 1-4 in the second half, while sensational full-forward O'Brien took her championship tally to 13-39 with a 1-5 haul.
The sides were level at 0-2 apiece on 17 minutes before the game exploded into life when Anne-Marie Murphy bagged two Louth goals in as many minutes.
Limerick badly needed a kick-start and they got it in fortuitous fashion in the 20th minute as Curtin's free from 30 metres drifted into the net over the head of Louth goalkeeper Caoimhe Breen.
However, Louth struck just seconds before the half-time hooter, for a third goal. Lynch was involved again as her free was superbly fisted home by Flood to give the Wee County valuable breathing space at the midway point.
The second half was a different story, however, as Limerick piled on the pressure and Louth lost corner-back Aine McGee and wing-forward Byrne to yellow cards.
Limerick hit Louth with an unanswered 1-2 after half-time, the goal brilliantly smashed into the top corner by Clodagh Reidy in the 34th minute, before experienced midfielder Orlaith Kirk hit Louth's opening point of the second half.
Back came Limerick with a 40th-minute goal to take the lead for the first time as O'Brien's shot came off the crossbar and Curtin picked up the pieces from close range.
Now a point ahead at 3-6 to 3-5, Limerick had a lead they would not relinquish and O'Brien put the icing on the cake six minutes from time when she slotted the ball into an empty net after Breen had tipped Reidy's shot onto the post.
Scorers --Limerick: MC Curtin 2-5 (1-3f), D O'Brien 1-5 (0-2f), C Reidy 1-0. Louth: AM Murphy 2-1 (1-0 pen), K Flood 1-2, O Kirk 0-2, S Byrne, M Reid (0-1f), C Page 0-1 each.
LIMERICK -- C Murphy; M O'Brien, S Healy, A Neary; E McGuire, Y Moynihan, P Donnelly; E Enright, S Larkin; J Garvey, M Flanagan, C Reidy; J O'Gorman, D O'Brien, MC Curtin. Subs: L Higgins for Healy (22), L Higgins for Garvey (39), O Giltenane for Moynihan (46).
LOUTH -- C Breen; A McGee, S Quinn, G Lynch; P Marmion, AM Lynch, S McDonald; O Kirk, R Heaney; S Byrne, K Flood, S Lynch; M Reid, A.M. Murphy, C Page. Subs: G Rogers for McDonald (36), G Mackin for Reid (41), L O'Neill for Marmion (41).
Ref -- J Niland (Sligo).