Carlow victory maintains Louth's impressive start
GAA Lidl National Ladies League Division 2: Louth 2-9 - Carlow 1-6
Louth maintained their fine start to their Lidl National Football League campaign with an impressive victory over Carlow at Darver on Sunday.
After their huge victory over Kilkenny in the opening round, Carlow were expected to provide much sterner opposition but Michael McKeown's side were worthy six-point winners.
Former Fane Rangers star McKeown has opted for a youthful look to his side in his first season in charge and they got off to a good start as Aoife Russell kicked two early points.
Susan Byrne and Paula Murray were also on target as the home side led by 0-4 to 0-0 after 14 minutes.
Their early momentum was then halted due to a head injury sustained to rising star Lauren Boyle.
Indeed Louth could have been further ahead but for a combination of some poor finishing and good defending by Carlow who defended in numbers with as many as twelve players in their own half.
The visitors got a major boost when in their first meaningful attack and completely against the run of play they found the net in the twentieth minute when an Aoibhinn Gilmartin free-kick came back off a post for Róisín Byrne to palm home.
However, the Wee County restored their four point advantage as they hit back almost straight away with a goal of their own at the other end as Flood dispatched a penalty to the net.
Indeed Flood almost had a second major when a brilliant pass from Murray found Byrne in the clear. The St Patrick's star hit a vicious shot which appeared goal bound only for the ball to hit off the face of Carlow 'keeper Nicole Hanley - who was temporarily replaced - and out for a '45.
Leading 1-4 to 1-1 at the interval, Louth quickly got the start to the second half their big following would have hoped for as Murray's dropping effort found the net off the woodwork.
Boyle (2), Byrne, Flood and Russell all hit points extending Louth's lead to 2-9 to 1-3 entering the last quarter. With the points safely in the bag, the intensity understandably went out of the Louth performance and it was Carlow who kicked the last three scores to put a degree of respectability on the scoreline.
Louth: Una Pearson; Éilís Hand, Michelle McArdle, Shannen McLoughlin; Ceire Nolan, Deirbhile Osborne, Bronagh McGrane; Sineád Woods, Emma Singleton; Paula Murray (1-1), Aoife Russell (0-2), Susan Byrne (0-2); Lauren Boyle (0-3), Kate Flood (1-1, goal pen), Leanne Sharkey. Subs: Alanna Conlon for Boyle (blood sub), Niamh Quigley for Osborne, Eimear Murray for Ceire Nolan, Boyle for Conlon, Rebecca Howell for Sharkey
Carlow: Nicole Hanley; Ciara Nolan, Amy Dooley, Oonagh Fitzpatrick; Nuala Mohan, Ann Roche, Orlagh Hickey; Ellen Atkinson, Muireann O'Sullivan; Niamh Byrne (0-1), Sineád Ruth (0-1), Aoibhinn Gilmartin (0-2, one free); Marion Hayden, Kate Nolan, Róisín Byrne (1-1). Subs: Bríd Whelan (0-2) for Hanley (temporary sub), Hanley for Whelan, Elaine Ware for Róisín Byrne, Whelan for Hayden, Leona Kelly for Nolan, Amy Monaghan.
Referee: Kevin Phelan (Laois).