Saturday 14 December 2019

Westmeath secure replay after Leitrim miss last-gasp free

Westmeath 2-8 Leitrim 1-11 Declan Rooney Ladies NFL Division 3 final

Leitrim boss Niall Kilcrann refused to blame 19-year-old Aine Tighe for missing a late free that would have given her side Division 2 football next season.

The young Kiltubrid star was the stand-out player at Parnell Park, but after bagging eight points, her last-minute free from the left drifted narrowly wide and the sides must do it again.

"I don't think it should come down to the last minute -- I don't think we can pin-point this draw on any one person," said Kilcrann. "We had ample opportunities to win the game before it came down to the last kick of the game."

Twice in the first half, goals from joint-captain Laura Walsh and Elaine Finn looked likely to see Westmeath pull clear, but each time Alan Mangan's side took the lead, Leitrim had an answer.

"When they are down they know how to get back up and they clawed their way back into it," said Kilcrann.

And in the end, Westmeath were lucky to get a second chance, Mangan admitted. "No, she didn't miss much. We were probably lucky to get a draw at the end with that free, but we kicked two or three short ourselves and one wide."

It was all square at half-time (2-3 to 1-6) as Niamh Tighe kept pace with her sister -- her excellent goal five minutes from the break kept Leitrim in contention.

Midway through the second half, Westmeath had a period of dominance where Maud Annie Foley kicked two frees and Ciara Blundell punished a loose kick-out to push them two points clear.

But two Aine Tighe points were added to by Shauna Clancy and Laura O'Dowd as Leitrim took control, only for Fiona Claffey and Walsh to equalise late on.

Scorers -- Westmeath: MA Foley 0-4 (3f), L Walsh 1-1, E Finn 1-0, F Claffey 0-2, C Blundell 0-1. Leitrim: A Tighe 0-8 (6f), N Tighe 1-0, L Brennan, S Clancy, L O'Dowd 0-1.

Leitrim -- M Guckian 6; M Stenson 6, E McWeeney 7, S Kerrigan 6; K Gilgunn 6, S Tighe 7, L McWeeney 7; S Fowley 8, D Ward 7; N Tighe 7, S McManus 6, K Keegan 6; L Brennan 6, E Farrell 6, A Tighe 8 .Subs: S Clancy 7 for McManus, 51; L O'Dowd 7 for Farrell, 51.

Westmeath -- C Warburton 6; A Martin 6, C Finch 7, A Brady 6; K Boyce-Jordan 6, J Rogers 7, K McDermott 6; M A Foley 7, R Kearney 7; E Finn 7, F Claffey 7, J Maher 6; L Walsh 7, K Hegarty 6, C Blundell 7. Subs: T Fagan 6 for McDermott, 40.

REF -- M Henry (Monaghan).

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