Monday 20 November 2017

Floodgates open as Louth crush Scots for junior glory

Louth 4-12 Scotland 0-2

Louth players (l-r) Lisa Finglas, Susan Byrne, Paula Murray, and Katie Anne Holdcroft celebrate after beating Scotland
Louth players (l-r) Lisa Finglas, Susan Byrne, Paula Murray, and Katie Anne Holdcroft celebrate after beating Scotland
Louth manager Martin Connolly looks on
Aimee McNally, Louth, in action against Shauna McWilliams

Jackie Cahill

Martin Connolly's Louth cruised to a 22-point victory over Scotland in the first of the three finals played at Croke Park yesterday.

Beaten finalists in 2010 and 2012, Louth finally managed to seal the deal in the junior grade as they captured their first All-Ireland crown since the 1999 intermediate success.

Scotland, appearing in their first final, were outclassed from start to finish as Louth scored 2-6 in each half.

Thirty-one points separated the sides earlier in the season and while Scotland did manage to narrow the gap, they failed to score from play at GAA HQ.

Caoilfhionn Deeney, a 2011 junior medallist with Wicklow, scored Scotland's only point in the first half from a free before captain Rosanna Heeney, a former Louth player, added a second-half score.

Louth were forced to line out without captain Michelle McMahon because of a finger injury but she came on with three minutes left and lifted the West County Hotel Cup.

Aimee McNally scored Louth's first goal in the 18th minute, netting from close range after Kate Flood's free caused havoc in the Scotland goalmouth.

Flood's effort wasn't dealt with by Shauna McWilliams and McNally was on hand to gleefully accept an early gift.

Three minutes later, Flood was involved again, feeding Ciara O'Connor for a killer second goal, a fine effort drilled clinically past Sinéad Loftus.

Rebecca Carr, Flood (free), Laura Collins and Paula Murray added points before half-time as Louth went in 2-6 to 0-1 ahead.

Collins scored Louth's third goal in the second half, capitalising after player of the match Murray was denied a point by the upright.

And the icing on the cake arrived just minutes from time when Flood's industry was rewarded with a fourth goal for the Wee County, who will play intermediate football next year.

All six of Louth's starting forwards were on target as the winners scored freely from play during the course of a clinical display.

Louth kept their foot to the floor in the second half, piling the misery on a Scotland team that can still reflect upon their debut season in the competition with real pride.

Player of the Match: Paula Murray (Louth)

Scorers - Louth: K Flood (1f) & L Collins 1-2 each, C O'Connor 1-1, A McNally 1-0, P Murray 0-4, S Byrne 0-2, R Carr 0-1. Scotland: R Heeney & C Deeney 0-1f each.

LOUTH - U Pearson; J Kelly, E Singleton, O Brennan; M Sullivan, E Murray, B McGrane; R Carr, G Lynch; P Murray, S Byrne, A McNally; C O'Connor, K Flood, L Collins. Subs: A Halligan for Sullivan (19), A Conlon for McNally (40), C Nugent for O'Connor (52), L Grills for Brennan (53), M McMahon for Collins (57).

SCOTLAND - S Loftus; J O'Loughlin, B Hegerty, S Reynolds; S McWilliams, O McCafferty, K Mohan; R Heeney, C Newton; AM Lenihan, H Keenan, S O'Connell; K Feeney, C Deeney, S O'Sullivan. Subs: M O'Carroll for McWilliams (21), A Callaghan for Lenihan (48), A Kavanagh for O'Sullivan (52), L Sherry for Keenan (52), A Lloyd for Mohan (53).

Ref - S Mulvihill (Kerry)

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